Quality of life
debates to watch
Like clockwork every year, Bald Mountain
closes and political debates bloom like daffodils.
How the debates are settled will have
far-reaching effects on life here. Here are four new ones worth watching.
Ketchum Hotel: The debate is coming
back. Developers whose design for a Main Street hotel was rebuffed 2-1 by the
Ketchum City Council are scheduled to return with a new plan. Height defeated
the first plan, but thereís more at stake.
The real fight in the hotel debate is the
future of the valleyís tourism economy. The city has to face up to the fact that
ordinances governing downtown development are so restrictive that even some
existing hotels could not be built today.
While freezing the city in time may sound
romantic, it could lead to its demise if misguided attacks on business
Paid parking and HOV lanes: Paid
parking in Ketchum and a High Occupancy Vehicle Lane for buses and carpools on a
new State Highway 75 could make both the city and the highway more pleasant
Yet, the stateís highway consultants did
not include paid parking in recent highway efficiency evaluations. Consequently,
they concluded, HOV lanes would make commutes longer, not shorter.
The consultants said they would revise the
analysis before the evaluations go to state and federal agencies that control
the highway. This is one promise that must be kept lest the valley find itself
with a new highway that becomes congested nearly as soon as itís built.
Affordable Housing in Sun Valley:
Donít look now, but conversations about including community housing in major
residential developments are coming from an unlikely quarter: the Sun Valley
We donít anticipate any progress in a city
that has totally ignored community housing. Yet, stranger things have happened.
Ban on Jetskis: Blaine County is
considering a ban on jet skis on Pettit Lake. The ban would not prohibit
motorized boats or water skiing, just Jetskis.
The ban is justified if only for safety.
On small lakes, the rules of boating seem to evaporate when someone hops on a
Jetski. Not to mention the peace of the high-mountain strongholds shattered by
ear-splitting engine noise.