Just when it seemed the valley had become safe from
another public hearing on parking, Ketchum decided to dredge it up again.
No one showed up for a hearing two weeks ago. It’s no
wonder after the four years of aggravation and hundreds of hours of public
participation it took to rewrite the city’s development plan.
But the job of planners is to plan, so on they go.
Ketchum’s planners propose that the city require bigger
buildings to provide a lot more parking on site than they do today, and
that smaller buildings provide less.
That sounds good and simple¾ in theory only.
Densities were already reduced 25 to 30 percent in the
In practice, buildings could shrink again if more on-site
parking is required, Unless of course, developers do what the planners
recommend—build underground parking or pay $20,000 per space fees to the
city in lieu of building parking.
Underground parking is a great idea, but little will fit
on the standard downtown lot, which makes it very expensive.
Charging fees in-lieu of parking sounds good, too. Except
for one niggling fact: The city tried a similar plan before, but it failed
to produce new parking.
But so what? What everyone wants is smaller buildings,
Smaller commercial buildings inside the city will mount
pressure on the county to strip-zone areas outside the city. They will
also drive up business costs as space becomes scarce.
That said, the city does have some parking problems it
needs to address. For example, the new multi-use half-block Colonnade
building was allowed to reserve all of its parking for residents and none
for business owners or employees. (Developers provided more business
parking in a second phase.)
The second hearing on parking revisions is next Wednesday,
May 30, at noon before the Planning and Zoning Commission at City Hall.
It’s time to pay attention to parking—again.