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For the week of June 14 through June 20, 2000

P&Z gives Christiania thumbs up

Hour and a half debate leads
to approval

"This seems like a moveable feast of what’s acceptable. You are changing the levels of evaluation…It’s schizophrenia."

Tim Eagan, leasing agent

Express Staff Writer

After completion of three public hearings before the Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commission, construction of a large new Christiania commercial building appears imminent. It will replace the existing Christiania Lodge on Sun Valley Road.

The P&Z unanimously approved the proposed 51,570-square-foot, three-story, 40-foot-tall commercial building Monday night with a condition that developer Jack Bariteau return for further approval of a corner "tower" element that will be constructed on the Spruce Avenue and Sun Valley Road corner of the building.

Commissioners Rod Sievers and Baird Gourlay were not present.

The approval followed an hour-and-a-half debate on design and function elements of the building, during which commissioners said certain parts of the proposed building should be redesigned. The discussions visibly ruffled Bariteau, who said he thought he had taken the commission’s comments from the last meeting and incorporated them into his designs.

"There’s got to be some give. I’m dumbfounded," he told the commission. "This building is not less—it’s more."

Local residents at the meeting agreed with Bariteau.

"I get a sense of unreasonableness. No matter what they do, you don’t like it," Ketchum resident Mickey Garcia told the commissioners.

The building’s leasing agent Tim Eagan wasn’t happy either.

"This seems like a moveable feast of what’s acceptable," he said. "You are changing the levels of evaluation…It’s schizophrenia."

Commissioner Peter Ripsom said, however, that he thinks the commission has been consistent throughout the three meetings. What’s more, he said, the building is a high quality project. Particular issues simply needed to be worked out.

Among those particular issues, commissioner Susan Scovell said, she could not approve plans that channel underground parking through a Fourth Street entrance—though at meeting’s end, she did.

Underground parking entrances belong in the alleys, she said.

Bariteau and San Francisco-based architect John Davis contended that the entrance has to use Fourth Street in order to accommodate a loading bay for delivery trucks and a trash pickup in the alley.

"A full service alley can’t work with the parking access on the alley," Bariteau said.

The commissioners decided that the underground parking access was an issue that had been worked out at a prior meeting and elected not to vote based on that criterion.

Scovell also said she also had problems with the overall design of the building, which, Davis said, is meant to resemble but not replicate the adjacent Colonnade.

"I don’t think we want to go through with one whole block with the same texture," she said. "It just reads too monolithic, and I’d really just like that tower to go away."

The tower, the one element the commission decided not to approve Monday, was proposed as a 40-foot-tall stone structure that would be the building’s primary entrance.

Discussions on the tower will resume next Wednesday at noon at Ketchum City Hall.

The building will incorporate retail sales on the first floor, offices on the second floor and single family condominiums on the third floor.


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