Land giveaway is ludicrous
Even as Ketchum decries the shortage of space for housing,
active park space, parking and snow storage, the city council is about to sell and give
away city-owned property that could be used to fill the gap.
The city is putting land immediately adjacent to its park & ride lot
on Warm Springs Road on the market.
It is also looking to give away a platted city street to private
individual owners in Bavarian Village in West Ketchum. The street is part of the
complexs parking lot. City officials are demanding no quid pro quo.
Have they lost their marbles?
The Warm Springs property is perfect for a high-density housing complex,
or a year-round park-and-ride lot for downtown employees who could ride to their places of
business on a downtown shuttle. The property borders the bike path, is near a bus stop and
has no residential neighbors.
The city would be wise to hold on to the condo parking area and work to
see that the aging edifice is redeveloped to include some community housing.
Officials say the Warm Springs property may not be used to build
affordable housing because housing was not a listed use when the property was purchased.
Its a lame excuse.
When the property was purchased no one in the city had any idea the need
for affordable housing in the north county would become as intense as it is now.
The city council has the ability to ask voters for permission to use the
property for housing. It has the ability to horse trade a useless street for something in
the public interest. Instead, the council is taking the easy way out by doing nothing.
It seems more interested in finding space to store lots of gravel than it
does in dealing with the real problems that face Ketchum.