Comment Letter on Cobblestone Hotel in Victor
September 26, 2017
Victor Planning & Zoning Commission
Victor City Hall, 32 Elm Street
RE: Comment letter on Cobblestone Hotel Site Plan & Variance Applications
Dear Planning & Zoning Commissioners:
The zoning designation of the two separate parcels where the Cobblestone Hotel is proposed does not allow a 56 room hotel of the current bulk and design. However, Victor may enter into a conditional rezone to permit the hotel by development agreement and thereby contractually gain design control over the structure and its exterior features.
The two parcels of land where the Cobblestone Hotel is proposed to be built are not appropriately zoned for a 56-room hotel of the current design. The smaller 0.5 acre front parcel is zoned DX (shown below in red) and the rear 1.0 acre parcel is CX (shown below in purple).
The vast majority of the hotel building is proposed to be built on the DX parcel, where the proposed hotel does not meet the following standards:
- The DX zone does not allow hotel/motel with 30+ rooms, while the CX zone does.
- The standard for a general building with a 10,000SF footprint is 60% transparency on the ground floor. The proposed design does not appear to meet this standard.
- Based on the proposed layout of the building with the main entrance facing Dogwood and the side entrance on Main Street, it appears the proposed design does not meet the Build To Zone requirements of 70% in CX or 80% in DX.
According to Victor Code § 1.3.3, when the boundaries of the district as shown on the City of Victor Official Zoning Map are drawn so that a single property has more than one zoning district designation, control of use or control of zoning on the property shall follow the district requirements for each zoning district as drawn on the property. However, this is not a split zoning situation as described above; the Cobblestone Hotel is proposed on 2 separate parcels where the front parcel is zoned DX and the rear parcel is zoned CX. Each parcel’s distinct zoning designation is clear and unquestioned.
The City has also received substantial comment in opposition to proposed design and exterior features as clashing with the rustic aesthetic of Victor. (See pictures below)
Idaho’s Local Land Use Act has a tool to specifically address this situation: Section 67-6511A Development Agreements. (Attachment A) Victor is statutorily empowered to conditionally rezone the front parcel to CX, and at the same time, ensure a Victor-appropriate design as a contractual condition of the rezone. Zoning by contract is the perfect solution for Victor to gain a hotel that fits the downtown. As stated in the Idaho Land Use Handbook:
Development agreements are contracts between a land developer and a local government in which the developer makes various commitments affecting a proposed development conditioned upon receiving the necessary land use approvals. These commitments might encompass restrictions on use, design of the development, conservation requirements (such as water reuse), and provision for roads and other infrastructure, open space, workforce housing, and other benefits. These conditional commitments enable to the governing body to consider the land use application in the light of these favorable features. The local government, in turn, has a mechanism to ensure that promises made are kept.
Both parties will benefit from rezoning the front parcel to CX via a development agreement. Cobblestone gains the economic advantage of a 56-room hotel where only a 30-room hotel was previously permitted. Victor gains design control over this hotel which is slated for the heart of its downtown. If the hotel is not built within a specific timeframe, the development agreement can revert the zoning back to the DX designation to keep the downtown zoning plan intact for future uses.
Valley Advocates for Responsible Development
IDAHO CODE § 67-6511A. DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENTS
Each governing board may, by ordinance adopted or amended in accordance with the notice and hearing provisions provided under section 67-6509, Idaho Code, require or permit as a condition of rezoning that an owner or developer make a written commitment concerning the use or development of the subject parcel. The governing board shall adopt ordinance provisions governing the creation, form, recording, modification, enforcement and termination of conditional commitments. Such commitments shall be recorded in the office of the county recorder and shall take effect upon the adoption of the amendment to the zoning ordinance. Unless modified or terminated by the governing board after a public hearing, a commitment is binding on the owner of the parcel, each subsequent owner, and each other person acquiring an interest in the parcel. A commitment is binding on the owner of the parcel even if it is unrecorded; however, an unrecorded commitment is binding on a subsequent owner or other person acquiring an interest in the parcel only if that subsequent owner or other person has actual notice of the commitment. A commitment may be modified only by the permission of the governing board after complying with the notice and hearing provisions of section 67-6509, Idaho Code. A commitment may be terminated, and the zoning designation upon which the use is based reversed, upon the failure of the requirements in the commitment after a reasonable time as determined by the governing board or upon the failure of the owner; each subsequent owner or each other person acquiring an interest in the parcel to comply with the conditions in the commitment and after complying with the notice and hearing provisions of section 67-6509, Idaho Code. By permitting or requiring commitments by ordinance the governing board does not obligate itself to recommend or adopt the proposed zoning ordinance. A written commitment shall be deemed written consent to rezone upon the failure of conditions imposed by the commitment in accordance with the provisions of this section.
 Victor Code § 1.3.3., Interpretation of Zoning in Split Zoning Situations A. Non- Subdivision Applications
 Givens Pursley LLP, Idaho Land Use Handbook, The Law of Planning, Zoning, and Property Rights 2017, Page 330 (Internal Citations Omitted).