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City of Ketchum
P.O. Box 2315
480 East Avenue N.
Ketchum, Idaho 83340
"Small Town, Big Life"

February 1, 2016
In This Issue
A Message From Mayor Nina Jonas: Why We Need to Place City Hall Bond on Ballot Now

The need for a new city hall, police station and fire station (essential services facilities) has been discussed for decades with the first study performed in 2001.  Fifteen years later, the city has a new study and a new price. What once was estimated to cost $13.8 million, is now $23.1 million. The longer we wait, the worse the conditions will become, the greater the need and the more it will cost.

It is time to ask voters if they are willing to fund these essential services facilities by putting a bond measure before them on a ballot.
 
City Hall currently houses administration, communications, emergency operations center, and police and fire departments. The building is deteriorating, is not up to code, is not compliant with the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and is undersized for current city activities, let alone for the future. The city moved into the former car dealership in 1979 after a remodel. Within today's code and homeland security requirements, City Hall would not be able to legally move into the building it occupies today. Times and needs have changed.
 
Fifteen years ago the city recognized the need for new essential services facilities and performed multiple studies but never went all the way. The first cost estimate in 2003 was $13.8 million; in 2016 it is $23.1 million. The cost estimate increases quickly and at this 4 percent escalation per year, the increase is now approximately $1 million per year and compounding.  
 
Still recognizing the need for new essential services facilities, Council approved a contract April 18 to hire a professional firm, ZGA Architects, to perform an updated space study. The Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency provided funding for the study. ZGA's task was to determine the necessary size and configuration for new essential services facilities for today and into the next 50 to 75 years. ZGA also was tasked to determine a not-to-exceed cost estimate of such facilities. To acquire a not-to-exceed number, construction on two city-owned properties (one on the corner of Fifth Street and East Avenue - where City Hall currently stands - and another on Lewis Street next to a car wash) was assumed for the calculations. There are no absolutes, but assumptions had to be made in order to calculate a cost estimate.
 
Now that the city has a not-to-exceed cost estimate and before we spend any more public money - whether in the form of staff time, meetings or more analysis - we need to place a general obligation bond request on the ballot for the public to vote on. With a ballot deadline, the city can begin a detailed outreach program to the public, provide tours of the building to view the actual conditions and provide enough information so that they can vote with confidence. If a general obligation bond were approved, it is estimated to take about three years to plan, locate, design, bid, construct and move into new facilities. However, the city first needs to have the certainty of funding to begin the bulk of the planning work.
 
New essential services facilities has been a priority for this Council for the past two years. The longer we wait, the more we risk having the building condemned and having to make hasty, emergency executive decisions without time to fully consult the public. I hope the City Council members will join me in taking the lead on this issue at the Feb. 16 Council meeting and vote to place the measure on the 2016 May ballot. We have an urgent situation. We need to move sooner than later to conserve resources and to include the public in building a plan.

It's an honor to serve you. 


ASK NINA
"I support mail delivery service in Ketchum. Please pressure our postal officials to be innovative, to consider the environment, and remember the mission of the USPS before saying "no" one more time to home delivery.
 
Our air quality would benefit if we had one vehicle delivering mail in the Warm Springs area, for example, rather than requiring all residents to drive to the post office to pick up mail.
 
Also, in some areas, residents receive free post office boxes if the USPS declines to provide door-to-door delivery. I wonder what would happen if those of us who prefer home delivery asked for a free post office box? The box rate for a small Ketchum box has risen from $42 last year to $44 this year."
 
Thank you for asking this question. This is a good opportunity to let our readers know that if the community wants home mail delivery, they need to get involved.
 
