Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ketchum officials to hold annual retreat

Full-day meeting to discuss future agenda

Express Staff Writer

On July 27, Ketchum Mayor Randy Hall, Ketchum City Council members, Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commissioners and city staff will convene for an official full-day retreat at Warm Springs Lodge. Sun Valley Co. is providing the space and services for free.

The retreat is an annual event that began four years ago. While Hall said he did not start the tradition, he said he continues it because it allows him to reach out to the council, the P&Z and staff.

"I want to be sure that in governing I don't get sideways from my legislative branch," he said.

Hall said the meeting will start with a focus on the needs of the planning and zoning commission. Then council members will be free to express their agenda items.

"We create a list and set the priorities so we have a short-, mid- and long-term action plan," Hall said.

The meeting will be open to the public, though public comments will not be accepted.

Hall said past retreats have typically lasted for two days and have taken place in out-of-town locations such as Hailey and Hagerman. Items discussed in the past have included transportation plans, hotel development, a master plan for parks and increasing tourist-related signs.

"It is about everything, really," Councilman Curtis Kemp said. "It is just a chance for the council and P&Z to get together in an informal setting and talk about stuff."

This year, Hall said the retreat is a day shorter because of the economy.

"The way the economy is, we won't have any capital projects this year," Hall said. "We just don't have the luxury to decide if we will do things like Fourth Street because there is just no money for it."

Ketchum Councilman Larry Helzel said that the meeting would help give city officials direction in the upcoming months.

"As far as the transformation of the town, this meeting will help us determine how we see it happening and what we can do over the next year to enable this," Helzel said.

Helzel said that Sun Valley Co.'s proposed development at River Run, which could see a new hotel and residential units on the resort's 160-acre property at the base of the mountain, could become a great opportunity for Ketchum. The application for the annexation of the property into Ketchum would signify the beginning of this process.

Unlike Ketchum, the cities of Sun Valley, Hailey and Bellevue do not have such retreats.

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