Wednesday, January 16, 2008

McHanville on councilors? minds

City to meet with Sun Valley and county on Thursday

Express Staff Writer

Blaine County Regional Planner Jeff Adams, left, spoke to the Ketchum City Council, including Curtis Kemp, right, on Monday in preparation for a meeting on the McHanville ?South Gateway? on Thursday. The meeting will be held with officials from Sun Valley and Blaine County, as well as a planning consultant. The county?s preferred redevelopment could see a total of 850 homes on the 90 acres that make up the area. Photo by Willy Cook

In anticipation of a joint meeting with the Blaine County Commission and the Sun Valley City Council scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 17, the Ketchum City Council on Monday reviewed its vision for development of the McHanville and "South Gateway" area.

Blaine County Regional Planner Jeff Adams was on hand to give a history and glimpse of the potential future of this much-debated stretch of land, which runs from St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center south to the Clear Creek industrial area on the east of state Highway 75.

"This is some history so that we can get down to business on Thursday," Adams said, adding that he hoped the information would be especially useful for new council members Curtis Kemp and Larry Helzel.

Adams said the impetus behind the process is the current non-conformity to county zoning that abounds in this highly visible area, which for now has a mixture of commercial and residential uses.

Adams reviewed much of the information presented in September by Jeff Winston, of Winston Associates, a Boulder, Colo.-based planning firm, including the county's preferred scenario for development. That entails about 650 new units, in addition to 200 existing residences, throughout the 90 acres, achieved in part through a sizable increase in the number of housing units that could be built on the undeveloped bench along Cold Springs Road west of St. Luke's. The bench is about 100 feet above the grade of Highway 75 and is not visible from it.

The concept presented would see a significant change to existing county zoning to allow more density, up to 10 units per acre.

Adams said the county's goal for the gateway area is to improve its appearance while bringing conformity to both use and size, as well as the creation of affordable housing. Future steps toward that end would include completing a master plan for the area.

Ketchum City Planner Stefanie Webster said that Thursday's meeting, at which consultant Jeff Winston will be present, is aimed at giving the county more specific direction from Ketchum and Sun Valley in regards to the proposed density of the project and its funding.

Adams said on Monday that the current budget allocated for work by Winston Associates is nearly finished and a decision must be made as to where funding on this project could best be spent.

The public is invited to attend Thursday's meeting at Ketchum City Hall.

In other Ketchum news:

· 48 Straight, a newly-named company that will present this year's Jeep King of the Mountain series, formerly known as the Honda Ski Tour, received unanimous support from the Ketchum City Council, which authorized a cash contribution of $10,000 on Monday, Jan. 14. In addition to the money, the city also authorized in-kind contributions, the most important being police and ambulance services, though the exact cost of these has yet to be determined.

48 Straight will bring the Jeep King of the Mountain competition and festival to Sun Valley from March 14 to March 16.

· The council passed a resolution to enter into a contract with an executive search firm, Greg Prothman Co., to assist with the recruitment of a new city administrator. Prothman's services were used by Sun Valley to hire its interim city administrator, Jerry Osterman, and by Blaine County to hire Administrator Mike McNees. The service will cost the city $18,000 plus expenses.

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