The city has no jurisdiction with regard to postal service operations. Decisions about home mail delivery, are made regionally, not by our local postmaster. Following is a summary of information provided by  Ketchum Postmaster, John McDonald, and Margaret Putman, manager of operations and consumer affairs at the regional U.S. Postal Service offices in Utah.
  • In 1999/2000, home delivery was considered in the city of Ketchum. Public hearings and surveys were conducted and the community, along with the city of Ketchum, did not support home delivery.
  • The U.S. Postal Service would conduct a study to determine cost, allocation of costs, and timing. This analysis would take time to prepare and complete. Moving from post office box delivery to home delivery is rarely approved by the U.S. Postal Service due to cost factors and staffing.
  • Home delivery would primarily be provided at cluster boxes located in the right of way or on private property and spaced approximately 2-3 blocks apart. Some individual boxes may be installed, all boxes (cluster and individual) would be located within close proximity to the street.
  • The community would pay the cost for installation of the cluster boxes or individual boxes at the street.
  • If the city is interested in asking the U.S. Postal Service to consider home delivery, the city would need to submit a letter or petition identifying the community support and request the U.S. Postal Service to conduct a study.
Amanda Breen, Ketchum resident and attorney offered to lead a citizen committee. She asked if a councilmember would work with her and Councilor Michael David offered to assist. Please contact one of them if you are interested in helping conduct a petition indicating community support for a change in postal delivery..

Do you have a question for Mayor Nina Jonas? AskNina@ketchumidaho.org

Note: If you submit a question to "Ask Nina," your name may be published unless you request that it be withheld.

HOW PARKING REGULATIONS IMPACT DEVELOPMENT
By Micah Austin, director of planning and building, and Morgan Brim, senior planner 

Parking Current parking regulations in Ketchum encourage residential development while unintentionally discouraging retail and restaurant development in the community core. For Ketchum's downtown to remain vibrant and economically stable, parking requirements should incentivize the uses that are healthy for our downtown while still encouraging mixed-used development. 
 
In comparison to other resort communities, Ketchum requires a significant amount of parking for downtown retail, restaurant and commercial uses. Park City, for example, exempts existing and historic downtown buildings from its parking requirements. The northern Idaho city of Sandpoint eliminated parking requirements for all downtown development. Both communities encourage businesses to rely on public parking and alternative means of transportation to encourage the highest and best use of downtown land. Likewise, Salt Lake City does not allow new surface parking lots downtown. Many communities, including Park City, Sandpoint and Hailey, have adopted maximum parking requirements that limit the amount of parking that developers can build.
 
Parking management and regulations have significantly shifted over the years as we have changed from a vehicle-oriented society to one with an emphasis on multi-modal transportation. We now look at transit-oriented development, bike and pedestrian accommodations and an overall reduced reliance on the automobile. 
 
Parking regulations should be designed to accommodate the essential on-site parking needs of a project without imposing burdensome requirements that eat up available real estate and fail to serve their intended purpose. For decades, municipalities have utilized outdated standard demand metrics for assessing parking requirements for individual uses. These demand metrics are based on vehicle parking statistics that do not reflect Ketchum's values or the community's direction in the 2014 Comprehensive Plan. Current parking requirements, particularly in the community core zoning district, need to be updated to reflect the community's values and current social mobility demands. 
 
The city is working on rewriting parking regulations and has hired a land-use consultant, Diane Kushlan, to assist staff in this effort.  New parking regulations that reflect current community values, fulfill the 2014 Comprehensive Plan, promote economic development and encourage sustainability and healthy living can be expected by fiscal year end.

WHY KETCHUM NEEDS ITS LIGHT INDUSTRIAL DISTRICT
Applications for changes in the light industrial district will be discussed today, Feb. 1, at the City Council meeting.
 
The Community School wants to locate a dormitory in the area, and The Spot is seeking permission for "assembly uses," such as entertainment performances.
 
The light industrial districts are historically rooted in manufacturing, transportation and delivery of critical supplies for the local community and in connecting with greater markets through the Union Pacific Wood River Branch Line. While the train line has been long since removed, the light industrial districts have evolved to serve a fundamental role in employment growth, fueling economic development and providing affordable and convenient housing options for the city's workforce.

