Photo by Tal Roberts

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

Inform. Celebrate. Involve.
December 15, 2016
In This Issue
A Message From Mayor Nina Jonas: Celebrating the Year

Ketchum has many reasons to celebrate this year. The qualities we treasure are receiving more and more national attention, and projects are underway to make our community an even better place to live.
Main Street was named one of the "Great Places in America" by the American Planning Association. Ketchum achieved more recognition for its collaboration with the Sun Valley Center on the Craters of the Moon sculpture exhibit. Two sculptures, created in a project co-sponsored by the National Park Service and the National Endowment for the Arts, now have permanent homes in Little Park and on the Wood River Trail.
Visit Sun Valley continues to work with media throughout the country to celebrate the valley's year-round attractions and festivals.
Ketchum arts programs, including the sculpture in Art on Fourth and Art in City Hall, have been expanded to include a bus shelter on Saddle Road. The Ketchum Arts Commission contracted for a second artist's "wrap" on a ski gondola as part of the Cover Art program.
The annual Wagon Days Celebration on Labor Day weekend once again brought thousands of people to Ketchum. An after-parade concert, with stands by local vendors downtown, was a successful addition this year.
The Limelight Hotel is set to open this month, introducing even more visitors to Ketchum.
More than 50 new businesses have opened in Ketchum, testimony to the economic stability and sustainability of the city. My Buy Local campaign for the holidays reminds people of the importance of supporting local businesses, and that tax dollars generated from those sales fund community services.

I also have taken major steps toward environmental sustainability. Solar panels on the Ore Wagon Museum and the adjacent electric vehicle charging station showcase the feasibility of solar energy. Energy efficiency upgrades are underway at the Atkinson Park Recreation Center and already have been completed at the wastewater treatment plan. Much of this work has been paid for with grants from outside agencies, resulting in over $100,000 in energy savings and incentives this year. In addition, the WaterSmart application and monthly water bills help Ketchum residents keep better track of their water use.These city projects are designed to be a model for the community in conserving resources, as well as to lower the city's costs.
Ketchum is leading the way for other Idaho cities with its ban on the use of cell phones while driving. The city is working with neighboring jurisdictions to preserve dark skies so that all can enjoy the beauty of the stars. Ketchum Innovation Center has a new home, and the city has collaborated with one of its tenants, Solu, to tell Ketchum's story.
Preserving and upgrading Ketchum's infrastructure is a key responsibility of the city. We have begun exploring ways to build new essential services facilities, particularly important for fire, police and emergency communications services.
The city obtained almost $75,000 in grants for sidewalks, streetlights, more accessible trails to the river and transportation planning. The city worked with the Idaho Transportation Department to create wider shoulders on Highway 75 and with ITD and the Community School to add bus shelters. New tennis courts are in place and will be open this spring at Atkinson Park.
It is, of course, people who make all of this happen. I am particularly proud of Sandy Cady, who retired after 42 years with the city. Public Works Director/City Engineer Robyn Mattison was recognized as one of 14 outstanding young professionals across the country by the industry publication Water and Wastewater Digest. The city has new faces as well as long-time team members in almost every department, all dedicated to making Ketchum a model city.
Thank you for your support of all these goals. I would like to hear from you as the city works to preserve the authenticity and viability of Ketchum for years to come. It is an honor to serve you.
Happy holidays!

Stay involved. Included here are links to the Monday, Dec. 19, Council agenda and Council meeting information. The City Council will consider extending the approval of the development agreement for Warm Springs Ranch, tentatively agreed to earlier this month, and parking regulations at its meeting Monday at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall. See the parking article below in this newsletter.

It is the responsibility of the city to inform the public and gain public input. Please provide the city with your opinion and comments by attending Monday's meeting beginning at 5:30 p.m. in Ketchum City Hall, 480 East Ave., N., or sending an email to
The City Council Monday will discuss strategies on the management of public parking in Ketchum. This discussion relates to proposed zoning ordinance changes in parking requirements for private development projects.

They include extending the two-hour parking restrictions from 6 until 8 p.m. in some areas, implementing paid parking on KURA and city lots at First Street and Washington Avenue and at Second Street and Washington Avenue, and considering changes to winter overnight parking restrictions. Staff will request authorization to put the changes into effect within the next six months.

