Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Transition takes place in Ketchum

Council members, commissioners sworn in by mayor

Express Staff Writer

Larry Helzel, left, and Curtis Kemp take an oath of office on Monday, Jan. 7, before assuming their seats on the Ketchum City Council. Photo by Willy Cook

Partaking in a Ketchum City Council meeting via speakerphone for the last time, Steven Shafran was commended by Mayor Randy Hall for his efforts over the past two years, as was Terry Tracy for her work on the council since 2004.

Both Shafran and Tracy stepped down from their positions in City Hall at the first council meeting of the year, which took place Monday, Jan. 7.

While Hall expressed sadness at the pair's departure, he also said he was excited by the newest additions to the council, Larry Helzel and Curtis Kemp.

The new council was promptly put to work, re-electing Baird Gourlay as council president.

As well, the council passed resolutions appointing two new members to the Planning and Zoning Commission, architects Steven Cook and Michael Doty.

"The two fine gentlemen have deep roots in the community," Hall said. "As local architects they have a good understanding of our form-based code."

The new council members got a glimpse of what will surely be a hot issue for the coming year when they agreed to waive the second and third readings, and subsequently approve, an ordinance that provides an incentive for hotel developers.

The ordinance will exempt those developers from the city's community housing requirement, a move seen by council members as a means to attract potential hoteliers. However, the ordinance includes a sunset clause mandating that a developer must obtain a building permit by June 1, 2010.

Without the waiver, a hotel developer would be required to provide community housing equaling 20 percent of the gross floor area of the development.

Also during the meeting, Gourlay recommended that the city look into setting up a parking lot where drivers could leave their cars overnight, specifically to decrease the amount of drunk driving.

Gourlay suggested speaking with David Hutchinson, an owner of the old Williams Market, which is now vacant, about leasing the existing parking lot.

This idea was supported by Ketchum Police Chief Cory Lyman, who agreed that a "drunk parking lot" could help relieve the effort his department makes enforcing DUI laws.

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