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For the week of August 23 through 29, 2000

Price of growth

What do you do with thousands of cubic yards of dirt and rock?


By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer

Ketchum’s many new commercial construction projects that include underground parking aren’t coming without unforeseen side effects.

In three projects slated for excavation this month—the Christiania commercial building, Private Residence Resort (to be built on the Snug Building site on Sun Valley Road) and The Plaza in Warm Springs—33,000 cubic yards of dirt and rock will need to be removed, according to a report compiled by Ketchum planning administrator Lisa Horowitz.

Of that amount, 12,000 cubic yards can be returned to the sites as backfill around foundations, but not before it’s sifted and sorted to produce suitable material.

In the past, trucks have transported the material to Ohio Gulch or Bellevue to be sifted and then returned to construction sites.

For the three aforementioned projects, that translates into 3,300 truck loads traveling south from Ketchum and 1,200 returning north, according to Horowitz.

But there could be a way to alleviate the impact thousands of trucks traveling the highway will have on Wood River Valley residents.

Monday night, Horowitz posed the question to the Ketchum City Council of potentially housing a sifting machine somewhere in the north end of the valley.

Council members tossed around the idea of using the city’s park & ride lot as a sifting or storage site for the process, but a clear decision was not reached.

Council members asked Horowitz to return options they can entertain for housing such a contraption in or near Ketchum. The council will consider the issue again at its Sept. 4 meeting.

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The council also unanimously approved plans for Ketchum’s second affordable housing project, which will be built south of Ketchum in the new River Glen subdivision—formerly the Sun Valley RV Park.

Developer Doug McPherson has headed the effort.

McPherson is building three affordable units under one roof in exchange for higher development densities on the old RV park site. Two of the units will be two-bedroom, 972 square-foot units. One will be a one-bedroom, 685-square-foot unit.

Under the RV park’s light residential zoning, five lots could be subdivided. Under the city’s planned unit development (PUD) ordinance, however, seven lots will be subdivided in exchange for the affordable housing units.

The city’s PUD ordinance allows developers to trade affordable housing units for higher development densities.

Councilman Maurice Charlat has said he has some problems with Ketchum’s first affordable housing project, The Fields at Warm Springs.

The Fields doesn’t have enough storage space and no garages, and the units are too densely packed, he said.

"If we move forward on (River Glen), it should become a shining example of what employee housing should look like," he said in a June meeting.

In an interview yesterday, he said he is pleased with McPherson’s plans.

"I think they’ve been innovative and very, very responsive to the suggestions made by the council," he said.

"There’s garage space. There’s closet space. They’re well designed in my opinion. They (McPherson and his design team) deserve some credit for being as cooperative as they were."

The three units will be offered for sale in the $100,000 price range.

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There wasn’t much fanfare when the council unanimously voted in favor of the city’s proposed fiscal 2000/2001 budget—only objections from the usual contingent of residents opposed to chamber of commerce funding.

The $8.4 million budget is an increase of 9.4 percent over last year.

A new city planner and fire marshal are proposed as new personnel expenditures, and the city’s contract with the Sun Valley/Ketchum Chamber of Commerce is proposed to be increased by $16,500, to $331,500 for marketing and visitor information services.

Ketchum resident Jake Jacoby told council members they are robbing Ketchum’s taxpayers by contracting with the chamber of commerce. He also charged that previously published stories in the Mountain Express failed to point out that public opinion at a previous city council hearing was overwhelmingly against the chamber of commerce contract.

"The chamber stacked the meeting," he said. Discounting the comments of chamber members, he said, "it was actually 4-1 against funding."

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The council also set firm dates on which it will consider and finalize the city’s draft comprehensive plan, possibly adopting the plan by the end of September. The council was joined by the Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commission for the comp plan discussion.

The plan has been in the drafting process for three years.

A series of three Tuesdays were selected for comp plan work: Aug. 29 at 4 p.m., Sept. 5 at 5 p.m. and Sept. 19 at 4 p.m.

Horowitz said the council could possibly wrap things up at the Sept. 19 meeting.

"We’re trying to get this wrapped up, but we’re also trying to get the public re-involved," Commissioner Rod Sievers said.

 

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