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Ketchum hammers out housing priorities

Express Staff Writer

Ketchum is finalizing a list of short-term priorities for its affordable housing program that include searching for additional funding, participating in a county-wide housing effort and implementing development impact fees to offset housing demand generated by new construction.

The Ketchum Housing Commission made a number of recommendations to the Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commission Monday night. The recommendations were derived from the city’s new comprehensive plan, which was adopted last spring.

Blaine County and Ketchum Housing Director Gates Kellett presented the housing commission’s recommendations to the P&Z, which did not vote on the list but expressed approval for it:

·  The housing commission proposed that Ketchum appoint a representative to sit on a Blaine County Housing Authority Advisory Board, which will seat representatives from each municipality in Blaine County. The advisory board’s mission will be to create a county-wide housing plan that will address target numbers of units, target areas for development and proposed methods for producing housing.

·  Kellett said Ketchum officials should look for alternative sources of money by amending the city’s planned unit development ordinance to allow in-lieu payments to meet affordable housing requirements "in certain cases."

She also said Ketchum should create a "housing impact fee" as part of the permit fee structure for every new development inside the city’s limits. As an example, such an impact fee would be designed to offset housing demand created by construction and maintenance of large homes or commercial buildings.

The impact fee "would be a big step in creating new funding for the Blaine County Housing Authority to create housing," according to the housing commission.

·  The housing commission also proposed that Ketchum hire a consultant who is specialized in reviewing and making recommendations on how to make ordinances work more efficiently to create community housing.

"The product of the consultant’s work would be a list of recommended changes and additions to the ordinances, as well as, perhaps, a recommendation for implementation of a ‘housing impact fee,’ " according to the housing commission.

·  The housing commission also recommended placing emphasis on the proposed Town Center Project, which could glean 15 affordable rental units in downtown Ketchum. The housing commission also asked that its continued use as a recommending body be raised on the city’s priority list.


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