Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Delay for the big hotel decision?

Warm Springs developer misses deadline

Express Staff Writer

The scheduled date for the Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commission's final decision on the proposed Warm Springs Ranch Resort is in question, as the developer missed a Monday, May 5, deadline to submit materials.

Ketchum Community and Economic Development Director Lisa Horowitz said Tuesday that a death in the family of Stan Castleton, who owns the development company DDRM Greatplace, has created the delay. This could, in turn, affect the timing of three planned public hearings on June 10, 11 and 12, which will precede the council's decision, scheduled for June 19.

Horowitz said city staff was expecting to hear from the developer later in the day on Tuesday as to when the applicant would submit the additional information and materials determined necessary from commission workshops on April 1 and 24.

The family issue also led to the cancellation of a third workshop scheduled for Thursday, May 8.

Horowitz said that if the developer can get submit the materials by the end of this week, the city staff would likely have enough time to complete its report for the commission by the necessary 15 days before the public hearing. That would give the staff less than the month they usually take to assemble the report.

However, if the developer can't do so until next week, Horowitz said, it would be very difficult to have the report on time.

"If they can't work something out now with the city staff, then we could be forced to push the public hearings to September," Horowitz said. "But we really want to keep these meetings as scheduled."

That statement came a day after Ketchum resident Lee Chubb expressed his concern to the City Council that many of his fellow residents have factored these meetings into their summer schedules, including second home owners who would be traveling to Ketchum to partake in the proceedings.

Horowitz said the city should have a better idea of any necessary changes later this week.

In other Ketchum news:

· The Ketchum City Council approved an encroachment permit that will allow developer Jon Sofro to remodel the building sitting at the northwest corner of Sun Valley Road and First Avenue, which used to house Scott USA, the Ketchum Post Office and, most recently, Price Asher.

The exterior of the building will be stripped and replaced with a brick-and-stucco veneer that will fall between 4 and 8 inches into the public right of way.

As well, there will be two slight inclines added to the sidewalk, which will be widened from five to 10 feet, to provide disabled access to the two shop entrances on the south side of the building along Sun Valley Road.

· The council also approved an ordinance that amends the municipal code by adding new "construction activity standards," which require a construction activity plan to be approved before a building permit is issued.

Construction plans must take into account traffic, noise, debris and storage of materials related to construction.

A $250 fine for violations, contained in the original draft of the ordinance, was scrapped, as the council determined that it would lead to added work for the police and building departments. Instead, violators will face a stop-work order, known as a "red tag," with the associated costly delays in construction deemed a sufficient deterrent.

· Jake Peters, proprietor of Leroy's Ice Cream, requested that the city donate a portion of the open land across from Atkinsons' to the Ketchum Community Development Corporation, so that he could, in turn, lease the land for his non-profit ice cream stand. The land donation would be necessary, as the city cannot issue an off-site vendor permit on city land.

Peters said his stand would be moved from its current location on the vacant lot on the northeast corner of Main and Fourth streets to where the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber & Visitors Bureau gazebo now sits. The gazebo would be relocated 20 feet to the west.

Council members expressed support for Peters' plan, and the city staff will look into working out the details before the city gives an official decision.

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