Ketchum debates hotel regulations
Changes to code eyed to encourage new
By GREGORY FOLEY
Express Staff Writer
On the same day developer Brian Barsotti
publicly announced that he would likely abandon his plan to build an 80-room
luxury hotel in central Ketchum, the Ketchum City Council engaged in a lengthy
debate over how to better encourage hotel development in the city.
The City Council on Monday, June 7,
reviewed a draft ordinance that proposes to amend the city zoning code by
relaxing the design restrictions governing hotel developments in the Community
Core zoning district. The hotel standards were last revised in 2001.
The most substantive change proposed to
the council Monday would increase the maximum allowable height for hotel
projects in the downtown core from 40 feet to 47 feet.
In addition, the proposed new language
would eliminate the ability of developers to get waivers to all restrictions
established for hotel developments.
The changes to the hotel regulations for
the CC zone were ordered last year by the City Council, after the city became
deeply divided over a proposal by Barsotti to build a 59-foot hotel on a
CC-zoned property along Main Street. The project required a waiver to the city’s
building height limit.
Barsotti told council members that he
believes the city must go further to encourage hotel development. He said the
city ought to abandon language in its zoning code that limits the development of
fractional-ownership units in hotels.
"If you look at Aspen, (Colo.), right now,
there are three or four hotels being proposed and all of them are fractionals,"
Tim Eagan, principal of Eagan Real Estate,
also encouraged city officials to provide greater incentives to hotel
"You need hotels," he said. "You’re going
to have Sun Valley (Co.) controlling all of the rooms and you’re going to be a
Former Blaine County Commissioner Len
Harlig urged the council to clarify all of the subjective review criteria in the
"It shouldn’t be a vote on every project
based on the number of people that come before you and say ‘Yea’ or ‘Nay,’"
The city intends to resume its review of
its hotel regulations in the coming weeks.