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For the week of December 6 through 12, 2000

Buyer Beware is poor policy

The Ketchum City Council recently reaffirmed the city’s Buyer Beware policy toward single family homes built on single lots in avalanche zones in Warm Springs.

Instead of requiring special engineering and reinforcement, the City Council—like its predecessors—opted to require owners wishing to build in an avalanche zone to sign a statement that says they are aware of the danger.

This is the second time since 1997 that the city has chosen to bury its head in the sand on the issue, and at least the third since the city enacted its avalanche protection ordinance in 1979.

Yet, the city requires duplexes in the area to be engineered to withstand an avalanche.

Then, as now, the council ignored the fact that many single-family homes are rented long- and short-term to the unwary. It ignored the fact that most people have absolutely no concept of the devastation and death that can come with a big slide.

This in a city that sweats the details of landscaping like life and death matters is puzzling and inexcusable.


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