The city's 2014 Comprehensive Plan states the purpose of the light industrial districts, "to provide critical lands for Ketchum's economic growth and entrepreneurial opportunity within a vibrant business district where people can work and live in the same area." (2014 Comp Plan, Page 70)

Here is a list of interesting comparisons between the light industrial district and the entire city:
  • Land Mass - All City Zones                      2,073 acres
  • Land Mass - Light Industrial Zones              60.94 acres (2.94% of total)
  • Employees  - All City Zones                     4,010
  • Employees - Light Industrial Zone                734 (18.32% of total)
  • Businesses - All City Zones                      662
  • Businesses - Light Industrial Zone               122 (18.4% of total)
  • Parcels - All City Zones                            4,532
  • Parcels - Light Industrial Zone                     258 (5.5% of total)
  • Assessed Value - All City Zones                $2,916,840,844
  • Assessed Value - Light Industrial Zone         $97,815,841 (3.3% of total)
The importance of the light industrial districts becomes more evident when you consider these comparisons. This small area is functioning well, fulfills its intended purpose and provides a disproportionately large economic benefit to the city.

PLEASE HELP KEEP STREETS CLEAR AFTER SNOWSTORMS
By Robyn Mattison, Public Works Director/City Engineer
Please help keep our streets clear for emergency vehicles. We love snow but in heavy winters like we're having now, serious issues have developed.
 
Our roads are becoming too narrow for fire engines because people are shoveling snow from their property into the right of way alongside streets. In addition, large piles of snow stored at intersections and at the end of driveways limit visibility for drivers, causing unsafe conditions.

You can help the city by doing the following:
  • Avoid moving snow into the city right-of-way
  • Make sure that fire hydrants are clear of snow
City Council passed an ordinance in January that makes it illegal to move snow into the public right-of-way. The right-of-way is intended for public uses, such as transportation, parking, drainage and storage of snow plowed from the street. Private snow takes up room in the right-of-way, making it difficult for emergency vehicles to travel through narrowed streets and causing added expense to the city for snow removal. It can take as long as three weeks of clear weather to clear right of ways throughout the city.
 
City tax dollars pay for all of this. The cost to taxpayers is approximately $30,000 to widen residential streets that have narrowed due to the volume of snow in the right of way. The need to widen some roads could have been avoided if snow from private properties was not stored in the right of way. The city also must haul that snow to our off-site snow storage area -- again, a taxpayer expense. By prohibiting the storage of snow from private properties in the right of way, the city is preserving the right of way for public use and reducing taxpayer expenses caused by removing snow coming from private properties.
 
Starting this week, the city is enforcing penalties for moving snow into the right-of-way. Violators are subject to an infraction and a $150 fine.

BUSINESS NEWS
2015 Building Permits Total Almost $25 Million
The city issued 105 permits for projects with a total value of $51,976,007 in 2015, an increase of almost $18,000,000 over the preceding year. The largest permit was $31,750,000 for the Limelight Hotel. Permits for six homes valued at more than $1 million also were issued.

WHAT WE'RE READING ... AND WRITING
2014.07.17 Mayor Nina Jonas
Barbi Reed, owner, Anne Reed Gallery 
"The housing disparity and crunch on the working middle class is a huge problem for resort cities. I want Ketchum to be a resort community where year round residents can work, live and thrive - not where they work, drive and struggle. The city of Ketchum's single greatest mechanism for designing our future is through zoning. (Cities in other states have more authority over taxes and incentives.) The city is currently working on zoning requirements that affect the viability of the middle class to live and work here, such as allowed building density, housing size, parking requirements and home vacation rentals. We are working as fast as we can because the future comes quickly!" --Mayor Nina Jonas

Josh Solly, member, Ketchum Energy Advisory Committee

 
NEWS AT A GLANCE
Mayor Jonas on  KDPI Radio - "For A Cause"
Tune in to KDPI-FM 88.5 to hear from Mayor Nina Jonas. The half-hour program is held on Tuesdays following Council meetings from noon to 12:30 p.m. This week's show will be on Tuesday, Feb. 2 at noon. Listen live at 88.5 or at www.kdpifm.org.

