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For the week of Nov. 10, 1999 through Nov. 16, 1999

Changing of the guard in Ketchum

Charlat to take over Noel’s seat


By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer

There’s soon to be a changing of the guard on the Ketchum City Council.

On Nov. 2, Ketchum voters replaced incumbent Councilwoman Sue Noel with Ketchum resident Maurice Charlat by a 470-to-291 margin. Incumbent Randy Hall decidedly garnered the lion’s share of the votes with 530.

Noel, 61, said she’s not sore.

"It’s the way it’s supposed to be," she said of the democratic process that displaced her.

Charlat, 66, will take his seat for the Jan. 3 city council meeting.

In an interview, Charlat said he was pleased to see citizens’ political involvement alive and well in Ketchum.

"It’s easy to tell that the democratic process is in good shape when you go through what we did here," he said.

He pointed to the Politics and Pizza political forums, hosted by the Idaho Mountain Express and the involvement of the newspapers in covering the election as indicators of a healthy political area.

Charlat permanently moved to Ketchum in April, though he has been a local landowner since the 1970s. Until 1997, he headed a family corporation that managed the old Colonnade building on Sun Valley Road.

He said one of his priorities as a new councilman will be to try to get an updated comprehensive plan and supporting ordinances in place.

"It’s a question of priorities," he said.

In addition he said he is in support of incorporating affordable housing in the north valley.

"I have absolutely no philosophical hang-ups on it, but I want to find another way," he said, referring to The Fields at Warm Springs units.

He said that were he on the city council at the time of the city’s approval of The Fields, he would have voted "no" on Ketchum’s first affordable project.

"I felt that the PUD [planned unit development] process that was used tended to subvert zoning rights. It’s kind of an open ended authority that people are afraid of," he said.

This was a reference to the Warms Springs formula in which higher housing densities were exchanged for affordable units.

On another of Ketchum’s current behemoth issues—the planning of McHanville—Charlat said he is still neutral.

"It’s coming down fast," he said, "but I’m still neutral on it. I don’t know what the revenue expense details are."

Charlat said he wants to know whether the city would garner taxes from the area that would cover its expenses in providing sewer, water, police, fire and other city services should it be annexed.

Despite the loss of her city council seat, Noel said she will maintain her seemingly tireless involvement in local decision making.

She will still be the chairwoman of the Blaine County Transportation Committee and, last week, she was appointed chairwoman of the state’s Regional Public Transportation Advisory Committee (RPTAC), a branch of the Idaho Transportation Department that acts as liaison between public transportation providers, citizens and the state’s public transportation department.

Also, she said she is currently applying for a seat on the Blaine County Housing Authority.

"These are things I’m passionately interested in, so I can stay involved," she said.

She said there is nothing she would have done differently if she could go back and again campaign for last week’s election.

"There was a pretty determined effort by a certain group of people to see that I was not reelected," she said. "I doubt that anything I could have done would have changed that, since I am not about to back down on standing up for issues in which I believe."

Of her lost council seat she added, "I was far more disappointed in the failure of the recreation bond than in the fact that I was not reelected. The good it would have done for the county’s youth would have been great."

 

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Copyright 1999 Express Publishing Inc. All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited.