Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Code prohibits URA lease

Do Ketchum city codes allow the Urban Renewal Agency to lease its publicly owned property known as the Ketchum Visitor Center to Starbucks? Ketchum's Municipal Code, Chapter 5.16 (Off-Site Vendors) specifically states: "It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in or conduct business in, on, over or upon a public way within the city, or employ any person to engage in or conduct any business in, on, over or upon a public way within the city."

This code includes a list of definitions to be used specifically for this chapter. "Public Way" means "all areas legally open to public use such as public streets, sidewalks, roadways, highways, parkways, alleys, parks, public right-of-ways, parking lots, as well as the interior and areas surrounding public buildings or other places owned in fee by the city of Ketchum, Idaho, or in, on or over which an easement exists in the name of or held by the city of Ketchum, Idaho, or which exists for the benefit and use of the public."

This code has been brought to the attention of the URA board in three consecutive meetings. It clearly brings into question whether or not they are working within the legal bounds of our city codes. No response or clarification from the board, its staff or attorney has been provided. And yet the URA board voted in favor of moving forward on the proposal from Starbucks.

Anne Corrock


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