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Site for possible hotel along canyon rim

A view from where a 60 foot hotel has been proposed is seen Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, in Twin Falls.

TWIN FALLS — Residents will have a final opportunity on Monday to give the City Council their stance regarding a proposed hotel on the canyon rim.

Geronimo LLC is asking for a change to its development agreement at Canyon Park West. The company would like the city to outright permit a hotel at the development and increase the maximum building height to 60 feet. Home2Suites by Hilton has announced its desire to construct a four-story hotel on the Snake River Canyon rim between the Petco and the Twin Falls Visitor Center.

The proposed hotel would be 56 feet high, as measured by an elevation 10 feet above the Canyon Rim Trail, according to the Planning and Zoning Department’s report. It would sit 50 feet from the rim and be visible from the I.B. Perrine Bridge.

The City Council on Monday will have a public hearing before it considers taking action on the request. Already, the city has received 14 letters from area residents regarding the proposed hotel — and all but one of them are opposed to the request.

The sole letter in favor of the proposal is from Shawn Barigar on behalf of the Twin Falls Area Chamber of Commerce. Barigar, who is also the city’s mayor, told the Times-News he will recuse himself from the discussion and the vote on Monday, on a recommendation from legal counsel. His place of employment is directly adjacent to the proposed hotel site.

Proponents for the hotel have argued that it will meet a demand for rooms, providing visitors with spectacular canyon views while supporting existing businesses.

Along with other documents submitted for Council review, the companies involved have included a recent geotechnical survey conducted by GeoEngineers. Many of the comments against having the hotel have noted its proximity to the canyon rim.

The geotechnical engineering and geological report included an analysis of drainage, canyon rim and surface soil conditions. As part of its survey, the company reviewed historical aerial photos taken of the canyon rim, as well as images taken from Google Earth.

“There appears to be little or no change in the canyon rim location since as far back as 1946,” GeoEngineers said in its report.

It also argued for a 50-foot setback, as opposed to the standard 100-foot setback, from the canyon rim due to the property having no significant hazards from slope movements.

In making its decision, the City Council will have to weigh in public comment, staff recommendations, the city’s comprehensive plan and recommendations from the Planning and Zoning Commission. City staff made no recommendation to the Planning and Zoning Commission because the comprehensive plan supports both mixed-use commercial growth and preservation of the canyon rim.

The Planning and Zoning Commission on Jan. 29 voted 6-2, with one abstention, to not forward a positive recommendation for approval to the City Council.

The City Council will begin its public hearing no earlier than 6 p.m. Monday in Council Chambers inside City Hall, 203 Main Ave. E.

The Council will have other business at City Hall before the hearing. At 4 p.m., members are scheduled to meet in an executive session to: consider hiring a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent; and to talk with legal counsel about the legal ramifications of and legal options for pending litigation, or controversies not yet being litigated but imminently likely to be litigated.

Then, beginning at 5 p.m., the Council will have its regular meeting, which concludes with the special hearing beginning no earlier than 6 p.m. Also at the meeting, the Council will:

  • Hear a proclamation declaring March 29 as Vietnam Veterans’ Day in the city of Twin Falls.
  • Consider a request to submit a grant application for the purchase of a quick response unit for the fire department.
  • Consider a modified roadway cross-section for Locust Street between North College Road East and Falls Avenue East.

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