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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.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of Aug 28 - Sept 3, 2002


Tall hotel gets 
favorable reviews

Express Staff Writer

If a downtown Ketchum hotel’s design is ultimately going to be accepted by public officials and local citizens, Ketchum Attorney Brian Barsotti may be on the right track.

The Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commission Monday told Barsotti his preliminary plans to build a nearly 60-foot-tall, 81-room, high-end hotel at the Bald Mountain Lodge site could work. The difficult part, they said, will be selling the height.

A new hotel at Ketchum’s Bald Mountain Lodge site would be considerably higher than the city’s 40-foot height limit. However, the hotel would step back from city streets, particularly Main Street, and may actually impact views less than a shorter building built at similar densities. The Ketchum P&Z Monday gave this concept a thumbs up. Architect’s rendering courtesy of Bald Mountain Lodge.

During the pre-application design review hearing, in which the P&Z and developers exchange ideas, P&Z commissioners said the concepts presented Monday were the most palatable of the three plans Barsotti had presented this summer.

Commissioners said the proposed architecture and general design are tasteful. A proposed fourth floor, which is located over the building’s center, would barely be detectable from adjacent street corners.

Nonetheless, it is almost 20 feet higher than the city’s 40-foot building height for sloped-roof structures and would require city council approval as a planned unit development. A PUD enables city officials to trade leniency in zoning regulations for community benefits.

At Thunder Spring, for example, the city traded building height for open space, employee housing and recreation benefits. In this case, the city would trade building height for hotel rooms.

In a previous version of his proposal, Barsotti did not propose a fourth floor. That meant, however, that the building burgeoned at its edges, imposing large facades on Main Street. In fact, renderings Barsotti provided Monday indicated that the taller building may actually impact view corridors less.

While the more recent version maintains the size of the earlier proposal, it trims rooms from the building’s edges and places them in the fourth floor.

Commissioners said they like the proposal, and said they think the height could be a fair trade to help obtain more hotel rooms in downtown Ketchum. Still, the height will be a very difficult sell, they noted.

"Every part of the height is going to come under attack," said Commissioner Rod Sievers. "I’m going to go on the record in favor of the height, because I think that’s the trade-off to help revitalize the downtown."

Ketchum architect Derek Ryan said the design was top notch. He added that when the proposal goes before the city council, renderings and models will be absolutely necessary to show citizens the reality of how the taller building impacts Main Street less than if it were shorter and built at a similar density.

Acting Planning Administrator Harold Moniz said the next step in the process will be for Barsotti to apply for design review and for a PUD. Those processes, he said, "go hand in hand."

The earliest the project could be before the city council or P&Z would be late September or October, he said.



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