Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mixed-use building in LI remains on hold

Express Staff Writer

Developers of a proposed mixed-used building in Ketchum's light-industrial area have a few more issues to work through to appease the city's Planning and Zoning Commission.

Michael Blash, the architect representing developer Bell Drive LLC, was before the commission on Monday, March 10, for his second attempt in as many months to gain a conditional use permit and design review approval for a building that would contain industrial work units, offices and condominiums.

The 38,442-square-foot building would be located at 660 Bell Drive, across the street from Houston Lumber and directly behind Sun Valley Cleaners.

It would contain six industrial units on the ground floor with attached mezzanine levels and 12 offices and studio apartments on the second and third floors.

Jeff Smith, a Bell Drive LLC partner, said the small condominium units would be priced around $200,000 and the offices at $300,000. He said the total cost of constructing the building would be $12 million.

While commission members said they liked the concept and the intention of creating new development in the light industrial zone, they expressed concerns over the possibility of the offices' being converted into bedrooms.

In addition to having the developer look into a means of enforcing the intended purpose of the units, the commission also requested more detail on how the underground parking facility would be affected by water drainage from the surrounding area.

As well, members of the Bell Drive Association, comprised of six property owners on the southern half of Bell Drive, expressed concern regarding the impact construction would have on their businesses, as the street is narrow and easily obstructed by large vehicles.

The public hearing on the application was continued to a regular commission meeting scheduled for April 14.

- In other P&Z news, the commission approved a conditional use permit application by the Pioneer Montessori School, located at 211 Second Ave. N. in Ketchum, to allow the school to expand to include the building and lot of its neighbor to the north. That building houses the Trails West Art Gallery and a tanning salon.

Liza Weekes, representing the school, said it wouldn't start raising the funds to purchase the neighboring building until the city approves its plans.

The Montessori School has classes from pre-school through fourth grade.

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