Bill could provide
liquor license for
new Ketchum inn
By GREGORY FOLEY
Express Staff Writer
The Idaho Senate endorsed
legislation Friday, Feb. 20, that would allow the city of Ketchum to
issue a liquor license to the developers of a proposed 80-room hotel in
the city’s downtown core.
Ketchum attorney and developer
Brian Barsotti had a lot of good news to smile about Friday.
Express photo by Willy Cook
In a 24-11 vote, the Senate
approved Senate Bill 1252, which would allow the councils of small
cities to issue new liquor licenses in excess of those that exist
through the state’s population-driven quota.
The bill proposes to amend
existing liquor-license law to allow cities with a population of less
than 5,000 residents to issue a new license to the owners or operators
of a minimum 60,000-square-foot conference and lodging facility with at
least 60 guest rooms. The facility must be built after July 1, 2004, and
must have a minimum taxable value of $15 million.
The bill would allow development
partners Brian Barsotti and Mariel Hemingway to acquire a liquor license
for their planned 85,000 square-foot luxury hotel and conference center
proposed for a parcel at the southern entrance to Ketchum.
The project has been estimated to
cost $35 million.
Barsotti said Friday that he has
lobbied in favor of the bill because of the steep costs and general
shortage of liquor licenses for sale on the open market.
Under the quota system, cities can
receive a minimum of two licenses and one additional for every 1,500
people or fraction thereof.
Currently, 11 liquor licenses are
held in Ketchum. Barsotti and his supporters have argued that none of
the owners of those licenses are willing to sell at a reasonable price.
The record sale price for a liquor
license was $425,000 in the 1990s in the Sun Valley area.
Any new licenses issued under the
new law would not be transferable to other parties or businesses.
To gain final approval, the bill
will have to be passed by the House State Affairs Committee and the
House of Representatives, before being signed into law by Gov. Dirk
(The AP contributed to this