For the week of October 7 thru October 13, 1998  

Public fails to show

Lack of input stalls planning process

Express Staff Writer

Though a draft of the Ketchum Comprehensive Plan has been available for public review all summer, less than 10 people showed up at a planning and zoning commission special meeting Thursday to discuss potential changes to the plan.

The lack of participation distinguishes this comprehensive plan process from the last one, 15 years ago, according to local real estate agent Robert Renfro.

"Because of the difference in the process, I'm concerned about it," he said at the hearing. "We had some 52 meetings that lasted four hours with 50, 60, 70 people in the room. I have waited for debate. I want you to assure me that debate is going to come. I don't really have an opinion, because I'm not sure we have healthy debate."

The P&Z ultimately decided to schedule a series of two-hour meetings to dissect the comprehensive plan section by section, similar to the hour-long, lunch-time meetings held earlier this summer. This time, however, there will be something concrete about which people can comment.

Beginning Thursday, Oct. 22, the P&Z will meet every other Thursday at 5:30 p.m. to discuss aspects of the plan. The Oct. 22 meeting will address the plan’s recommendations for parking on Main Street, the pedestrian mall and the Fourth Street pedestrian corridor, including a proposed bike path.

"We can't have debate if the people aren't here," said P&Z member Susan Scovell.

Lee Nellis, consultant for the plan, added that it is now up to the citizens of Ketchum to make any further changes.

"My job is done for all practical purposes," Nellis said. "The ball is in the P&Z and the public's court. I think we have alternatives laid out for people in the areas of public controversy."

Copies of the comprehensive plan can be picked up at the planning office, upstairs at Ketchum City Hall.


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