Lauren Edson, LED Performer (see story below)                                                            Photo by: Steve Smith Photography

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

August 14, 2015
In This Issue
A Message from Mayor Nina Jonas: The Light Industrial Zone Is Working

The Union Pacific Railroad's Wood River branch of the Oregon Short Line was completed in 1884 connecting Ketchum to Shoshone via rail. The branch ended at what is now the YMCA; this was the end of the line where silver and sheep were loaded for distant markets. The historic landing of commerce at the end of the rail line led to the natural development of a business depot area. This pick-up and drop-off area stayed in use and was formalized in 1961 when the Village of Ketchum established the area as the Limited Manufacturing Zone allowing for a wide range of manufacturing. Then in 1965 the City of Ketchum established the zone as the Industrial District allowing for heavy industrial activity, junkyards and reduction plants. In 1970 the zone was substantially changed to the Light Industrial district (LI) excluding automobile wrecking yards, junkyards, rendering plants and other heavy industrial uses.
Amendments have been made to the Light Industrial zone over the years but with the intent to maintain the zone's primary use as industrial. A 1979 amendment added a requirement for design review for projects in the LI. In 1984 the Light Industrial zone underwent three major changes: The zone was split into three districts (LI-1, LI-2, LI-3), housing for security personnel with a maximum unit size of 600 square feet was allowed, and restaurants with a maximum size of 1,000 square feet were allowed. The 1999 amendment modified allowances for deed-restricted housing in the LI-3 district and added an allowance for owner-occupied housing, though not on the ground floor. In 2007 the LI-2 zone was modified to allow laundry-mats. And most recently in 2014 food establishments are allowed to operate after 9:00 p.m. in the LI-2 district with a conditional use permit.  
The purpose of the Light Industrial zone is to have an area within the city that allows for "nuisance" type activities associated with industrial work. Such nuisances may include excessive noise, odors, dust and truck traffic that are not compatible with stand-alone residential, retail or office uses. We benefit from these uses on a daily basis when we do our laundry, wash our cars or get gas. But more important than the daily conveniences are the significant employers located in the light industrial such as landscaping and construction companies, food and beverage wholesalers, research and development firms, communication and technology services, recreation outfitters and sporting manufacturers. Most of these businesses require a location that allows for some level of nuisance with affordable rent and land.
Restricting residential, retail and office uses in the Light Industrial zone has allowed key employers and businesses to remain within Ketchum. Compared to residential or office property values, the LI zone remains one of the most affordable areas for burgeoning businesses. Over the past 20 years we have seen the price of real estate escalate in Ketchum, especially within the residential markets. Maintaining use restrictions within the LI zone is crucial to the long-term viability of those existing businesses and for providing incubator space for future start-ups.
The city already fields complaints about dust, noise and heavy traffic from the few residential and retail units that currently exist in the Light Industrial zone. If industrial businesses have nowhere to operate due to nuisance complaints and escalating prices, Ketchum will continue to lose conveniences and numerous year-round jobs. Zoning is established to protect the future. We should be careful to avoid expanded and incompatible uses of the Light Industrial zone that could jeopardize the long-term potential for creating jobs.


I own a business on River Street and have attended the City Hall meetings regarding the Limelight Hotel development. I have several questions. I am excited about the new hotel and they have been wonderful during the process. I hope this will be taken as concern for access and safety rather than criticism. 
  1. We were told that River Street would stay open in both directions. Now there is a sign on Main Street showing no left turn, essentially turning it into a one-way road going east. Has River been closed to west-bound traffic off of Main Street?
  2. There are "sidewalk closed" signs on each side of Washington Avenue where it borders Forest Service Park. There is no obvious reason for the sidewalk closure and people are ignoring the signs. Why are they there?
  3. People are also still parking on Washington where it borders the park and it is hazardous at night to turn from First Street onto Washington. It is not possible to see around the construction fencing, and this is extremely dangerous. 
  4. The legs of the stop sign at the intersection of Washington and 1st extend almost halfway into the roadway. In order to avoid them, it is necessary to drive around the legs and into the lane of oncoming traffic. Is it possible to mount the stop sign on the fence instead of on a stand in the road itself?
Thank you for bringing these safety concerns to our attention. The "No Left Turn" sign was not approved by the city and has been removed. The "Sidewalk Closed" sign on the west side of Washington Avenue was placed by a utility contractor while installing conduit to the Forest Service Park. The work was not quite finished when I received your email but has been monitored and the signs were removed when the work was complete. The street division has painted over the lines denoting diagonal parking on Washington Avenue and has added more signage. The construction superintendent planned to mount the stop sign on the fence as you suggested. We have increased enforcement efforts in all of these areas.

