Ketchum community: helping the city prepare and provide sandbags to residents in need                               May 10, 2017

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

Inform. Celebrate. Involve.
May 12, 2017
In This Issue
After the Great Recession, the sharing economy grew considerably, and platforms like Airbnb and VRBO became increasingly popular. Ketchum has always acknowledged the important role that tourism plays in our local economy and recognizes the benefits of short-term rentals (STRs) to travelers and some homeowners. Today, Ketchum homeowners can legally offer STRs only in the tourist zones (T zones) and short-term occupancy zones (STO zones).
In Ketchum, we use our zoning codes to implement local solutions to local problems. With recently passed state legislation (HB216) regarding STRs, however, Idaho cities have been stripped of their ability to manage short-term housing within their own communities (except in very specific circumstances). In general, and even before this law was passed, cities in Idaho simply don't have the degree of local control as cities in other states. "Local control" is touted as a prized value in the Legislature but it's often just lip service as state lawmakers continue to erode our ability to determine how we shape our community and plan for our future. Laws like HB216 reflect a larger pattern of the state taking away a city's own zoning authority and, consequently, a city's power to govern itself as it best sees fit.
Our state legislature's preemptive action on the City's ability to govern for its citizens and their needs, particularly in handing STRs carte blanche, can have an enormous impact on the character, quality of life, economy, and potential future of Ketchum. We need -- and should be allowed -- to protect our community values and chart our own course. HB216 does not allow us to do so.
In this newsletter, you'll find more information about HB216, STRs, and what they mean for our local economy and quality of life. As HB216 chips away even further at our ever-diminishing ability to govern ourselves, I will continue to search and advocate for ways to ensure that the people who know Ketchum best are the ones who are able to decide how best to build and protect the community here.

Ask Nina
Q. How has the recent flooding impacted our community?
A. It's been a challenge for us all, from residents and business owners to city staff and public safety crews. And given current conditions in the mountains, more rising rivers and flooding is likely on the way. Ketchum residents should know that peak flooding is predicted to occur on the Big Wood River starting Friday and extending through Saturday. Based on warmer weather forecasts, the upcoming event should see flood waters surpassing levels reached earlier this week. The Big Wood peaked on May 8 at 7.82 feet. Forecasters expect a second peak Friday into Saturday of up to 7.93 feet. The good news is flows are expected to lessen from May 15 through May 26, but even so those levels are projected to remain at or close to flood stage. The best guess right now is that the river will reach a final peak between May 28 and June 9, depending on how fast the temperatures increase.
I am so proud of how our community has rallied and come together. We are all grateful to the volunteers who helped in this week's event focused on filling sandbags and making those available to residents in need. Despite all the chaos and upheaval, the spirit of our community has shined through in these sandbagging events, as well as in the stories of personal support we're hearing every day about neighbors helping neighbors. While the City will continue to offer formal services, keep in mind how much the spirit of community and collaboration remains a valuable and prized resource for us all.
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.
Stay involved in your community. Included here are links to the Monday, May 15, Council agenda and Council meeting information. The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. At this meeting, Council will consider approval of contracts and agreements including Art in City Hall, artist commission contract for a Cover Art project, and two automatic aid agreements for emergency services. The agenda also includes the third reading of the amendments to the Dark Skies ordinance.   

It is the responsibility of the City to inform the public and gain public input. We encourage you to provide the City with your opinion and comments by attending Monday's meeting at 5:30 p.m. in Ketchum City Hall, 480 East Ave. N., or by sending an email to participate@ketchumidaho.org.

