Wednesday, October 13, 2010

P&Z endorses $59M URA spending plan

Projects linked to future development

Express Staff Writer

The Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday unanimously approved the Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency's 25-year project plan.

The plan calls for a total of $58.9 million in URA money to go toward public improvements, including $14 million to build a parking structure at River Run, $500,000 to develop a new city park on land donated by Sun Valley Resort, and $20 million to construct 37 deed-restricted community-housing units and 35 market-rate units.

This plan—a project list standing to change as the years progress—would use only 39 percent of the URA's expected $139.8 million of unrestricted revenue. The agency's revenue comes from increases in property tax rolls that occur through new development or inflation. Property tax rates aren't increased, but as the value of land increases for properties inside a URA due to development, the corresponding increase in a property's tax goes to the URA—rather than to Blaine County—to make improvements to the area.

And a lot of development is expected, mainly from Sun Valley Resort's River Run base village—planned for a site that was annexed into the URA on Sept. 16—and two planned hotels, Warm Springs Ranch Resort and Bald Mountain Lodge. The majority of projects, such as the River Run parking structure, will put money back into those same areas. However, none of the money is guaranteed unless development occurs as planned. And none of the URA projects will be given the go-ahead until the money is in hand.

The P&Z's unanimous approval of the plan isn't confirmation that it agrees with all the projects or feels nothing else needs to be included. State law merely requires the P&Z to decide whether any of the projects conflict with Ketchum's comprehensive plan and downtown master plan. However, the P&Z is not authorized to demand additions to the URA's plan.

The time to bring up individual project concerns or recommended additions will be before the City Council, which is expected to review the plan sometime in November.

Trevon Milliard:

To see full URA plan

Go to, place the mouse over the "Public Notices/Agendas/Meeting Documents" tab, scroll down to "Planning & Zoning Staff Reports." Then click on "URA Plan." The list of all URA projects and financing methods for its remaining 25 years will be under "Attachment 5.1."

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