Grocer Vern Howard has notified Ketchum city leaders that he has deferred plans to build the Ketchum Market at the former Stock Building Supply site on Warm Springs Road.
Howard has been fighting for months to obtain a zoning change that would allow grocery stores in the city's largest light-industrial area. The City Council completed its first reading of the amendment on Nov. 15, following abundant and often passionate public testimony on both sides of the argument. Passage of the first reading means the city will continue considering the change during two more readings.
The council was split 2-2 concerning the first reading of the zoning change on Nov. 15, with Mayor Randy Hall breaking the tie.
According to a news release from the city, Howard requested postponing the second reading until the city rewrites the economic-development chapter of its comprehensive plan, which could delve into the city's roadmap for the best way of developing the LI zone.
"While we remain convinced that Valmark's proposed text amendment allowing for grocery stores as a conditional use in LI-2 zoning would be of great value for the city and that the former Stock Lumber site is an excellent site for a grocery store, we believe that the outcome of the plan may assist the city in reaching the same conclusion," Howard's attorney, James Laski, stated in a letter to the city dated Nov. 30.
Lisa Horowitz, Ketchum's director of community and economic development, said she doesn't know if the rewrite will go into that level of detail for the LI. Several members of the public and council have said the city needs to decide its vision for the LI before making a decision on grocery stores there.
The chapter rewrite is forecast to take five months. Horowitz said the council's Dec. 6 public hearing on the zoning amendment will still be held, but not to take public comment or come closer to a vote. The council and mayor will merely express their opinions of this latest turn.
"Mr. Howard made a business decision based on sound judgment, and I support this outcome," Hall stated in the press release. "I also support taking a fresh look at the LI zone and its uses."
The city's LI zone already allows coin-operated laundries, daycare facilities, gyms and other uses traditionally not seen in LI areas.
Trevon Milliard: email@example.com