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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of September 3 - 9, 2003


Council approves Bald Mountain Lodge

After 15 city meetings,
80-room hotel gets nod

Express Staff Writer

Ketchum City Council members this week unanimously approved the proposed 80-room Bald Mountain Lodge, a hotel planned for 151 Main St. that could become central Ketchum’s largest building.

Developer Brian Barsotii expressed relief and pleasure Tuesday morning after the Ketchum City Council unanimously approved his application to build a luxury hotel on Main Street. Express photo by David N. Seelig

Bringing a subdued close to a lengthy and sometimes controversial application review, the panel on Tuesday, Sept. 2 voted 3-0 to approve developer Brian Barsotti’s application to build a three-story, 47-foot-high luxury hotel near the southern entrance to the city.

The vote on Council President Randy Hall’s motion to approve the project came with little fanfare or discussion. Councilman Baird Gourlay—who recused himself from review of the hotel application because of a potential conflict of interest—did not vote on the project.

With a quick smile, Barsotti expressed relief that the hotel proposal had finally gained city approval. The proposed project was heavily scrutinized—and often praised—during 15 public meetings that spanned more than a year.

City approval of the conditional use permit for the hotel project came with three waivers to the city’s Community Core zoning ordinance. One key waiver allows the building to reach 47 feet in selected areas, 7 feet over the CC district’s 40-foot height limit.

The City Council on Tuesday imposed nine detailed conditions of approval for the proposed 84,650-square-foot hotel, including:

·  A requirement that Barsotti provide five employee housing units within the city limits or an in-lieu fee of $70,000 per unit ($350,000 as a substitute for all five units).

·  A requirement that the owners maintain a minimum of 61 rooms in the building as traditional hotel rooms. If the building ceases to operate as a hotel, the owners would be required to convert approximately 6,770 square feet of space to community housing and reduce the overall building height to 40 feet.

·  A requirement that the developer eliminate from his plans a proposed 59-foot clock tower.

·  A requirement that the developer gain city approval of a "development agreement" that will govern construction on the property.

The development—which would cover an entire city block at the site of the existing Bald Mountain Lodge motor inn—is proposed to include a 3,800 square-foot conference room, 1,000 square-foot board room, an underground parking garage and a fitness center. The development is also planned to include approximately 10,000 square feet of public open space on the ground floor.

Guest rooms are expected to be offered at a cost of approximately $225 per night.

Barsotti said Tuesday he does not plan to operate any part of the hotel as fractional-ownership units but would reserve the right to use 19 of the rooms for such a purpose.

Barsotti said he is working with a consultant in the hotel industry who might operate the business if financing is acquired and the building is eventually constructed. He said his associate already operates luxury hotels such as the Mauna Lani, on the island of Hawaii, and The Phonecian, in the Phoenix, Ariz., region.

The proposal considered by the City Council Tuesday was a scaled-down version of a hotel plan that the panel remanded back to the Planning and Zoning Commission earlier this year. The P&Z in July voted unanimously to recommend that the City Council approve the revised hotel design.



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