The City of Ketchum is proposing temporary changes to its zoning code to address housing shortages and to address recent development trends that staff believe are moving the city in the wrong direction.
The resort’s comprehensive plan, which was drafted in 2014, calls for a “strong and diverse economy” and a “vibrant city centre,” lead planner Morgan Landers told city council on Monday.
“We want to have higher density near key areas, we want to have a mix of housing types, and the City of Ketchum will increase its housing supply over time to meet the needs of our community,” he said. she declared.
But, according to the city, recent market trends are moving it away from those ideals, with residential construction slowing and longer-term rentals becoming short-term rentals. Office, retail and restaurant space is also shrinking.
This spring, planning staff presented a similar proposal as an “emergency order”. This was a reaction to a significant number of downtown construction projects underway with fewer units in areas intended for higher density.
Council referred the proposal to the planning and zoning commission so that it could receive further public comment, and that council voted to approve a new ordinance in August.
During this week’s meeting, council passed the first reading of the interim order that would establish minimum residential densities in certain neighborhoods; make it more difficult to consolidate lots; prevent the loss of the number of housing units in redevelopment; granting exemptions to the number of parking spaces required; and giving the planning and zoning commission more power to assess building proposals against the plan’s overall vision.
Public feedback at a community forum this summer was largely positive about the changes, city staff said.
Some in the real estate business worry about what this will mean in practice.
“We just haven’t been able to look at this in terms of what this code is going to do to actually get things done,” said Tom Drougas of Sun Valley Real Estate.
Others believe that development projects should not be reviewed against the overall overall plan. Landers said this is happening in cities like McCall, Coeur d’Alene and Sandpoint.
The measure will soon be the subject of a new reading before the council.
Find journalist Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen
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