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For the week of May 3 through May 9, 2000

On-site, off-site

Ketchum council asks developer to build affordable units on-site

Express Staff Writer

If affordable housing comes with the subdivision of what was formerly the Sun Valley RV Park south of Ketchum along the Big Wood River, it will have to be built on the site.

That was the message from the Ketchum City Council to developer Doug McPherson Monday night.

McPherson proposes to subdivide the south-Ketchum, riverside lot—approximately 6.4 acres—as a planned unit development (PUD). This allows him to ask for waivers to city ordinances.

In this case, the city would exchange increased density in the subdivision for affordable housing.

Under current zoning, McPherson could end up with six lots on the property. Under a PUD, he proposes 11. He’s proposing to subdivide the lots, not build on them.

There’s a hitch to McPherson’s plan, however.

He proposed Monday night to offer the city not actual affordable housing but $200,000 of "in-lieu" money that could be used to fund affordable housing elsewhere in the city.

The Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of the proposal on March 27, though it deleted one of the proposed lots. But it is questionable whether the city’s ordinance will allow acceptance of in-lieu funds.

Council members were dismayed to discover that the developer was asking for a waiver to the section of the PUD ordinance that requires affordable housing to be provided on-site.

"If the housing were provided on-site as the ordinance calls for, I’d have no problem," Councilman David Hutchinson said. "Don’t get me wrong. It’s been very well planned, but I don’t see how you can waive the entire reason we’re here."

Councilman Maurice Charlat agreed with Hutchinson. He said not providing housing on site while allowing increased density, in essence, creates a rezone of the property, which is not "in the spirit" the PUD ordinance was written.

Charlat, who has yet to vote on an affordable housing project as a councilman, said he’s "pleased and comfortable" with the proposal, other than the off-site affordable housing.

"Someplace on that piece of property…there’s a place for affordable housing," he told McPherson.

The council asked McPherson and his team of planners to return to the council on June 5 to present how subdivision of the land would work with on-site affordable housing.

If the proposed subdivision is satisfactory, the council would remand the proposal back to the planning and zoning commission to work on the affordable units.


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