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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

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 November 6 - 12, 2002


McHanville rezone 
is risky

The prohibition on commercial development up and down State Highway 75 is at risk of destruction. The risk can be described in one word: McHanville.

The area near the new hospital and south of Ketchum is a planning cocklebur. The hodgepodge of rundown light industrial and commercial buildings do not conform to the area’s residential zoning. Yet, they’ve shown little sign of dying out in the nearly 30 years since the county’s first zoning ordinance was approved.

The county wants to get rid of this burr under its blanket by allowing development of affordable housing mixed with medical businesses. This is like trading one burr for another.

Ketchum’s Planning and Zoning Commission thinks the county should not allow any commercial uses there. It has a good point.

Zoning for commercial uses of any kind in McHanville could result in runaway commercial zoning down the highway. A strong argument for commercial zoning on other nearby properties could gain momentum.

This is why McHanville was zoned residential in the first place and why the county’s comprehensive plan calls for confining commercial development within city limits as does Ketchum.

The shabby area doesn’t look like a great spot for housing—but from several standpoints, it is.

Residential units exceed the number of commercial uses there—despite the proximity of the highway and the hospital. To date, the highway itself is not a deterrent to residential uses given the number of homes already located close to the highway.

The area is also prime for annexation to Ketchum with its water, sewer, bus, police and fire services.

County residents should not sit this one out lest they risk waking up one day and find themselves living in Los Angeles north. The county should proceed cautiously and heed Ketchum’s concerns.

The county shouldn’t let the cocklebur of today grow into the briar patch of tomorrow—strip malls from Hailey to Ketchum.


In an editorial endorsement last week, it was stated that state Sen. Clint Stennett "was one of handful to vote against the ill-advised tax cut that harmed schools." The piece should have stated that Stennett "was one of a handful to vote against funding cuts for education." Stennett did vote for the tax cut. The Express regrets the error.



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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.