For the week of October 7 thru October 13, 1998  

Warm Springs project sparks Ketchum recall effort

Express Staff Writer

Three months after Jack Corrock initiated a short-lived recall effort of certain Ketchum City Council members, the former city councilman told the Idaho Mountain Express he again was initiating the process to remove from office the mayor and those council members who voted in favor of the 44-unit development on Warm Springs Road.

Corrock said the council had ample chance to listen to the people, but instead ignored repeated concerns about the project, including a 450-signature petition.

"We’re down to the end of the rope," Corrock said. "We attended the meetings. All we have left is litigation or recall."

Corrock said the recall effort will be undertaken by the same group of citizens that circulated the petition against the development. He said the recall petition currently is being printed and he hopes to file it with the city clerk by the end of the week.

The current recall effort will target council members who voted in favor of the development: Randy Hall, Dave Hutchinson and Sue Noel, as well as Mayor Guy Coles, who expressed his support for the project during the Sept. 21 city council meeting.

The council members targeted by the recall effort said recalling almost all of the council for one particular action was inappropriate, especially since there is an appeal process available.

"A recall calls into question the decision-making process of every issue," said Councilman Dave Hutchinson. "To leave the city with one person at the table shows there’s not a lot of concern for the other issues at the table."

Councilman Randy Hall expressed similar concern for the recall process.

"The recall, as I find it, is counterproductive," he said. "I’ve been here five months, and this is my second recall already. I just don’t get it."

Hall added in an interview that he feels the Warm Springs project was approved by the council only after members had given it due process.

Hutchinson also said the council had listened to extensive public input on the issue.

"It’s not like we were one vote over the majority," he said. "Five appointed officials, four elected officials and the mayor voted on this, and eight out of 10 supported it, not to mention the entire chamber of commerce and calls of support from elected officials of the county and the town of Sun Valley."

Hutchinson indicated that if what is causing the trouble is a fear that density developments will be waived on any vacant lot, then the council can fix that through a modification of the PUD ordinance.

Councilwoman Sue Noel repeated sentiments expressed during the last recall scare.

"I think it would be unfortunate if someone would be threatened with a recall for something they promised to do when they were elected," Noel said. "It’s a free country and any citizens have a right to mount a recall."

Mayor Guy Coles, who supported the project but did not vote on it, and Councilwoman Chris Potters, who voted against the project, expressed concern about the effects a recall can have on the community.

"Recalls seem to have a way of splitting the community," said Coles. "My position is still the health, safety and welfare of the community. I love this community, and I certainly wouldn’t do a thing to disrupt it."

Potters said the next city council election would be a more appropriate recourse for people who think they weren’t heard by the council.

"I would encourage people to approach the council for additional dialogue on what the planned unit development ordinance means," she said.

Corrock maintains that his recall effort targets more than the approval of the Fields at Warm Springs.

"The bottom line is that they changed the PUD ordinance. I don’t think you should recall anyone based on one issue," Corrock said, adding that his recall efforts three months ago did target the PUD.

"I’m sorry now I didn’t do it then," he said. "We could have stopped this development."

Corrock was part of a group of volunteers that petitioned for the successful recall of three out of four city council members in November 1992.

To recall the Ketchum City Council, each council member would have to be petitioned separately.

First, 427 signatures, or 20 percent of those who registered to vote in the November 1997, election would have to be collected.

Once those signatures were obtained and verified, the council member would have five days to resign. If he or she did not resign, a special election would be called, and residents would vote on whether an individual council member should be recalled. The number of votes in favor of recall would have to be equal or greater than the number of votes the council member received when elected.

Recall procedures are outlined in the Title 34, Chapter 17 of the Idaho Code.

Ketchum city clerk Sandy Cady said no special election to recall the council members could be held until the first Tuesday in February 1999.


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