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.

Thinking of bringing a business to Ketchum? Discover our advantages in this video, a project of the Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency. Please share with your friend elsewhere.

The Wood River Trail, colloquially known as the "bike path," is not only an important part of our history but one of our most treasured recreational assets. In fact, more people use the trail in summer than ski in winter.
We want to keep the trail as "the community's shining star," as it was described by the Blaine County Recreation District. As part of this effort, the city of Ketchum is starting an education program on sharing the trail.
The trail was once the right of way for the Union Pacific Railroad, the company that developed the Sun Valley Resort after the collapse of the mining industry the railroad once served. The railroad closed the line in 1982, and the Blaine County Recreation District and other local leaders began the effort to turn it into a paved, non-motorized pathway for all.
It was one of the earliest such projects in the country, even predating the 1986 formation of the national Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. Today, more than 21,000 miles of rail right-of-way have been converted to trails across the country.
The 32 miles of the Wood River Trail are maintained year-round as a pathway for cross-country skiers in the winter and as a route for bicyclists, dog-walkers, baby-stroller pushers and hikers the rest of the year. It's accessible to wheelchair users and open to horseback riders as well.
A 2012 survey of trails from Galena Pass in the north to Croy Canyon in the south showed approximately 725,000 trail user days from April through November, compared to a total of 460,000 snow-sport days for both Alpine and Nordic sports combined. Approximately 46 percent of the users were local. Of the trail users, 79 percent were bicyclists. Demographic information also showed that 52 percent of the trail users were between 40 and 60 years old and 52 percent were male.
In light of this history and the high use, it is sad to hear about conflicts between bicyclists and pedestrians and complaints about ill-mannered dogs running loose.
Some of the rules are clearly stated:
  • Control your dog or keep on a leash.
  • Dog walkers shall pick up poop. Pack it in, pack it out!  Keep the trails clean.
  • Bicyclists should yield to vehicles when crossing roads, as well as yield to pedestrians and equestrians.
  • Bicyclists should give advance warning before passing, using a bell or voice warning.

The speed limit in Ketchum for bicyclists is 15 miles per hour. How fast is that? The average speed of a squirrel is 12 miles per hour, a human sprinter runs 20 miles per hour, and a reasonably fit rider, on a racing bicycle, can travel 25 miles per hour. If you ride from Milepost 3 by the YMCA in Ketchum to Milepost 14 in downtown Hailey in an hour, you are averaging 11 miles per hour.


Over the next few days, you will see the Ketchum Police Department's speed-monitoring equipment alongside the trail. The goal is to educate bicyclists on exactly how fast they are traveling.
Meanwhile, please obey the rules, SMILE AND SHARE THE TRAIL! Reconstruction of the entire trail will be completed this year, and we all want to enjoy it.

