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Editorials
For the week of May 10 through May 16, 2000

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 complex’s 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.

It’s 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.

 

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