For the week of December 16 thru December 22, 1998  

Warm Springs parking is one step closer to reality

River Run parking may go underground

Express Staff Writer

Ongoing efforts by Warm Springs business owners to turn proposed Warm Springs day parking lots into reality brought them one step closer to success at Monday’s Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.

The commission voted unanimously to pass on to the city council proposed changes allowing parking as a conditional use of land in Ketchum’s tourist zone.

Four parcels are currently being considered as possible parking lots. Lots owned by the Sun Valley Club, the Sun Valley Ski and Education Foundation, Carl Curtis and Sun Valley Company could provide skiers with an additional 279 parking spots to complement the approximately 300 that already exist at Warm Springs.

Baird Gourlay, owner of Paul Kenny’s ski shop, presented evidence of the need for Warm Springs parking. Gourlay said he also spoke for other Warm Springs business owners, the Sun Valley/Sun Valley Chamber of Commerce, Sun Valley Company and the Sun Valley ski teams.

Gourlay said parking is key to the success of Warm Springs businesses.

"Its time to sink our teeth into this parking issue," he said. "We’d like to help the city manage the base of this major ski area."

Mike Murphy, manager of Sturtevant’s at Gray Hawk, pointed out that in recent years, available parking at the base area has dwindled.

"We would like to see, if at all possible, the lots converted for day parking," he said.

Ketchum planning administrator Lisa Majdiak said traffic on Warm Springs Road has been decreasing due to a shift of 100,000 skier days to River Run, making the possibility of a slight increase in Warm Springs traffic more feasible. And to avoid having unnecessary traffic traveling to closed lots, signs would be posted at the Park-and-Ride lot when the Warm Springs lots are full.

According to Sun Valley Company general manager Wally Huffman, the cost of parking in the day lots would be in the $5 range.

"Locals have a demand to ski at Warm Springs," he said. "Those who want to go there are willing to pay to park close by."

River Run parking

In the wake of early season weekend crowds on Bald Mountain, some locals have asserted that even River Run parking has become scarce.

In an interview, Huffman said that the Bald Mountain master plan cites 1,000 parking spaces at the east-facing base area. Mountain operations director Denzel Rowland said that the operative number could be as high as 1,700.

On Sunday, Huffman counted 730 cars in the River Run upper lot and 75 in the lower lot. He did say that the upper lot was nearly full. However, the upper River Run lot can be expanded by plowing another five acres toward the condos to the north of the lot, he said.

When faced with the eventual development of the 130 acres the River Run parking lot sits on, Huffman said that underground parking will eventually be installed.

Sun Valley Company will submit to Ketchum a letter of intent that specifies general uses for River Run development plans in the first quarter of 1999.

According to resort planner and planning consultant Bruce Erickson of, the application will request annexation of the base area by Ketchum and will provide complete enough information to permit city officials to judge conformance with its plans and visions. Specifications including heights, building forms, size of units and number of units will be included.

According to Idaho law, a parcel of land over five acres within a city’s area of impact may be annexed only upon application by the landowner.


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