Over the last seven months, the city of Ketchum Planning & Zoning Commission and the community have been working together on proposed changes that will address parking requirements for private development projects while meeting the goals of the city:
  • Encourage mixed use projects in the community core that contain a balance of uses contributing towards a vibrant, active, year-round downtown;
  • Create incentives for development of smaller, more affordable market rate residential units;
  • Promote the reuse of existing buildings;
  • Provide incentives to encourage retention, expansion and development of commercial uses that contribute towards a vibrant, successful and busy downtown during the day and night;
  • Encourage the use of alternative modes of transportation to reduce traffic congestion, reduce the demand for parking and enhance the pedestrian and bicycle opportunities;
  • Encourage the production of on-site community housing.
As Ketchum moves towards reducing private parking obligations, parking demand will shift from private responsibility to public responsibility. This could significantly impact the availability of public parking and accelerate the need for off-street public parking facilities.

The city's 1,918 pubic parking spaces in the community core should be adequate if the demand is distributed throughout the core. However, a survey conducted in both the shoulder season and peak December weeks shows that utilization is at 90 percent in some areas and approaching 100 percent in others. The opening of the Limelight Hotel and proposed nextStage Theatre reconstruction will increase parking demand in that area, and demand is expected to exceed supply on a regular basis.

Core values listed in the 2014 Comprehensive Plan include a strong and diverse economy, a vibrant downtown, a variety of housing options, and a well-connected community. The city's zoning ordinance is the main tool for implementing policy and ensuring the goals are realized.
  Click here to view the staff report, which contains detail on the proposed changes, analyses of the recommendations and management strategies. The city values your input. If you have a comment and cannot attend the meeting, email

Matthew (Mattie) Mead, founder of the green building company Hempitecture, has been appointed to the Ketchum Planning & Zoning Commission for a three-year term beginning this month.

Mead is a life-loving builder and entrepreneur with a passion for cultivating an ecologically conscious relationship between the built environment and the natural world. Mead, a New Jersey native, found this passion while studying Architecture and Environmental Studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY, where he channeled his efforts into working with sustainable building methods.

Mead's background in building performance and energy efficiency analysis was furthered in New York City where he worked on the Win-Win Campaign. Through this campaign, Mead helped small businesses gain compliance with newly enacted energy efficiency laws through energy analysis audits, ultimately helping small business owners save money on utilities. For Mead, this initiative was foundational to the understanding that building performance and energy efficiency goals can be met no matter the size of the municipality. Prior to his work in New York, he lived in St. John, USVI, where he learned the premises of eco-construction.

In 2014, Mead relocated to Ketchum to participate in a collaborative design+build project. This design+build project served as the prototype for Mead's startup, Hempitecture. This building project brought to life the first public-use hemp building in the United States.

Following this project, he began working for Class Five Enterprises, a high-end structural framing subcontractor here in the Wood River Valley. "I knew that if I was going to be a part of a sustainable reconsideration of how we design, build, and live, I needed to understand construction inside and out, from the ground up."

"I believe Matthew will add an innovative eye to the planning and building process at the planning and zoning level," said Mayor Nina Jonas.

Since moving to Ketchum, Mead has furthered his knowledge base and experience in energy efficiency, sustainable building, and high-end residential construction.

"It is here where an appreciation and deepening respect for the natural world continues to grow amidst the mountains and blue skies," said Mead. "I came from the islands to the mountains and now, I'm home." 

register for 10th annual idaho pond hockey tournament
Registration is now open for the city of Ketchum's 10th Annual Idaho Pond Hockey Classic. The tournament is held at the Christina Potters Outdoor Ice Rink at Atkinson Park. Spectators are encouraged to watch more than 30 teams from five states compete.

The beginner and intermediate division starts Saturday, Jan. 14, at 9 a.m. and the advanced division, Sunday, Jan. 15, at 10 a.m. Food and beverages will be available throughout the competition.

