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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of November 12 - 18, 2003


Ketchum hotel
to diversify

Knob Hill Inn gets approval
to add timeshares, spa

Express Staff Writer

Ketchum Planning and Zoning commissioners Monday, Nov. 10, unanimously approved the design of a proposed addition to the Knob Hill Inn, the luxury hotel located at 960 Main St.

In a 5-0 vote, the panel endorsed a plan to add to the existing inn six timeshare units and a full-service spa facility. The project would expand the floor area of the hotel and restaurant operation by approximately 25,000 square feet.

No members of the public spoke against or in favor of the proposed addition on Monday. At two earlier meetings, Brian Barsotti—the Ketchum developer who on Sept. 2 gained city approval of the proposed 80-room Bald Mountain Lodge—contended that the proposed addition and its fractional-ownership units might not comply with the city’s Tourist-district zoning regulations.

However, city staff on Monday said the project would indeed comply with the intent of the city’s regulations for hotel development. City Attorney Margaret Simms noted that the city’s definition of what composes a "hotel" should be clarified, but said ambiguities in the definition "clearly" should not hinder the proposed project.

After the votes were cast Monday, inn owner Joe Koenig appeared visibly relieved that the project was permitted without significant delay. "Thank you," he said, smiling.

The proposed addition to the Knob Hill Inn includes plans to demolish an existing garage and swimming pool immediately south of the existing hotel to make room for six new fractional-ownership condominiums, a new swimming pool and a new spa facility. The planned addition is designed to closely match the existing 26-room hotel, which has approximately 32,000 square feet of developed space.

The proposed structure would at its highest point reach a height of 35 feet, the maximum allowed on the Tourist-zoned property.

The review of the proposed plans Monday marked the third time the P&Z had considered the project. Commissioners first reviewed the application in September, before asking Koenig and project architect Richard Meyer to return on Oct. 27 with a more detailed set of plans. The P&Z was unable to vote on the project at the October meeting because project representatives had submitted their plans too late for city staff to thoroughly review the material.

Koenig told commissioners in September that he wants to build the timeshare units and spa to cater to a growing number of discriminating travelers who demand luxury accommodations and services.

As is, the Knob Hill Inn is the only hotel in the region that belongs to the prestigious "Relais & Chateaux" association of luxury hotels and restaurants, based in Europe.


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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.