Attempts to revitalize Warm Springs Village in Ketchum could be accomplished with new buildings over the allowed 35-foot height limit while keeping the village character and with minimal effects on views, says a massing study to be presented to Ketchum officials Monday night.
The conclusions are included in a study done by Winter and Co. of Boulder, Colo. Company president Nore Winter will outline his findings to the City Council and public at the city's regular meeting beginning at 5:30 p.m., Oct. 1, at City Hall.
The council commissioned the study last summer as part of its master study of the area to give context to council members as differing development concepts emerge, said a Sept. 25 memorandum from city Planning Director Harold Moniz to the council and Planning and Zoning Commission.
The report is a continuation of a process started in February after a public meeting was held to gauge what the public wanted to see in and around the Warm Springs base area of Bald Mountain, said Ketchum senior contract planner Lisa Horowitz. Notices announcing Monday's meeting have been sent to 500 area residents, she said.
"(It's) what can be done to revitalize the base area and make it a more vibrant tourist spot," is how Horowitz summarizes the effort. "The current 35-foot, three-story zoning limitation is probably not enough to stimulate redevelopment."
Winter is planning a 40-minute PowerPoint presentation, Horowitz said. Winter was traveling and could not be reached for comment.
Winter's study presents a conceptual view of what a phased "build-out" might look like in future years with certain design principles in mind. It is not a master plan. The PowerPoint presentation will show several key properties that could be redeveloped, but it will emphasize that they are suggestions and not a formal proposal and do not "necessarily reflect the owners' plans for these properties."
Important properties for potential redevelopment include: the Baldy Base Camp, Pinnacle (Scorpion), the Edelweiss and the Greyhawk Alpine Center sites. They're all in the central village core.
According to the study's conclusions: The area's character is mainly due to its user-friendly, walkable scale, its open spaces and its direct access to the natural areas around it. Any new development should preserve the village character and build upon it, and new buildings should be varied in scale.
"To maintain the natural feel in areas where new developments impact views, street trees and other vegetation can be used to buffer views," the report says.
"Buildings and streets should be linked with public plazas, open space and landscaped pedestrian paths," says the report.
It also emphasizes pedestrian access and says that various populated areas should be connected to recreation sites at Warm Springs Creek and at the mountain base.
The study presents two alternatives.
"The main trade-offs between alternatives include level of impacts to public views, gateway and street definition, village character, pedestrian experience and increase in building area," the report says.
The report specifically speaks to design principles in the mountain base area, north of Warm Springs Creek and south of Picabo Street, noting that this section is seen from the mountain above as well as from the street. Among the ideas the study suggests are that new development here should contribute to the lodge setting, be oriented to the street and creek, provide access to the creek and encourage pedestrians by building on the sidewalk edge.
Crafting a master plan for the Warm Springs Village area was a goal the City Council set during its 2006 retreat, in which priorities were set.
During a show of hands from the audience at a February public meeting a simple majority were in favor of five-story buildings for certain uses in the center of the village, city documents said.
Among other sentiments expressed at the February meeting were that the area needs more amenities and that an estimated 90 percent of Warm Springs residences are not occupied year-round.