Around the Mountains: Sun Valley looks to cap house sizes
September 24, 2006
SUN VALLEY, Idaho Town officials in Sun Valley are moving to a cap on the size of homes. The average size of homes is now 3,500 square feet, and the mayor and city council wanted a cap of 10,000 square feet the cap imposed in Jackson, Wyo. The intent, Mayor Jon Thorson said, was to protect the integrity of Sun Valley.But the planning commission could achieve a consensus of 12,000 square feet. The cap is being rushed, explains the Idaho Mountain Express, as Idaho voters in November will vote on a proposal, modeled after a similar one approved by Oregon voters two years ago. It will require Idaho counties and cities to pay landowners whose property values are decreased by land-use laws.All those new people have to live somewhereJACKSON HOLE, Wyo. The U.S. population in the next few weeks will reach 300 million people, a quadrupling in the last century, points out Jackson Holes Jonathan Schechter. The nation gains the equivalent combined populations of Idaho, Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming every year.But these staggering national numbers are also a local story, he says, writing in the Jackson Hole News & Guide.Because all these people have to live somewhere, he explains. This simple fact will color all local politics for the foreseeable future because Jackson Hole and the surrounding region will be under constant pressure to take in our share of these exploding populations.Schechter argues that hard questions should be asked of political candidates in local elections this fall about this future population growth. In the context of Jackson Hole, he believes that the land-use regulations governing unincorporated lands are inadequate given the population growth.Natures Lighting opts for home in Park CityPARK CITY, Utah Park City has become the corporate headquarters for a new company called Natures Lighting. The chief executive officer, Mike Basch, was the original vice president of sales and customer service at FedEx.The central concept in Natures Lighting is that offices and businesses can save money and have improved morale if they use natural light, explains The Park Record. The light is brought in using a system of mirrors that collect sunlight, then reflect it through a diffuser to evenly and inexpensively illuminate a room. The latest models also run the light through a filter that removes ultraviolet rays, to eliminate heat.Its free, its healthy, and it preserves the environment.Basch explained that when Wal-Mart decided to purchase daylighting for its prototype green store in the Denver suburb of Aurora, Natures Lighting had no available units. To meet the deadline, the company removed fixtures from the warehouse in Dallas, where the lighting equipment is manufactured.The absence of the natural lighting at the warehouse was quickly noted, Basch said. Lighting and air conditioning bills rose $2,000 a month, employees got testy with each other, and the plants inside the building died within two months.Humans, he said, can distinguish a much broader array of color with daylight, as opposed to artificial light. The human being, with daylighting as opposed to artificial lighting, is much more effective, he said.A former Colorado resident, Basch chose Park City because it has just as much sunshine but also is only 35 minutes from the Salt Lake City airport. As such, it will be easy to shuttle potential customers in and out. The research and design team will also be located in Park City.Worlds highest college facilities at GunnisonGUNNISON While Kansas has the worlds deepest hand-dug well and the worlds largest ball of yarn, Colorado is the state of altitudinal superlatives. Even the town-limit signs commonly give the elevation, not the population.Leadville is the nations highest city, Breckenridge has North Americas highest ski lift, and Western State College, located in Gunnison, down the road from Crested Butte, has the worlds highest collegiate gymnasium (7,723 feet in elevation) and the worlds highest collegiate football field, at 7,750 feet.These collegiate bragging rights were cited in a story about the cross-country runners at Western State, who are title contenders in the Division II category. The team often goes to the Crested Butte area to run at elevations of 9,500 to 11,300 feet. Its very important to run at elevation, says coach Duane Vanedebusche, who believes the thinner air makes runners hardier.Runnerup in this thin-air distinction is Adams State College, located in Alamosa, Colo., which has the nations second-highest campus, at an elevation of 7,544 feet, says Associated Press.Part-timer population rises 27 percent in CanmoreCANMORE, Alberta The non-permanent population in Canmore continues to rise. A census this year revealed the non-permanent population had grown 27 percent in the last year, and doubled since 2003. That means that almost a third of Canmores population is part-timers, notes the Rocky Mountain Outlook. The municipal council wants to have the part-timers included with the full-timers in the annual census, to demonstrate to provincial officials who control the purse strings in Canada the services that they must provide.Hoteliers protest short notice on smoking banCANMORE, Alberta Hoteliers in Canmore were cranky or worse after the municipal council ordered no smoking in public places including hotel rooms by Oct. 2. The lodge operators said they needed much more time at least six months, said one representative in order to get rooms converted to non-smoking status. That process requires cleaning carpets, drapes and mattresses, and sometimes even repainting, explained Dany Stadmueller, of the Canmore Hotel and Lodging Association. In Canmore, at the gate to Banff National Park, September is still high season, and the lodges have been hamstrung by shortages of workers who have been lured to the better-paying energy development in Alberta.Town clamping down on idling cars, trucksOAK CREEK Trustees in Oak Creek, a coal-mining town about 20 miles south of Steamboat Springs, have taken aim at the sounds and smells of idling cars and trucks. A new ordinance would allow cars to idle for 15 minutes and trucks to idle as long as it takes them to warm up. The law was a response to complaints form people who said some people were letting their cars and trucks idle for an hour before going to work in the morning, reported the Steamboat Pilot & Today.Day ski area plans to get base-area lodgingSOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. The new owners of the Homewood Mountain Resort have begun the process intended to upgrade the family-oriented day ski mountain into something more closely resembling a destination resort, reports the Tahoe Daily Tribune.Plans prepared for the previous owners called for 256 lodging units and 784 beds altogether. The new plan calls for restaurants, shopping and a mix of employee housing and hotel/interval ownership tourist accommodations, said Gary Midkiff, a consultant to the owners, JMA Ventures. Numbers, if different, have not been specified.