Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Bravo awaits Ketchum?s decision

August concerts and venue still in question

Express Staff Writer

Two Bravo Entertainment concerts in August are in limbo, and the city of Ketchum is hoping to talk with Sun Valley Co. General Manager Wally Huffman to help find a solution.

The council on Monday held a conference call with Bravo President Paul Thornton, who is appealing the denial of conditional-use permits for Nickel Creek on Aug. 12 and the Doobie Brothers on Aug. 22.

The Planning & Zoning Commission approved a conditional-use permit for only the first of the three planned concerts, Lyle Lovett on July 4. The City Council on July 3 approved a lease agreement with Sun Valley Co. for their land at the upper Greyhawk parking lot at the Warm Springs base of Bald Mountain. They were reluctant to approve a lease for the two other concerts due to concerns over fire hazards, as well as a dispute over insurance and liability.

The P&Z on July 10 denied the CUP for the remaining concerts, which prompted Monday's appeal.

"My question is ... I got an agreement from (city attorney) Ben (Worst) that included all three dates and I was given the green light to contract with the bands," Thornton said.

The city realized—too late—that entering into a lease agreement with Sun Valley Co. for property in Ketchum city limits may have opened the city up to a tremendous liability. Language in the agreement could be construed as the city waiving its $500,000 tort claim cap that would apply if the concert were on city-owned land.

"This should be between Sun Valley Co. and Bravo," said Councilman Steven Shafran. "The ideal way is to get the heck out of this."

Acting Fire Chief Mike Elle said he would bill Bravo $1,448 for services the company was to provide.

"They still have to meet all the other requirements they didn't even come close to meeting at the last concert," he said. "I do not want to lose the ski mountain because of a concert."

Thornton said that although not everything went according to plan on July 4, indifference was not the cause.

"I think some of it was miscommunication," he said, adding, "We ran into some staffing issues. The fire people our security manager set up through Boise were no-shows. There was certainly never any intent at lip service."

Councilman Baird Gourlay showed some sympathy for the situation.

"We made the initial step to try to get concerts here," he said. "We entered into this contract, which wasn't a very good contract, and I feel a certain amount of responsibility to Bravo."

Mayor Randy Hall told Thornton he would facilitate conversation between Bravo and Sun Valley Co., and look into whether the River Run parking lot, at the south end of Ketchum, or the Festival Meadows in Sun Valley, are available.

"We might have some luck moving the venue," Hall said.

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