City of Ketchum
P.O. Box 2315
480 East Avenue N.
Ketchum, Idaho 83340
"The Original Mountain Town"

February 12, 2015
In This Issue
A Message from Mayor Nina Jonas: Making Ready for Change

"There is just too much sage, daughter," said my father this morning as he returned from an attempt to skate ski out Lake Creek. One of my father's favorite spring activities is an early morning skate-ski across the firm snow crust that forms after an adequate thaw-and-freeze cycle. This typically happens in April or late March at the earliest, lasting a week, maybe two, before the snow melts too much and the sagebrush begins to create bumps that take away the perfect flat surface for skating. It's early February yet it already feels like early April.

Last weekend's precipitation left many locals shaking their heads at what should have been a big snowfall on the valley floor. Instead the snow level was around 7,500 feet. Unfortunately, this is not the first year we have seen a lack of cold temperatures bringing unseasonal rain in the middle of our Rocky Mountain winter. There is a hope that this change is temporary, or a drought, and not the calculated predictions of climate change.
As we experience these weather changes and read the scientific data supporting the reality of climate change, we must do what we can to adapt and prepare. The city of Ketchum is preparing for climate change by developing a strategy for water conservation, planning an energy strategy to reduce our carbon footprint while producing local jobs and rate security into the future, establishing sound green building codes for development, encouraging new tourism opportunities in mountain biking, wildlife viewing, music and cultural events and new sporting events unrelated to snow, and supporting local food production. We also are partnering with several local entities to educate residents on the impacts of climate change to our economy and culture.
On March 6, the city of Ketchum will join with the Wood River Land Trust, University of Idaho Extension, the city of Hailey and the Big Wood Canal Company as sponsors of the Climate and Water Conservation Seminar. The keynote presentation will be the results of a two-and-half-year climate study on the upper and lower Big Wood watershed. John Stevenson, a climatologist with the Climate Impact Research Consortium at Oregon State University, will discuss predicted changes to water supply, temperature and snow pack from Galena to the Snake River. The study includes modeling and the impacts associated with land management based on tourism, population growth or agriculture.

Having worked with the climate consortium on this study since 2012, I am eager to have these modeling tools to further support the policy work the council and I are doing on water and energy conservation and our planning for sustainable growth opportunities in a new environment.


After input from the motorized recreation community, Idaho Rep. Simpson amended SNRA+ on Monday reducing the total mass of "wilderness" proposed by 22,195 acres. Major changes include the following: 

  • Remove 111 "wilderness" acres traditionally used by snowmobilers near Pole Creek Road and the Grand Prize Gulch trailhead. 
  • Swap 19,847 "wilderness" acres out of the North Fork of the Big Lost River area currently used by snowmobiles in exchange for 17,062 new "wilderness" acres in the North Fork of the Big Wood River area. 
  • Remove 19,299 acres that are currently open to heli-ski operations under a special use permit.

In summary, the current SNRA+ proposes to protect 273,765 acres to "wilderness" and convert 177,198 acres of existing recommended wilderness (Forest Service, USDA) and wilderness study (BLM, DOI) areas to multiple use. Click here to view map. In comparison, the Boulder-White-Clouds Monument proposes to protect 591,805 acres under the monument and convert none of the current recommended wilderness (Forest Service, USDA) and wilderness study (BLM, DOI) areas to multiple use.


At the same time Idaho Rep. Labrador, Idaho Sen. Crapo and Idaho Sen. Risch have independently and/or together offered amendments to the Antiquities Act to remove presidential authority and require legislative approval this session.



Does the city have a dog poop ordinance?     

--Suzanne Frick, new Warm Springs' resident 

Yes! One is supposed to pick up after their pet and dispose of it properly. And the fine to not do so is $100, yikes!

The city of Ketchum and the Environmental Resource Center generously offer poop bags and trash stations all over the community. However, there is still poop left on the ground, which makes some highly trafficked areas very gross.This is not only a problem on our public trails, but also on the private properties graciously left open to public access such as the Warm Springs Ranch and Sun Valley and River Run areas.

Please show your respect to your community by picking up after your pet. This show of respect will also help ensure that private spaces remain open for public access.

From one pet owner to another, thank you in advance. 


Do you have a question for Mayor Nina Jonas?

Note: If you submit a question to "Ask Nina," your name may be published unless you request that it be withheld.
Google Steve Broback, co-founder of the Dent the Future Conference to be held here March 22-25, and you'll get more than 22,000 results. A self-described former Sun Valley "ski bum," he is better known as founder of the Parnassus Group, producer of world-class events that bring together leaders in social media, technology and entertainment. 

The annual gathering of 150 people that began in 2013 already is getting rave reviews. Social media guru Shel Israel wrote in Forbes magazine, "The combination of people and events converged in such a way that new thoughts and relationships were shaped so easily, so often and so enjoyably.


"The people who participate at Dent get to have a lot of high-quality shared experience and a real opportunity to build the kind of relationships that help you put a dent in the universe. I haven't missed a year yet, and I won't in the future, either," said Robert Scoble, known for the blog Scobleizer that came to prominence during his tenure at Microsoft. Scoble also is an adviser to the conference.


