debate draws crowd
Center in the hot seat
Express Staff Writer
prospect of another new affordable housing complex packed meeting chambers
Monday night when the Ketchum City Council unanimously passed a resolution
that will enable the city to help fund its proposed Town Center project.
comments on the proposed project were 13 to four in favor of moving
forward, but Mayor David Hutchinson pointed out that the negative opinions
were enough to stifle progress at this early stage in the process.
is not the grand, big step," he said. "This resolution is barely
scratching the surface enough to get this thing moving."
called the negativity "unfortunate," given the lessons the city
has learned regarding housing and the difficulties it has overcome in the
Council members, as well as Mayor-elect Ed Simon and Councilman-elect
Baird Gourlay, spoke favorably about the project.
can’t keep pushing all (our citizens) to Hailey, or we’ll have no
community here," Gourlay said.
Hutchinson, said Monday’s decision is only a preliminary step.
proceed tonight, it doesn’t mean we ignore design review criteria or any
other requirements," he said.
resolution passed Monday will allow the city to apply for funding by a
Feb. 15 deadline, Ketchum and Blaine County Housing Director Gates Kellett
said. The funds, if awarded, would be earmarked for the Town Center site.
eventually built, the Town Center project could bring 15 to 20 affordable,
rental units to the city’s downtown at the corner of Fourth and Main
streets. It would include office space and underground parking.
construction on the same site as the current Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber of
Commerce does not mean the chamber would continue to be a tenant there,
Ketchum officials pointed out.
who objected to the project said the site is too centrally located,
supporters generally thought the opposite.
very much concerned about where it’s going," said Ketchum resident
Janet Dunbar. "I just don’t think we should give it a blank sheet
of paper and say we’ll do anything for affordable housing."
resident Mickey Garcia pointed out, however, that "somebody always
have to have a little bit of affordable housing just about
everywhere," Garcia said. "This fight seems slow and tortuous,
but we’ve got to keep our heads to the grindstone if we’re going to
get anywhere on this."
and Garcia ran unsuccessfully for mayor in the November general election.
resident Anne Corrock, who had been a council candidate in the city’s
first run-off election, asked questions about the building’s design,
size, cost, commitment to the city and many others. Simon told her that he
would begin organizing meetings on the project when he takes the city’s
reigns in the new year to attempt to answer such questions.
Monday night, Hutchinson, with the council’s unanimous approval,
appointed Ketchum resident Chase Hamilton to the city’s Housing
Commission for a three-year term. Hamilton was one of five mayoral
candidates in this fall’s election.
spoke very favorably about housing during the mayoral campaign and is
willing to serve," Hutchinson said. "We’re looking forward to
some new and fresh ideas."
said he is excited to continue his involvement with the city he has called
home since his birth.
By a split
vote, the city council adopted a resolution in favor of re-prioritizing
cleanup funds spent at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental
Laboratory near Arco to stress cleanup of buried waste ahead of removal of
came on the heels of a previous presentation two weeks ago from the Snake
River Alliance and a separate presentation from U.S. Geological Survey
scientists who work at the INEEL.
Maurice Charlat said he voted against the resolution because it referenced
three of Idaho’s cash crops in connection with potential pollutants
without substantiating the position with science.
language is too simplistic for a resolution of this import," he said.
on its way toward adoption of a power franchise agreement with Idaho Power
Co., the city’s electricity provider, that would help facilitate burying
power lines throughout the city. A franchise agreement has been absent for
reviewing portions of the agreement with Idaho Power representatives, city
officials said adoption could occur as early as Jan. 4.
suggested the city establish a fund earmarked for burying power lines that
would receive 100 percent of franchise fees collected. The council and