Would you like a multi-use path on the east side of Highway 75 from Saddle Road to the Ketchum Cemetery? The city has been discussing this with the Idaho Transportation Department, and we'd like to hear from our citizens. ITD has expressed concern over snow storage and its ability to reach utilities in the right of way if they construct an asphalt path. If you would like a path in this location, please click on the link to sign a petition in support of it.
Water allocation and management in Idaho is governed by a doctrine of "prior appropriation" and "beneficial use". Under this system, a water right is created and maintained by appropriating a volume or flow of water and applying it to beneficial use. Beneficial uses include, among others: irrigation, domestic, municipal, stockwater, recreation, aesthetic, and power. Water rights are administered such that the oldest or senior water rights-those first appropriated-hold priority over younger or junior water rights and are satisfied first. This is often referred to as "First in time, first in right." A water right is considered a "usufructory" right-or a right to use the water; the water itself is owned by the people of Idaho. If the water right goes unused for a continuous period of five years, it can be forfeited. This "use it or lose it" clause, while protective of property rights, is a hindrance to water conservation.
A water right is defined by seven elements: Source, Priority Date, Amount, Period of Use, Purpose of Use, Point of Diversion, and Place of Use. Water rights apply to both surface and ground water. Simply defined, the water found on the surface of the earth, like water in the river or lake, is known as surface water. The water that is trapped under the earth's surface is the ground water. Ground water is normally used in households for drinking and cooking. The surface water may also be used for household activities but has many other uses such as agriculture and generating electricity. The surface water also recharges the underground water with rainwater, melting snow and glaciers.
In 1994, the Idaho Legislature adopted Conjunctive Management Rules which dictate that surface and groundwater rights be administered simultaneously. Prior to enactment of these rules, the state administered surface and groundwater rights separately. It is only now, however, after completion of the Snake River Basin Adjudication-a 27-year process by which the state reviewed all water right claims within the Snake River Basin-that the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) is beginning the process of enforcing the Conjunctive Management Rules. What this means for the Wood River Basin, the City of Ketchum, and individual water rights holders is unclear. In general, surface water irrigation rights date back as far as 1880, and the majority of groundwater rights in this basin came after 1940. Groundwater rights, in general, are junior to the oldest surface water irrigation rights. The City is in the process of evaluating how it will manage its water supply in the face of conjunctive management, and what tools will be used to do so.
This past February, senior surface water users from the southern part of the Big and Little Wood watersheds (south of Picabo Hills) filed a request with IDWR for administration of their water rights, claiming they were not receiving their full allocation of water as a result of groundwater use in the Wood River Valley. The City, along with other groundwater users are working to respond to the call.

The Ore Wagon Museum will host an open house, with artist Howard Lacina signing copies of this year's Wagon Days poster, on Wednesday, Aug. 26, from 5-7 p.m.
The Ore Wagon Museum becomes Wagon Days headquarters each year, with information on the Labor Day Weekend events, reserved seating for the Big Hitch Parade and souvenirs. This year there will be a collection of the posters from past years and a gingerbread depiction of the parade's finale, the historic "Big Hitch" ore wagons pulled by a 20-mule team jerk line.
Lacina's poster is a detailed portrayal of the ore wagons, which will be on display at the museum. Copies of the poster will be available for $25, with proceeds going to support the Wagon Days celebration
Born in 1930 in Berwyn, Illinois, Lacina worked illustrating boxes for the plastic model hobby kits that were popular in the 60s and 70s. His talent with water color, gouache, acrylic, airbrush and even hand-lettering was put into good use for renderings of planes, ships, cars and military vehicles. His work can be found on hundreds of vintage model boxes.
After retiring in the late '90s, he began painting still lifes, portraits, lighthouses and landscapes. He and his wife, Marlene, moved from Chicago to Hailey two years ago to be closer to their daughter, Judy.
The city-owned Ore Wagon Museum is located at East Avenue and Fourth Street. It will have extended hours for Wagon Days, opening from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Aug. 24th to Sept. 7th. Admission is free.