We asked Broback to tell us about his relationship with Ketchum.


Q. Why did you select our community?

A. We and our board members spent a lot of time deciding between an urban location or a more remote, retreat-style locale. It became clear that in order to best foster community, it would be ideal to be in a more remote locale, preferably one with some natural beauty. My co-founder, Jason Preston, and I were very familiar with the Ketchum/Sun Valley area, and knew our target audience would enjoy it as well.


Q. What is your history in the area and why do you like it?

A. I am primarily a Seattle area resident, but have had a second home in Ketchum on Bird Drive since 2007. I first came to the area in the 1960s as a kid by train. In 1980 I took one quarter off from my studies at the University of Washington to be a ski bum. I lived at the Parkside Apartments, then known as the "Blue Tops." Nine years later my wife and I got engaged in the Duchin Room.


There are few places in the world where one can feel at home yet also on vacation at the same time. The Ketchum area has always been able to provide a feeling. Our only problem is that we are not here enough. I absolutely love the fact that almost anywhere you want to go is only five minutes away, and that you can park at pretty much any destination without orbiting the block 50 times and paying 20 bucks. I tell my friends that for me, urban amenities hosted in a rural environment is the definition of "the good life," and that is what Ketchum provides.   


Q. What do you see as the most important outcome of the conference?

A. We have several goals. One is for each attendee to leave the conference feeling energized and empowered to go out and make their "dent in the universe," as Steve Jobs once said. We also hope that attendees forge lasting relationships with fellow conference-goers.


Another important goal is to drive visibility to Ketchum, and to move the needle in terms of tourism as well as residency and business-building. We very much want to support these local businesses that work so hard to provide us all with a great experience.    


It's also critical that our partners such as Buick, the Ketchum Innovation Center, Leeo, McBroom & Associates, SCOTTeVEST and the Sun Valley Air Club get a chance to interact and engage with our audience. And of course, it's critical that the entity known as "Dent" becomes financially viable via attendee and sponsorship revenues.  

Q. Why is the Internet so important to towns like Ketchum?

A. I could go on all day about this one, but the first thing that comes to mind is the ability for businesses and people to relocate here and still feel like they are engaged in the world outside. The ability to communicate, direct and manage various affairs from a remote location makes places like Ketchum all the more attractive.     


Another technological platform that is essential to economic growth here (and elsewhere) is the mobile app space. We are seeing some very cool technologies being created and propagated from Ketchum. Just a couple days ago I had a great meeting with Ketchum resident Mark Gilbreath, who is the CEO and founder of VC-funded LiquidSpace. This is a very cool mobile app and ecosystem within the "sharing economy."


Q. Is it open to local residents?

While our little gathering is touted as being "invite only," we are very welcoming and encourage people to request an invitation. That can be easily done by visiting our website. Please mention that you are "local" in the space for notes. We very much want to see Blaine County residents participate, and we offer a 50 percent discount to full-time residents. It should also be noted that every year the conference has been held, we've had at least one "local" on stage talking about the work they do.


Q. Who 's coming?

A. This year's confirmed speakers and attendees include Redfin's Chief Economist Nela Richardson, Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist David Horsey, Vox Media founder Markos Moulitsas, Lean Startup co-founder Sarah Milstein, Intellectual Ventures Chief Technologist Greg Kisor, and former Photoshop Chief Architect Mark Hamburg. I bet you can't tell who's speaking and who's attending without checking the site.



By Micah Austin, planning and building director for the City of Ketchum 


Ketchum is now charging developers a flat, in-lieu housing fee of $196 per square foot. This allows them to pay an in-lieu fee instead of adding community housing to proposed projects in the community core.


Ketchum allows developers to build denser projects if they include community units, which can be sold or rented only to people who cannot afford market-rate housing. The in-lieu housing fee offers developers a choice of providing the housing or paying the fee. For some small projects, the amount of housing calculated is so minimal that payment of an in-lieu fee instead is required.


In-lieu fees previously were based on market and real estate conditions when a building or planning application was submitted, making it challenging for developers to calculate their costs in advance.


The new fee was developed in collaboration with the Blaine County Housing Authority. It is based on the market-rate price of a median-priced 1,248 square-foot Ketchum unit, the median price of similar community housing, the difference between the two and a 10 percent administrative fee.  


Click here to view the calculation methodology and an example and here to view more information in the staff report. 



By Mick Mummert, lead utilities operator, Ketchum Public Works Department


The city of Ketchum recently installed new turbo air compressors at the wastewater treatment facility to replace aging centrifugal blowers. The new turbo blowers are more energy efficient. They are bringing energy and cost savings of more than 40 percent to the city and Sun Valley Water and Sewer District's wastewater treatment plant.


In December alone, the treatment plant used 100,745 fewer kilowatt hours than in the same month a year earlier. Total cost savings over the past year have been $13,452.25.