On April 4, 2017, House Bill 216 (HB216) was signed into law in Idaho; it will take effect on January 1, 2018. Our District 26 Representatives Toone and Miller voted against the bill; Senator Stennett voted in favor.
HB216 is viewable online--as is all Idaho legislation--and "Adds to existing law to limit regulation of short-term rentals and vacation rentals and to provide a statewide standard and a transaction tax." One component of HB216 may be of particular concern to the Ketchum community:
(1) Neither a county nor a city may enact or enforce any ordinance that has the express or practical effect of prohibiting short-term rentals or vacation rentals throughout the jurisdiction of such county or city. Notwithstanding the foregoing prohibition, a county or city may implement such reasonable regulations as it deems necessary to safeguard the public health, safety and general welfare in order to protect the integrity of residential neighborhoods in which short-term rentals or vacation rentals operate. A short-term rental or vacation rental shall be classified as a residential land use for zoning purposes subject to all zoning requirements applicable thereto.
(2) Neither a county nor a city can regulate the operation of a short-term rental marketplace.
Note the language regarding public health, safety, and welfare. A concern with short-term rentals (STRs) is whether they meet current health and safety standards. For example, when tourists check into a local hotel, they can rest assured that fire exits are up to code and that fire extinguishers and other suppression systems are available and operating. Mandated regulations like these are not applied in the same way toward STRs. One potential benefit of HB216--albeit one we're still exploring--is that it may allow cities to implement reasonable regulations as deemed necessary for the health, safety, and welfare components of STRs. Regardless of where our visitors stay, we want them to have a safe experience.
While being able to regulate STRs for health and safety issues may be a small win, HB216 overall is a net loss for Ketchum. As online STR platforms have grown in popularity, the city has fielded an increasing (and relatively high number) of phone calls from real estate agents and potential buyers asking if particular properties for sale can be turned into STR properties. At the same time, Mayor Jonas and other city employees continue to hear the personal stories of individuals unable to afford local homes as the price of real estate continues to increase and the number of long-term rentals continues to decrease. (As the STR economy grows, properties that used to be available as long-term rentals are now being offered only as short-term rentals.) Home ownership is becoming further out of reach for residents who are hoping to purchase a home where they can live, work, and even raise a family in Ketchum.
HB216 presents a significant challenge to our ability to uphold some of our most important community priorities, such as affordable housing and preserving our quality of life by managing growth smartly and strategically. We will continue to examine what HB216 will mean and how we can be in compliance with the law while still retaining control over how the STR market impacts our community.

Genevieve Pearthree
In June, 2016, the City of Ketchum hired Genevieve Pearthree, a graduate student at Arizona State University, for a 10-month fellowship to examine affordable housing and short-term rentals (STRs) in the Ketchum area. Mayor Jonas was particularly interested in better understanding the impact that STRs had on Ketchum's housing and businesses, especially considering many of them are in violation of Ketchum's codes. 
Pearthree's four-phase project included:
  1. Conducting a current state analysis of existing programs and policies that aim to produce and preserve affordable rental and owner housing on a city and county-wide level;
  2. Evaluating these programs' strengths and identifying areas of improvement;
  3. Compiling best practices from other mountain resort towns across several western states and identifying those that may be applicable to Ketchum; and
  4. Recommending those practices that are likely to produce and preserve affordable housing in Ketchum, given the broader legislative and political environment in the county and state of Idaho.
Although Pearthree's research is still being finalized, some key findings have emerged. Of the known 471 STRs in Ketchum, 90% are vacation homes and only 110, or 23 percent, are known to collect the correct state and local taxes. Nearly 50% are in residential or other zones where STR activity is currently illegal.
Additionally, while STRs have increased in the area, the number of long-term rentals (LTRs) has decreased. This presents a significant obstacle to local families looking to live and rent long-term in Ketchum.

Decrease in Advertising Long-Term Rentals in Ketchum: 2012-2016
Decrease in
Listings: 2012 - 2016
2012 - 2016
Four+ Bedroom

Pearthree will be presenting her full report to City Council this summer. The City's plans to use her findings and recommendations to craft policies, regulations and even enforcement protocols to STRs in the area have been compromised by the new legislation. However, Pearthree's data and analysis have proven timely and will be extremely informative as the city examines its preparation for HB216 compliance by January 1, 2018.
Ketchum's current zoning regulations allow STRs in all Tourist and Short-Term Occupancy zones. The new legislation will allow STRs in all residential areas beginning in 2018.

While local homeowners may financially benefit from renting out their condo for the weekend, city services suffer, often over the long term. The taxes and fees hotels collect when a room is occupied go back into the community by supporting and enhancing the visitor experience through services like free bus transportation, free public events, fantastic parks, well maintained streets, and quality emergency response. When visitors stay in a local, non-taxpaying STR, they may be using city services but not contributing to the maintenance of those services. Over time, the challenge of providing public services with insufficient funding will become increasingly apparent.
Although Airbnb has been required to collect taxes since December 2016, it only does so on behalf of the state. The Idaho State Tax Commission notes that "the voluntary agreement doesn't cover any other local sales or auditorium taxes." Cities like Ketchum must enforce and collect sales taxes on their own, with no assistance from the state.

