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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 10 - 16, 2003


Ketchum P&Z
approves Pineridge

Warm Springs PUD includes
affordable housing

"If the developer hadn’t tried to maximize density for profit’s sake, in the guise of affordable housing, we wouldn’t have to be here discussing these points now."

RON SIEVERS, Four Seasons subdivision resident

Express Staff Writer

Trading greater-than-normal density for 13 affordable housing units, the Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday recommended approval of the proposed Pineridge development on Warm Springs Road.

Developer Thunder Spring-Wareham has applied to build a planned-unit-development, containing 19 market-rate units as well as the affordable ones, on the current site of the Heidelberg Inn. If approved by the City Council, the project will considerably boost Ketchum’s current inventory of 21 deed-restricted housing units.

However, that increase would come at the cost of disgruntled neighbors on both sides of the development. The project would place 32 units on a 1.93-acre parcel whose normal zoning would allow only 9 homes.

"If you approve this, when do you stop?" asked neighbor Ralph Vidal. "When does the density of too many people in one place become so much that you’ve ruined the character of the neighborhood?"

About a dozen neighbors spoke in opposition to the project as planned. Most stated they support construction of affordable housing on the site, but asked the P&Z to require changes before voting to recommend the project. Primarily, they suggested that the number of units be reduced and that a loop driveway around the perimeter of the site be set in from the property line, to create a green buffer between Pineridge and the Four Seasons subdivision to the east.

P&Z commissioners Rod Sievers and Harold Johnson are Four Seasons residents. Both recused themselves from voting on the application, and both spoke as private citizens in opposition to it.

"If the developer hadn’t tried to maximize density for profit’s sake, in the guise of affordable housing, we wouldn’t have to be here discussing these points now," Sievers said.

Pineridge architect Dale Bates pointed out that the loop drive allows the five three-story buildings to be clustered in the center of the lot, with walkways and open space, instead of a parking lot, between them.

"A central common area is a much nicer thing," agreed P&Z chairman Peter Ripsom.

Any change in the driveway’s location would also be complicated by a 30-foot-wide access easement owned by the Four Seasons residents along the east side of the lot. That would have to be vacated before buildings could encroach upon it.

Thunder Spring made changes to the project requested of it by the P&Z during its first public hearing Aug. 11. It reduced the height of the two eastern-most buildings from 32 feet to 28 feet, increased the width of planting buffers on the north and west sides, and reduced the number of parking spaces from 72 to 62, allowing for more landscaping.

"I don’t have the feeling that this developer is trying to shove something down anybody’s throat," said Blaine-Ketchum Housing Authority Director Dick Duncan. "I do think he’s responded constructively."

Even though Ketchum ordinance requires a developer to designate at least 30 percent of a project as deed-restricted to obtain a density waiver, the 13 affordable units at Pineridege make up 40 percent of the total.

The proposed affordable-housing units include four one-bedroom units, eight two-bedroom units and one three-bedroom unit. They would be interspersed among the development’s market-rate units. Sale of the units would be administered by the Blaine-Ketchum Housing Authority.

The Pineridge application is tentatively scheduled to go before the city council on Oct. 6.

Mike Pogue, who represented the Four Seasons residents on behalf of the Roark Law Firm on Monday night, said the firm has not yet formalized its next steps on the issue.



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