Wednesday, October 9, 2013

City leaders out of touch with comp plan

    Having served on Blaine County’s Planning and Zoning Commission as a participant in the research and development of the county’s first comprehensive land-use plan, I know that a comprehensive plan is an open-ended guide that evolves and responds to changing conditions. It is always subject to interpretation as ordinances are rewritten and new ones advanced.  It is not “law” in and of itself.
    That is why I worry about Ketchum’s proposed comprehensive plan. As our city fathers have aggressively pursued economic development and growth to bring more people and dollars to the city, I feel that they “have lost touch with their community,” as Anne Corrock, candidate for City Council in the upcoming election, has posited.  I believe that people who live, work and play in Ketchum feel rightfully short-changed by the lack of an essential balance between “economic development” and resident/pedestrian infrastructure priorities.
    Special real estate interests continue to dominate Ketchum’s politics. The proposed Ketchum Comprehensive Plan intends a “small town character” for the city but there is a contradiction between that goal, stated in the existing plan as well, and the city’s historical actions.  For example, allowing building heights that exceed 35 feet threatens the views from smaller homes, pedestrians and visitors in downtown; safety problems related to the lack of parking are getting worse; there is a lack of sidewalks and street lights throughout the downtown core; and finally, and nixing a bus terminal smack in the center of the core.
Mary Jane Conger


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