Ketchum council set to adopt comp plan tomorrow
By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer
Its been four years in the making. Finally, the city of Ketchum is
poised to adopt a new comprehensive plana blueprint for the citys growth over
the next 10 to 15 years.
Tomorrow morning, the Ketchum City Council is scheduled to review the
draft plan for as long as it takes before adopting it.
The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. at Ketchum City Hall.
The draft comprehensive plan covers issues from land use, economic
development and affordable housing to transportation, capital improvements and open space
The planning process began in February of 1997 and continued through a
series of public meetings that led to release of the first draft of the plan in June 1998.
That draft was not well accepted by the public, however, and the
citys planners produced a new draft similar to the citys 1983 comprehensive
plan, as the majority of the public had asked.
For the past nine months, city officials have conducted public hearings on
the revised draft plan, and a number of changes have resulted.
"Its been through a lot of public process and it has come out
the better for the community input," Ketchum planning administrator Lisa Horowitz
said in an interview Monday.
Horowitz said the Ketchum downtown and affordable housing chapters
received the most revisions this summer.
"Theyre probably the two biggest areas," she said.
For those who havent yet spoken their piece about the proposed
draft, Thursday morning may be the last chance.
Following are some of the comp plans proposed high-profile issues:
· Affordable housing. In hearings this summer, the P&Z
heavily revised the plans affordable housing chapter, called Community Housing.
"An adequate and diverse housing supply in Ketchum is needed to
ensure the viability of town life and businesses and to help alleviate traffic congestion
within the city and on Highway 75," the P&Zs revisions state.
In a series of action plans, the chapter proposes to establish target
numbers for affordable housing units, to annually define opportunities to use city
property for affordable housing, to identify potential funding sources for affordable
housing and to study the feasibility of acquiring land for affordable housing.
An action plan dictating a "no net loss" of affordable housing
properties within the city was deleted from the plan in response to public comments late
· Parking. Parking has been one of the hotly disputed topics
in the draft plan. After hours of deliberation and numerous comments from the public, the
P&Z and city council decided to institute a policy advocating that "parking
should be paid for by the users."
"The city recognizes that there is not enough land area in the
[downtown] to meet the parking demand," a comprehensive plan policy states.
"On-street parking is primarily for short-term and the visiting public, and
secondarily for employees. The private sector must address the true parking impacts and
needs of new development in the downtown area."
The section of the plan that deals with parking also advocates working on
carpooling incentives for commuters and establishing a within-town shuttle bus.
· Economic development. Though not heavily revised in the
past nine months, the economic development chapter of the plan contains several notable
Among them are policies recognizing the importance of second homeowners
and tourism to the local economy, as well as recognizing that local businesses are
threatened by a diminishing employee work force.
The chapter, not surprisingly, puts a plug in for the citys
affordable housing program.
The chapter also calls for a group of community leaders and business
owners to be established to examine the issue of "the high cost of doing business,
including rising commercial costs." The group should recommend actions to reduce the
costs, the plan states.
Another part of economic development the draft plan recognizes is the need
to protect short-term tourist accommodations from redevelopment.
· Downtown core development. Earlier this summer the
citys leaders adopted the section of the plan that dictates downtown planning
issues, but other parts of the plan contain language pertaining to the ever-controversial
topic of commercial building height and size.
For example, the plans land use chapter dictates, "Change the
zoning code to establish a maximum building size for commercial and for residential
The comprehensive plan and current revisions to the citys design
review ordinances are closely tied, though distinctly separate. The new design review
ordinancesscheduled for adoption near the end of Octoberwill primarily
regulate building height and size in the downtown area, as well as establish design
guidelines developers will have to follow.