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For the week of Feb. 23 through Feb. 29, 2000

Downtown-go-round


The tug of war over buildings, businesses, parking and housing in downtown Ketchum will renew before the Planning and Zoning Commission in a public hearing at City Hall at 7:30 p.m. Monday.

A draft of a new comprehensive plan for the town calls for reducing densities in about two-thirds of the downtown in a misguided effort to control growth and generate better looking buildings.

The P&Z is living under the illusion that reducing the size of buildings allowed downtown—instead of creating and enforcing more stringent design standards—will make Ketchum a better town.

The question is: "A better town for whom?"

Surely not for businesses that are already stretched to try to pay current market rental rates. If the P&Z’s plan is approved, their space rentals will only be driven higher.

Surely not for most employees who have difficulty finding affordable local housing.

Surely not for anyone who needs a parking space.

Reducing densities will make it economically impossible for developers to consider building expensive underground parking or housing.

Surely not for anyone who enjoys the services of local restaurants and shops.

Surely not for anyone who is opposed to hillside building in the county and strip malls on the highway.

Surely not for anyone who knows that the only known antidote for sprawl is to concentrate densities in the city.

Monday’s hearing is the last chance to convince the P&Z to embrace wise community planning before it passes this foolish document to the City Council. Participants should demand that the P&Z divulge for whom the town will be better if its plan is approved.

 

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