Cost is $240 for each six-person team, and players must be at least 18. Only one person from each team is required to register.
Register online at For additional information, contact John Kearney at or 726-7820, ext. 100.
As welcome as our recent snowfalls are, please remember that the city has some additional winter regulations to handle winter storms.
  • Parking on city streets is prohibited between 2 and 7 a.m. to allow time for snow removal and winter maintenance.
  • Idling car engines for more than three minutes is prohibited on streets. (This applies all year.)
  • It is illegal to store snow plowed from private property on the street or right of way. Landscaping companies may apply for permits to store snow in the right of way temporarily until they are able to remove it to another location. 
  • Property owners are required to clear ice and snow from adjacent walkways or sidewalks the same day that snow falls or within the first six hours of daylight the following day.
  • Residents should expect snowplows to create berms at the road's edge and be aware that those berms may block driveways. It is residents' responsibility to remove snow berms from their driveways.
  • Please clear the snow from fire hydrants near your property, if you are able to do so. The fire department urges residents to "adopt a fire hydrant."
Click for more information on snow storage and general snow regulations. For questions about snowplowing operations, contact the streets division at 726-7831. For questions about sidewalk snow removal, policy enforcement and parking, contact the police department at 726-7819.
Fire Chief Mike Elle offers several winter safety reminders:
  • Battery-operated combined smoke/carbon monoxide detectors are available. They should be located near the ceiling on each story of a home as carbon monoxide is lighter than air.
  • Have fire extinguishers handy and know how to use them. Remember PASS: Pull the pin, Aim at the base of the fire, Squeeze handle, use a Sweeping motion to spray chemicals on the blaze.
  • Keep Christmas trees moist. Additional safety tips are here.
  • Avoid burning cardboard, wrapping paper and trees in fireplaces.
Looking for a holiday gift?  
Buy local by purchasing a Visit Sun Valley gift certificate, good at most stores in the Wood River Valley.  
Ketchum Seeks Artists for Annual Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition
The city invites sculptors to showcase their work in the Tenth Annual "Art on Fourth" outdoor exhibition. The selected artwork will be featured in the heart of downtown Ketchum along the Fourth Street Heritage Corridor from May through October. Selected artists will receive a $2,000 stipend and there is no fee to apply. The deadline for submissions is March 10. Applications are available on the city website.

Extreme Avalanche Conditions 
The combination of the lack of early season snow pack and today's storm, could produce extreme avalanche conditions. Visit the Sawtooth Avalanche Center website to maintain avalanche awareness.

Avoid Winter Tickets and Tows 
You can now be notified when motor vehicles parked on the streets and right-of-ways will be ticketed and towed for snow removal operations. Sign up for the Blaine County Emergency Alert System by visiting the Blaine County website. Complete the Community Notification Enrollment form and be sure to check the box for General Notifications. Choose to be alerted by email, text or phone to hear the message.

Dec. 27 Planning & Zoning Commission Meeting Cancelled 
The next Planning & Zoning Commission meeting will be held on Monday, Jan. 9.

Dispose of Yew Plants 
Blaine County reminds residents of the danger of the Yew plant to wildlife. All Yew shrubs and trees can be disposed of at the Ohio Gulch and Carey Waste Transfer Stations free of charge.   
Outdoor Ice Rink Opening Soon 
Keep an eye on the weather and the city's website for the highly anticipated opening of the Christina Potters Outdoor Ice Rink at Atkinson Park. The largest of its kind in the Pacific Northwest celebrates its 21st season. Use of the rink is free and loaner skates are available at the adjacent Recreation Center.
2016 Firefighter of the Year
Tom Bowman, Ketchum volunteer firefighter, has been honored as the city's Firefighter of the Year. Aside from a 2-year break and an 8-year stint as a County Commissioner, Bowman has served as a volunteer member of the fire department since 1984. He is both a firefighter and engineer. Sun Valley firefighter Hunter Storey was also honored. 
Twin Falls Students Point to Ketchum as Model
Students in Twin Falls are urging their city to use Ketchum's animal cruelty regulations as a model. Twin Falls' animal cruelty cases doubled this year. The students learned the fine was only $100, no matter how severe the crime or how many past convictions. After exploring Ketchum's laws and penalties, the students are urging their City Council to adopt a stricter animal cruelty law.
City Council 
Attend the next City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 19. City Council meetings are held on the first and third Monday 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 
Attend the next Planning and Zoning Commission meetings at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 9. P&Z meetings are held on the second and fourth Monday of each month 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 would like to express an opinion, please submit your comments via email to Your input and engagement is encouraged. All comments will be reviewed. 
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City of Ketchum