Want to Know How Much Snow is in Ketchum?
City crews start plowing streets when snowfall measures three inches. You can now watch the measuring stake at the streets division via webcam. The three-inch mark is at the first white strip from bottom and goes up in three-inch increments.
  
Add It to Your Highlight Reel
See the latest promotional video from Visit Sun Valley.
 
All About Parking
The city has a new card, soon to be in brochure racks around town, showing parking lots and detailing parking regulations. 
 
New Technology Cuts Time to Read Water Meters
The water department can now read meters throughout the city in approximately four hours, thanks to a new vehicle-based reading system. It previously took about two-and-a-half days, according to Pat Cooley, utilities services supervisor.
 
City Council Chooses President, Appointees to Local Agencies
Jim Slanetz has been chosen as City Council president for 2016. The Council also made the following one-year appointments to various agencies.
Gourlay was reappointed to a two-year term and Slanetz, to a four-year term, on the Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency. Also appointed was Jae Hill, a Ketchum resident and community development director of the city of Sun Valley. His master's thesis was an inventory of development practices in mountain resort communities, specifically related to affordable housing and transportation.
 
Interested In Local Conservation?
Blaine County is seeking persons interested in serving on the Levy Advisory Board for the Land, Water and Wildlife Program. The board advises and recommends projects to Blaine County Commissioners. To apply, click here or contact Clare Swanger, program coordinator, at 309-0960 or c.swanger@me.com The application deadline for this two-year, voluntary position is Monday, Feb. 11. 
 
Nearly 200 Participants for Idaho Pond Hockey Classic
The Ninth Annual Idaho Pond Hockey Classic at Atkinson Park attracted nearly 200 participants and an equal number of spectators. Helping to make the event a success were donations from Atkinson's Market, Falls Brand independent meat company, Sun Valley Brewery, Sawtooth Brewery, graphic designer Karen Waters and Play Hard Give Back snacks.

Property Tax Reduction Filing Deadline
The deadline for filing property tax reduction applications with the county assessor's office is April 18.  Call 788-5535 for visit the State Tax Commission for more information. 
  
City Council to Consider New Uses in Light Industrial Area
Applications from the Community School and The Spot to operate in the city's light industrial area will go before the City Council at its meeting today, Feb. 1, at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall.
 
The Community School wants to locate a dormitory in the area, and The Spot is seeking permission for "assembly uses," such as entertainment performances.

Staff has recommended approval of the Community School request, contingent on the school's installing sidewalks and crosswalks and meeting several other requirements. It is recommending denial of The Spot's application, primarily because of the impact on parking and the difficulty of complying with the fire code.
 
Prior to the discussion, Council members will discuss the importance of the light industrial zone in a workshop led by Micah Austin, director of planning and building. (See earlier story.) If you cannot attend the meeting and would like to comment, email participate@ketchumidaho.org. Read the staff reports and presentation, LI Zones: Powerhouse of Ketchum Employment.  
 
MEETING INFORMATION
City Council 
Attend the next City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. today, Monday, Feb. 1. City Council meetings are held on the first and third Mondays of each month in Ketchum City Hall. Click here to see the agenda and staff reports or scan the QR code.

Planning and Zoning Commission 
Planning and Zoning Commission meetings are held on the second and fourth Mondays of each month. The next P&Z meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 8 in Ketchum City Hall. Click here for agendas and staff reports or scan the QR code.

Public Comment 
If you cannot attend the Council or P&Z meetings and have an opinion, please submit your comments via email to participate@ketchumidaho.org. Your input and engagement is encouraged. All comments will be reviewed. 
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City of Ketchum
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