For the week of March 24, 1999  thru March 30, 1999  

Dark skies highlighted at noon Thursday

Express Staff Writer

The star-spangled Ketchum sky again headlined a Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commission meeting Monday, this time provoking dissent from some members of the public against a proposed dark-sky ordinance.

The ordinance would require shields on Ketchum’s lighting, set maximum wattages and prohibit certain types of ornamental lighting.

Resident Paul Stoops said he is concerned that a large part of Ketchum’s business community is still unaware of the effects the ordinance could have on them. He said a study should be done to examine those.

Local architect Craig Lawrence said he likes the proposed ordinance in general but is not in favor of the language that precludes architectural or landscape up-lighting.

"These things should be analyzed by the commission on a case-be-case basis," he said. "They can enhance architecture and landscaping."

The commissioners, all in favor of the ordinance in general, agreed that they should meet further to discuss the potential implications the ordinance could have for businesses and issues raised by the public’s comments so far.

"There are some problems that have been surfaced by the public…as the ordinance has been drafted," Commissioner Peter Gray said.

Gray said a provision requiring compliance within a year of the ordinance’s implementation is too strict.

"Most input we’ve heard has been favorable about creating an ordinance, but we want to take the time to do it well," he said.

Commissioner Rod Sievers said there is a long way to go before the P&Z has something it will be able to present to the council.

"We need to quantify the economic impact this would have to the city," Sievers said. "I can’t bring about an ordinance that will create a huge economic burden without knowing what that is."

The commission voted to extend the meeting to two more dates to further discuss the proposed ordinance: tomorrow and Thursday, April 8. The noon work sessions at city hall are open to the public.


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