Friday, February 28, 2014

Ketchum council approves comprehensive plan

Ratification comes after extensive feedback from residents

Express Staff Writer

    The Ketchum City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a new comprehensive plan that places more emphasis on affordable housing.
    The legally nonbinding plan will guide the city’s growth and development for the next decade.
    City Planning Manager Joyce Allgaier was the lead writer of the document and said there were many local residents who provided valuable input to the plan. She also praised the Planning and Zoning Commission for the hard work it put into the 75-page document.
    “The plan is the result of more than two years of study and public meetings attended by more than 750 people,” Allgaier said. “It notes that Ketchum residents ‘are willing to undertake local actions to reduce impact on the natural environment, promote long-term economic health and invest in social services and arts/cultural amenities.’”
    Since Mayor Nina Jonas had to leave shortly before the meeting’s conclusion to work at Rickshaw restaurant—which she co-owns—council President Michael David temporarily served as the city’s mayor for the first time as he presided until the plan was adopted.
    “This plan discusses the different levels of residential housing, while the old plan was more generalized,” Allgaier said. “One of the key changes is to encourage housing density that will allow us to have a greater variety of options with single family lots in the Warm Springs corridor.”
    The plan also has 10 core community values that describe the values of Ketchum citizens. Allgaier said she believes the three most important ones are a strong and diverse economy, community character and respect and protection of the environment.
    The document contains 12 chapters, including community vision and core values, a strong and diverse economy, community health and wellness, and future land use.
    During the Planning and Zoning Commission’s Jan. 13 meeting, in which its draft of the plan was approved for the City Council to review, commission Co-Chair Rich Fabiano said he would like to see the document be updated more often than every 10 years.
    “We’re going to make this a living document,” Fabiano said. “What we’ve been talking about is reviewing this every couple of years instead of totally throwing out the old one every 10 years. Instead of doing that, we’ll continually update it as needed.”
  Ketchum residents Ben Worst and Mickey Garcia along with Hulen Meadows resident Jima Rice all praised Allgaier for writing a much more succinct and appropriately worded document than the one previously approved.
   Two small amendments were made to the plan before it was ratified. One photo of a housing unit was removed because it did not match the “medium-density residential” caption it was placed under. The other was Councilwoman Anne Corrock’s suggestion that duplexes be added to the list of uses in the city’s low-density residential designation.

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