By Aimee Christensen, chair, Ketchum Energy Advisory Committee
" Climate Change is not a problem for another generation. Not anymore." - The White House, August 3, 2015
On Aug. 3 the White House announced President Obama's latest - and most ambitious - initiative to address global climate change: the Clean Power Plan. At its most basic, the plan sets standards to reduce 2005 national carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent by 2030. The health benefits include preventing up to 3,600 premature deaths and 90,000 asthma attacks in children. Economic benefits include preventing 300,000 missed workdays and schooldays, 30 percent more renewable energy generation and tens of thousands of jobs, cost savings of $85 a year on the average household's energy bills in 2030, and overall savings of $155 billion from 2020-2030.
As chair of the Ketchum Energy Advisory Committee, my job is to ask what this means for Ketchum. Overall this is very good news for our community. The Clean Power Plan will not only help address climate change, which threatens us with fires, drought, erratic snowfall and warmer rivers, but it also presents an economic opportunity for our state and our valley. We can tap into our renewable energy assets to produce energy that is affordable, creates jobs and protects our quality of life.
As Ken Miller of the Snake River Alliance pointed out in last week's Idaho Mountain Express, Idaho is not far away from compliance with its Clean Power Plan targets. This means that there is little price risk, rather the plan enables Idaho to tap its renewable energy asset to sell power to other states with tougher targets. Currently, Idaho spends $350 million per year on coal-powered electricity from out-of-state power plants. Yet Idaho has the same amount of solar potential as north Florida, and only 10 percent less solar potential than Texas and significant untapped wind potential. According to a recent report from DBL Investors, solar employment in the United States is "up 86 percent since 2010, with 210,000 employees expected in 2015. Since 2010 the solar work-force has grown nationally from 93,502 workers to 173,807 workers in 2014 - an 86 percent increase during that period. Over 2014 alone the solar workforce grew almost 10 times the average national job growth rate."
Idaho's state leadership is tasked to write the state plan for meeting its targets. This is the chance for Idaho - and our community - to attract these solar jobs, generate income for Idaho farmers and other landowners, and increase our state and local tax base. The Wood River Valley can be part of that economic opportunity. Farmers here can be paid up to twice as much for solar production on their land as they earn from current crop and other uses, potentially reducing pressure on an already stressed water system, and business and homeowners can save money on their power bills.
As we work to build a stronger Ketchum and a stronger Idaho, our leadership has the chance to capitalize on the industries of our future and benefit not only Idaho ratepayers and landowners, but all of us.

A dog left in a hot car was rescued by Ketchum police officers from a 140-degree interior.
On an 85-degree day, police responded to a call where a dog appeared to be doing fine in a vehicle with a temperature reading of approximately 100 degrees. After a few minutes, the officer noticed the dog lay down and stop panting. By that time, the temperature had risen to 140 degrees! The officer entered the vehicle, which had both the sunroof and windows open, removed the pet from the car and brought it to the station to wait more comfortably. It was about 1/2 hour before the very grateful owner picked up the dog from the police department.

Ketchum City Council passed Ordinance 1136 on July 6 authorizing police to remove unattended animals in vehicles in dangerous conditions.
Please remember the following to keep your pets safe:
  • Dogs can die from heatstroke in a car in as little as 20 minutes, even with the windows down!
  • Heat exhaustion is common in dogs and if panting does not reduce the body temperature, the dog will develop heat stroke. Overweight and older dogs have even more difficulty with the heat.
  • Even on cloudy days, with outside temperatures of 70 degrees, temperatures inside can quickly reach 115 degrees. Leaving the car windows open or putting a bowl of water inside does not keep your pet safe.
A workshop with Mountain Rides will begin Ketchum's new, proactive approach to funding outside agencies. City Council members and Mountain Rides executives will discuss local bus service at the Council meeting on Monday, Aug. 17, at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall. An independent professional also will participate in the dialogue.

We've asked you to speak up and the following is what we've heard. If your concern is not listed, please attend the meeting or send an email to

