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Friday, July 30, 2004


Ketchum moves to protect riparian areas

Express Staff Writer

The city of Ketchum is taking action to ensure its laws protecting sensitive riparian areas are clearly understood by developers.

Staff of the city Planning Department in June proposed changing the city’s zoning regulations to include new language that explicitly states "no development" is permitted in designated riparian areas, except in a few special cases.

The new language is intended to ensure developers understand that the city does not want private pathways, staircases or other types of development to encroach into designated 25-foot riparian-zone setbacks established by city code.

In bringing the proposed code amendment to the Planning and Zoning Commission Monday, July 26, Planning Director Harold Moniz said the action is a "quick fix" put forth in response to a recently approved project that included pathways through a designated riparian zone along Trail Creek.

Stefanie Webster, city planner, said the new language is needed because the existing regulations "have been the source of a lot of confusion."

Webster said the revised regulations would not automatically make existing encroachments into the riparian zone illegal.

Christopher Simms, executive director of Citizens for Smart Growth, said Ketchum should be diligent in protecting its riparian-setback zones, which are smaller than those designated by Hailey or Blaine County.

The city of Hailey mandates a 100-foot setback from waterways to protect riparian zones along the Big Wood River.

Commissioners voted unanimously to support the code amendment, with an understanding that the city will pursue a more complete rewrite of the regulations.

The zoning-code amendment must be approved by the City Council before it can be enacted.



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