The blower replacement project also came in under budget. The utilities department was able to install the blowers with assistance from a local construction company The actual cost of $359,000 was more than 25 percent below the initial estimate of $489,000 in 2012. A rebate from Idaho Power is expected for $52,617, making the shared final cost to the city and the Sun Valley Water and Sewer District $306,383.



Unattended motor vehicle. 
No person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle shall permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine, locking the ignition, removing the key from the ignition, effectively setting the parking brake and, when standing upon any grade, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway. The fine is $67.00. 


Idaho is in the middle of a solar power boom, creating new jobs, producing clean energy, growing local tax bases and replacing dirty energy such as coal power plants.


The Public Utility Regulatory Act of 1978 (PURPA) is intended to promote alternative energy resources. It requires regulated utilities to buy energy from qualifying renewable generation projects at rates aimed to be the same as the utility would pay to generate the power or buy it from somewhere else. Today, this regulation is addressing the impact of climate change by developing more low-carbon energy sources.


Until early February, the Idaho Public Utility Commission (PUC), had a rule that alternative energy developers could sign a 20-year contract to sell their power to Idaho utilities. These long-term contracts enable renewable projects to get financing. Now, Idaho Power is asking the PUC to reduce the length of future solar contracts to two years. The Idaho Conservation League says this new rule would "effectively stop future solar energy projects." The PUC will consider this issue in four weeks.


If you are interested in this topic and want to express your opinion to the PUC, the docket number is IPC-E-15-01 and the address is:


By mail: Idaho Public Utilities Commission, P.O. Box 83720, Boise ID, 83720

By fax: (208) 334-3762



parents - SHOW UP!

Tell the Blaine County School District what you think about its proposed new strategic plan at Hemingway Elementary School on Tuesday, Feb. 24, from 6-7:30 p.m. An online survey also is available through Feb. 15. Your input is needed! 


The city of Ketchum thanks the following donors for contributions to city projects during the first quarter of the city's fiscal year. 
Ketchum Arts Commission Trust Fund: Dave and Trish Wilson and Wilson Construction, Inc., $6,000 for the Art Car on the gondola line; Hardiman Family Foundation, $1,250; Claudia McCain, $100  
Ketch'em Alive concerts: Jane Conner, $1,000  
Jazz in the Park concerts: Jane Conner, $1,000, and L&H Foundation, $500  
Youth Recreation Trust Fund: Leroy's Ice Cream, $700   
Guy Coles Skate Park Trust Fund: Board Bin, $2,300; Desperados, Inc., $100; plus other donations from Barrett and Carey Molter, Karen Waters and Lamar Waters  
Memorials Trust Fund: Janice Morgan Memorial, $2,058
Christina Potters Ice Rink Zamboni Trust Fund: Anonymous donation
Greenhouse Roof Project: Marjorie Traub, $2,000
Donations to the city are tax-deductible. If you are interested in contributing to city projects, please contact the City Clerk at (208) 726-3841.

Best Place for Real Estate Investment 
Ketchum and two other Idaho cities made the cut as one of the best ski towns for investing.

Business After Hours Feb. 25

The next BAH will be at the Knob Hill Inn on Wednesday, Feb. 25 from 5-6 p.m. For more information, call Gary Hoffman at 725-5522 or email 



Local Option Tax Collected for  

       December 2014 Sales 


2014.07.17 Mayor Nina Jonas 
Joyce Burford, executive director, Colorado Association of Ski Towns  Wendy Jaquet, retired state representative, Idaho Legislature, and former Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber of Commerce executive director
Sarah Michael, retired Blaine County Commissioner

City Council to Meet Tuesday

The next City Council meeting will be Tuesday, rather than Monday, because of the Presidents Day holiday. The agenda for the 5:30 p.m. meeting will include a discussion of possible "black-out" dates for special events. Other items on the agenda include city infrastructure priorities and the proposed Blaine County Road and Bridge Levy.

The Planning and Zoning Commission will review revised elevations in the design of the Limelight Hotel, planned for Main Street, on Feb. 23 at 5:30 p.m.


Want to Serve on Planning & Zoning Commission? 
Ketchum is accepting applications through Feb. 28 for an upcoming vacancy on the Planning & Zoning Commission. The current term ends on April 13. Click here to read qualifications and additional information.

Gallery Walk Set for Feb. 13

Visit local art galleries at the Sun Valley Gallery Association "gallery walk" on Friday, Feb. 13, from 5-8 p.m. 


Ski Hall of Fame to Induct Three on Feb. 13

The Sun Valley Ski Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be Feb. 13 at The Community Library from 5-6 p.m. This year's inductees are Jack Simpson, Sigi Engl and Muffy Davis.


Family of Women Film Festival

The Family of Women Film Festival starts Feb. 23.


SVED Board Members Sought

Sun Valley Economic Development, a 501c6 non-profit, is seeking to fill vacant positions on its volunteer board of directors. Participation in monthly board meetings, educational forums and committee work is expected.  See for information about SVED. Interested persons should contact Carter Ramsay at 

City Council 
Attend the next City Council meeting, to be held at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 17, due to the Presidents Day holiday. 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. 23 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 Your input and engagement is encouraged. All comments will be reviewed. 
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