new affordable housing site
Express Staff Writer
Mayor Ed Simon appeared frustrated April 16 at the publicís continued
refusal to accept an affordable housing site.
very discouraging to sit up here and always hear thereís a better site,
and we look at site after site after site," he said. "Iím
looking for some sense of consensus and support for any site in this
community. This process has been discouraging and difficult."
comments followed a barrage of public comments against a proposed Sixth
Street and Leadville Avenue affordable housing complex, which was
presented by local citizens as an alternative to the cityís Fourth and
Main streets town center site. A structure there would replace a
city-owned parking lot.
Ketchum Councilman Tom Held, who helped push the Sixth and Leadville site,
surprised some and turned on his own idea.
think weíre in a transition here," he said. "I think weíre
slowly becoming aware of the housing problem and what we should do with
it. Leadville is not the best site. Itís one step better (than town
center), but itís not the best site."
proposed that the city begin studying the park and ride lot at the corner
of Warm Springs and Saddle roads, because it is large and a mile away from
the cityís center.
public hearings, Held gave elaborate presentations about the boons of the
Sixth and Leadville site in comparison to town center.
to the Sixth and Leadville site ranged from building a large building too
near a residential area to losing the parking thatís there now.
housing "belongs on the fringe or in residential areas," said
Terry Ring, owner of Silver Creek Outfitters.
In a straw
poll of the approximately 40 residents and store owners in attendance,
most agreed the park and ride lot is among the best suited sites in
Ketchum for affordable housing. But Ketchum resident Connie McGowan
pointed out that the group found consensus so easily, because the meeting
was not noticed for the park and ride lot.
council membersí comments were predictable, in that they didnít vary
from previously established positions.
Chris Potters appeared frustrated.
time, itís going to make a big difference to put affordable housing in
wherever we can," she said. "We need places in town where young
people can come and live. This place is just going to shrivel and die if
we donít do this. There are innumerable problems with every site.
what are the problems? Do you not want people who canít afford expensive
homes? What is it? Thereís no good reason Iíve heard. Not one."
Maurice Charlat said he heard new information that needed digestion before
an educated opinion could be formulated on the Sixth and Leadville site.
however, he was convinced that the park and ride lot could be next on the
list of city-owned sites to look at.
the Janss Center doesnít make it, the park and ride is next up," he
said, adding that "timeís a wastiní. Weíve got to get it
council discussion that followed, Simon made clear his concerns about the
financing proposed for town center.
devilís in the details. Thatís what Iíve been saying," he said.
"The financing is the key to this. I expect the developer is looking
at this as if heís found the pot of gold at the end of the developerís
Director Gates Kellett said that in a meeting to come between the city
council and a contracted attorney, the city should become more clear about
the specifics associated with financing and leasing the site.
outside counsel should find ways to make this comfortable for the
council," Kellett said. "To me, (the problems) are all things
that can be solved."
agreed. "The fiduciary responsibility we bear for the people who own
this land demands that we be pretty hard headed. The fiscal judgment will
make this, not the social judgment."