Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Historic Preservation Commission targets 60 properties

Ketchum hopes to create incentives to save old buildings


By REBECCA MEANY
Express Staff Writer

Sometimes in states of disrepair, but always defying the odds, there still exist in Ketchum several dozen historic buildings.

The Ketchum Historic Preservation Commission reviewed the city's rapidly declining collection of historic properties Wednesday, Nov. 8.

Commissioners selected 60 out of 80 properties identified by cultural resource consultant Claudia Walsworth and photographer Jeanne Flowers last year. Their hope is to create incentives for heritage homeowners to preserve buildings in the face of rapidly escalating property values and demands on land.

The city of Ketchum is pumping life into its confusing and seldom-used transfer of development rights ordinance, which allows owners of "heritage" buildings in a designated "sending" area to sell off their rights to build out to a 2.25 floor area ratio. The FAR governs a building's volume in relation to its lot size.

Property owners in "receiving" areas could buy those rights, thereby creating more density in other parts of town.

The system, which is voluntary, seeks to preserve not just historic structures, but buildings that represent a distinctive style of architecture, a particular era in Ketchum's history or that had a notable figure who lived there.

The commission will send to the City Council recommendations on what criteria should be required for a building to be categorized as a "heritage" property.

Recommended qualifiers include buildings that are:

· 50-plus years old.

· Representative of traditional Ketchum architecture.

· Representative of Ketchum's community traditions and heritage, such as railroads, skiing and mining.

· Associated with significant events or people of the past.

· Listed on or eligible for national or state historic registers.

The preservation commission's review of historic and heritage buildings is being done in conjunction with Ketchum city staff, who are gathering as much information as they can on the remaining structures.

"We'll compile all the information out there on these properties, comparing old pictures with new pictures, information from the (Ketchum-Sun Valley) Historical Society, and new criteria for historic properties, so for each property we'll have a snapshot of everything we know about it," said City Planner Beth Robrahn, who also serves as commission liaison.

The City Council will meet tonight at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall for a workshop on TDRs in the Community Core zoning district. A public hearing on the issue will follow at a later date.

TDR meeting

What: Ketchum officials will consider TDR system.

Where: Ketchum City Hall.

When: Today, Nov. 15, at 5:30 p.m.




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