  • "Night Owl" service
  • Airport express service
  • Post office stop
  • Town jitney (Is there a way to modify the current routes to include a loop around town, creating a jitney within the given routes?)
  • More frequency on Warm Springs route. Comments: More consistent, year-round, 30-minute service would increase ridership, encourage locals to take advantage of restaurant "slack specials" and have a safe way to get home, and also keep commuters from seeking alternative ways to get to work. One comment: "I know of people who stopped using the bus during slack and then got out of the habit and quit using it completely!"
  • Ketchum - Hailey night service
  • Bus to connect River Run and Warm Springs ski base areas, possibly as part of the jitney service
  • Consider school schedules to make it more viable for students to ride the bus and reduce the number of vehicles driving children to school
  • A valley-wide student bus plan and the tweaking of school start and finish times to maximize student transportation
  • Continuous loop around Ketchum and Sun Valley with more frequent headways instead of different routes that require transfers
  • Additional bike racks on buses
  • Better maintenance around bus stops
Capital/Public Information
  • Bus shelters with real time GPS information indicating bus arrivals and location
  • Bus stops with a solar light to alert bus drivers when someone is waiting at bus. Illumination so schedules can be read at night.
  • Relocation of bus stops so they are more visible and better placed on city of right of way
  • Phone app for schedules
  • A more "user friendly" bus schedule.  Comment: "Hard to read what bus is running and when.  Confusion, especially on night schedule when one bus stops service."
  • Comment: Could Ketchum Energy Advisory Committee install solar panels on available bus shelters to facilitate tech panels, customer recharge stations and maybe heated seats?
July Visitors Set Record
July brought a record number of visitors, with an 86 percent occupancy rate in lodging and a 14 percent increase in room nights sold over July of 2014. The number of room nights sold has been higher than the previous year every month of 2015, according to Visit Sun Valley.

Keep Up with Limelight Construction Plans
A "sidewalk" meeting to update neighbors and others on the Limelight Hotel construction process will be Friday, Aug. 14, at noon. Please meet at the Washington Avenue entry gate across from Forest Service Park. (Be aware that parking is not available on Washington Avenue.)

City Council to Review Budget and Fees for Permits, Applications
The City Council will hold a special meeting on Monday, Aug. 24, at 5:30 p.m. to review the FY2015/16 budget and consider fees for planning and zoning applications, building permits, park reservations and public works applications.

Next P&Z Meeting to be Held Tuesday, Aug. 25 
Please note that the next Planning and Zoning Commission will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 25, in Ketchum City Hall. The meeting has been moved from Monday. 
Filing Period Opens for 2 City Council Seats
The filing period for the November election for two City Council seats opens Monday, Aug. 24, with Declaration of Candidacy available at City Hall, 480 East Ave. N., Monday - Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Filing deadline is Friday, Sept. 4, at 5 p.m. The terms of Council Members Michael David and Jim Slanetz expire at the end of the year.

Local Businesses Eligible for Disaster Loans
Blaine County businesses affected by the drought are eligible to apply for disaster loans of up to $2 million. For more information, contact SBA's Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling (800) 659-2955, emailing, or visiting SBA's website.
Meet Local Artists Aug. 22-23
Area artists will open their doors to the public during the 3rd annual Wood River Valley Studio Tour Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 22-23. Related events begin Tuesday, Aug. 18. Congratulations to the Tour's nomination for the Idaho Nonprofit Center's Excellence Award!  
City to Sponsor Free Dance/Music/Arts Performance
The Ketchum Arts Commission will host Boise-based LED in a free performance combining dance, music and the visual arts on Saturday, Aug. 29 at 8 p.m. at The Spot at 220 Lewis St.
Public Pickleball Is Here
Pickleball, believed to be the fastest-growing sport in the nation, has been available in Ketchum since earlier summer. A court is next to the Ketchum Bike Park at Second Avenue and Eighth Street. Racquets and balls are available for use and can be checked out across the street at the Atkinson Park Recreation Center or you can bring your own. Four visitors from Pocatello were seen placing tape on the Atkinson Park tennis courts to create their own pickleball court, and were pleased to learn that there was an actual pickleball court nearby. 
Higher Speed Limit on Highway 75 After Labor Day
The speed limits on Highway 75 south of the Wood River Bridge will increase by 10 mph, up to 55 mph, after Labor Day. Click here to see changes.

Ever wonder why sometimes tap water appears cloudy? 
Cloudy water, also known as white water, is caused by air bubbles in the water. It is completely harmless. Occasionally air can enter Ketchum's water system, especially this time of the year when the water table is low. The best thing to do is let it sit in an open container until the bubbles naturally disappear. 

City Council 
Attend the next City Council meeting at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 17. 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 Tuesday, Aug. 25 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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