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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of May 8 - 14, 2002


Council regroups following housing assistance rejection

Express Staff Writer

The Ketchum City Council started regrouping Monday night following last week’s state rejection of an application for help building affordable housing in downtown Ketchum at the town center site.

Council members agreed the city should rest on its laurels and learn from the process it went through, rather than appeal the rejection handed down by the Idaho Housing and Finance Association.

In a three-page report dated April 26, the association denied the Blaine County Housing Authority’s application for about $1 million in low-interest home loans and $1.7 million in tax credits because the project failed to meet economic feasibility requirements.

"We’ll have a better project because of what we went through," Mayor Ed Simon said, referring to the half dozen packed public hearings on the town center proposal.

Councilman Baird Gourlay pointed out that the state agency may not be aware of the prohibitive land values in the Wood River Valley, particularly in Ketchum and Sun Valley compared with southern Blaine County and other parts of Idaho.

In fact, the denial report, apparently referring to Balmoral apartments in Hailey, said another project "has been completed at significantly lower per unit and per square foot costs, as well as with substantially lower per unit subsidy."

Former Ketchum Mayor Jerry Seiffert reiterated that the state’s rejection wasn’t unexpected.

"We’ve got to tell them the differences between Ketchum and Rupert," he said.

On Monday, Gourlay and Councilman Maurice Charlat will attend a Housing and Finance Association meeting to attempt to learn more specifically why Ketchum was denied.

"If we bring another project in front of them, we want to make sure we have everything lined up as best we can," Gourlay said. "Basically, we’re just trying to figure out how the process goes and bring them up to speed on living in Kethcum, Sun Valley and northern Blaine County."

Charlat added that the city should begin master planning all of its land to accommodate a variety of needs, including parking, housing and city expansion.

"We need to take a look at every piece of property the city owns," he said.

Gourlay added that the city has got to continue building momentum for housing.

"I know I’ve got three and a half years left, and I’d like to see us go somewhere positive, not just spinning our wheels," he said.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.