Wednesday, June 18, 2014

City settles three-year design review confusion

Property owner, city to work together on sidewalk project

Express Staff Writer

    An 86-foot-long curved sidewalk along Sixth Street and Second Avenue in Ketchum should be completed by August now that the city has resolved a dispute with business owner John Kanellitsas over a 2011 design review decision.
    Commercial-use buildings in the Community Core zone are required to build sidewalks, curbs and gutters when renovations and additions exceed $20,000. But Kanellitsas’ design review application in 2010 for his business at 180 W. Sixth St. reached an impasse with the city because the city arborist at the time wanted him to save a Siberian elm tree in the sidewalk’s path. He said a city employee granted him the building permit despite his having not built the sidewalk yet. He then completed the renovation.
    He said he resumed talks with the city when Planning Manager Joyce Allgaier was hired in 2012 until he reversed course and sent Allgaier a letter in early October 2013 claiming that he shouldn’t have to finance the entire sidewalk.
    Kanellitsas reached out to the city administration in May and worked with administrators, including Mayor Nina Jonas, to reach an agreement.
    In return for Kanellitsas’ cooperation, the city is providing some services toward his project. The city will assist by chipping and hauling two trees, hauling existing fill and providing some right-of-way infrastructure for the sidewalk, Allgaier said.
    “These are not usual and customary services provided by the city, but we felt we could bring something to the table because of the circumstances,” she said.
    The project was proposed by the public works, parks and planning staff and approved by the mayor April 21 via email, Allgaier said.

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