Friday, October 19, 2012

Blaine County gives land to Ketchum

City says county ownership was an ‘oversight’

Express Staff Writer

This map shows four parcels of land, located within Ketchum city limits, whose ownership transfer from Blaine County to Ketchum was recently accepted by the city. Parcel 1 includes two lots. Express graphic by Kristen Kaiser

The Ketchum City Council on Monday unanimously approved an ownership transfer from Blaine County of four parcels of land located within the city’s limits. The county dedicated the properties to the city free of charge.

The transfer was agreed to by the county as a “previously overlooked housekeeping matter,” said Lisa Horowitz, Ketchum’s director of economic and community development, in an interview Thursday. “The county commissioners agreed the transfer is in the public interest. They also determined it was in the public interest for the county not to seek compensation, as the assessor has determined the properties have no monetary value.”

Three of the four parcels accommodate sections of city streets along Warm Springs Road, including parts of Jane Lane, Sage Road, Simpson Drive and Shady Lane. The fourth and largest parcel—west of downtown Ketchum just before the confluence of the Big Wood River and Warm Springs Creek—includes slightly under 10 acres of Big Wood River riparian corridor land.

“It’s a cleanup thing for the county,” Horowitz said. “They want to get rid of parcels that could be better maintained by other jurisdictions. It was an oversight that it didn’t happen until now. It makes more sense to the county for Ketchum to own this land.”

Horowitz said the advantage to Ketchum is that the city will now be able to maintain the transferred street sections and riparian corridor parcel directly, without having to “go through” the county.

“Ketchum would prefer to own the streets it maintains,” she said. “[The ownership transfer] is a very practical intergovernmental solution.”

Horowitz also said the city’s Parks and Recreation Department is always looking to connect “missing links” in Ketchum’s city limits. The ownership transfer of the four parcels helps accomplish that goal. Additionally, the county’s dedication of the riparian corridor parcel to the city will help provide better access for fishermen to the Big Wood River.

“We’re not going to develop any of the four parcels or change their current usage,” Horowitz said.

Brennan Rego:

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