City leaders look
for blueprint to future
Express Staff Writer
leaders are getting back in the saddle to work on planning for the city’s
expansion needs and how those needs can be accommodated on city-owned
special meeting Nov. 13, the Ketchum City Council discussed a wide range
of ideas pertaining to city properties and expansion needs. The
discussion—more like a brain storming session—occurred during a
public hearing that was supposed to focus on the city-owned town center
site, at the corner of Fourth and Main Streets.
year, public debate raged over whether the city should pursue a 20-room
affordable housing and commercial project at the town center site.
Funding for the project ultimately fell through, but some citizens are
still smarting from the rhetorical maelstrom that surrounded the
been down that road, and we don’t need to go down it again,"
Mayor Ed Simon said.
discussion ranged from pursuing ownership of West Ketchum land owned by
Idaho potato king J.R. Simplot to relocating the city’s historic
Congregational Church, which also was Louie’s restaurant, to the town
the meeting’s conclusion, the city council decided to put off making
an immediate decision and asked the city’s planning department to
investigate a year-old report, penned by local architect Michael Doty,
on city expansion needs and options. The Ketchum Planning and Zoning
Commission will look into the issue at its Dec. 9 meeting, which begins
at 5:30 p.m.
the council’s decision to continue investigations, the Nov. 13 meeting
attracted local residents representing diverse community interests,
including park and open space advocates, affordable housing champions
and historic preservation gurus.
have limited land. We have a multitude of needs," observed Simon.
planning the city’s properties was the most popular concept discussed,
and city leaders decided the so-called "Doty Report" was the
best place to start.
got some traction already if we just use it," Councilman Maurice
Councilman Baird Gourlay stressed the need for fast action.
need to do something today. Then plan five years and 20 years down the
road," he said. "Let’s face it. We’ve got four departments
busting at the seams. We need some action.
Ketchum Mayor Jerry Seiffert also cautioned the council against studying
the issue to death.
can’t get into a situation where you need to know everything before
you can do anything. You’ll never get anything done," he said.
December 2001 report, Doty worked with city department heads to
determine expansion needs for the city’s police, fire, planning and
administrative branches. He then proposed four conceptual solutions to
the office and facilities needs.
solutions varied, but used the same general pieces of city-owned
property: a parking lot at the corner of Sixth Street and Leadville
Avenue, a paved lot now used as a pull-out for the fire department and
the existing city hall facilities. When Doty authored the report, the
town center site was still on track for the affordable housing project
that never became.
the city does not own an abundance of developable properties. A project
undertaken by Ketchum’s acting Planning Administrator Harold Moniz and
former Housing Administrator Gates Kellett, revealed that only nine
city-owned properties can be developed or redeveloped: Ketchum City
Hall, the fire department pull-out lot, town center, two downtown
parking lots, the street department site, two employee housing units,
the park and ride lot and a gravel and equipment storage lot in the city’s