Friday, October 20, 2006

Downtown plan at tipping point

The tipping point will arrive next week for the Ketchum downtown in a series of meetings in which the City Council will review and hold a public hearing on new downtown zoning ordinances.

It's essential that business owners and others concerned about the vitality of downtown show up and be counted.

The downtown's future is on the line.

The City Council will decide the question of whether or not high-end residential will continue to be allowed to overwhelm and eventually kill other uses.

The answer is in the formula the city settles on for what may be built and what forms new buildings will take.

Ketchum's P&Z recommended a formula that doesn't address the problem and that could produce a goofy-looking jagged townscape. Its formula also could torpedo middle-income housing.

On Monday, the council will review and discuss requirements for middle-income workforce housing and hotels.

On Tuesday, it will look at how many stories downtown buildings will be allowed to contain, building heights and lot coverage. Also, a program for transfers of density rights to preserve Ketchum's historic buildings is on the agenda.

On Thursday, the council will hold a public hearing on the whole lot, which may be continued into additional days.

In life, as in sport, there are plays that determine the outcome. All the thinking, planning and strategizing in the world can be for naught unless the right moves are made at the right time.

Next week is that time for Ketchum.

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