The Ketchum Police Department plans to give away children's helmets at the Bike Safety Rodeo on Saturday, May 27, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the YMCA parking lot. They will also offer safety inspections and riding tips. In addition, officers carry children's helmets in patrol cars. If officers see a child without a helmet, they stop and offer a free helmet and help with the fitting. Families also may stop by the police station to request a helmet. This event is held in partnership with Higher Ground Sun Valley.

Ketchum Police Field Day will provide approximately 250 children the chance to meet local police officers and see their vehicles and equipment. This event takes place on Friday, June 2, from 8 a.m. to noon at Hemingway Elementary School.
The City of Ketchum will swear in five new volunteer firefighters during the City Council meeting on Monday, May 15th.
Kjirsten Brevik, Keller Gibson, Tim Hanna, Theo Rich and Katelyn Spradley began training in January in a variety of exercises, including physical agility, claustrophobia, and managing fear of height. Other training involved the use of air packs, radio communications and rescues, use of ladders, ropes, power tools, hand tools for cutting roofs and walls, breaching walls and other rescue skills. In the next phase, the volunteers got hands-on learning for the use of fire hoses, hose appliances, fire hose loads, master streams and fire flows.
Each recruit must spend approximately 160 hours total in the training. This includes a 32-hour hazardous materials class, but does not include any additional personal time devoted to studying. The Fire Academy traditionally operates from January through May, with testing taking place in June.

Meet Ketchum's new volunteers and find out why they wanted to become volunteer firefighters.

Kjirsten Brevik 
"I respect and admire the men and women who are currently firefighters and am looking forward to helping the community and people in need while challenging myself and furthering my learning experiences."

Theo Rich
"I wanted to become a firefighter to be able to know how to correctly and quickly help those in need and distress. I've always wanted to be one of the people helping in times that are tough and unexpected. Everyone needs a hand in hard times and needs a person who knows what to do in dangerous situations, I want to be one of those people who can be there when the call  for help comes in."
Tim Hanna
The reason I want to become a firefighter is to give back and be a deeper part of the community that helped shape me into the person I am."

Keller Gibson
"The reason I want to become a firefighter is to give back and be a deeper part of the community that helped shape me into the person I am."

Katelyn Spradley.
Considered by some as the queen of fish knowledge, Spradley, is currently on horseback riding to celebrate salmon on Ride for Redd. When she is not saving the salmon, she will be fighting fires in Ketchum.
KIC Spring Workshops Continue
The Ketchum Innovation Center is holding a hands-on workshop to learn about the benefits of Certified B Corps from noon to 1 p.m. on Monday, May 15. The workshop will be led by Emily Erickson, Responsible Business Initiative Manager at the College of Business & Economics at Boise Sate University. On Monday, May 22, an Intro to Quickbooks will be held from noon to 1:15 p.m. Both workshops will take place at KIC, 311 First Avenue.

Visit Sun Valley Releases 2017 Summer Toolkit
Click this link to go to the Visit Sun Valley Member Resources page where you can access its 2017 Summer Toolkit. You will find valuable information on events and other happenings in this area, summer flight schedules, visibility tools and more.  
Guy Coles Skatepark Expansion Needs Your Help 
Plans are being made to expand Ketchum's Guy Coles Skatepark. The City of Ketchum and the Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency are providing funds toward completing its second phase; creating more features, enhancing the flow and increasing the riding area. Donations can be made to further the development of the park by clicking here.

Celebrate Kids to Parks Day 
Kids to Park (KTP) Day is a national day of outdoor play organized by National Park Trust in cooperation with 19 national collaborators. This year's KTP Day will be held on Saturday, May 20, 2017. Participate by visiting one of Ketchum's parks and join the movement to encourage children to explore their neighborhood parks and discover science, history, nature and adventure right around the corner.
Register for Summer Youth Recreation Program
Online registration for the Summer Youth Recreation Program is open. Programs include active outdoor recreation and creative activities such as tennis, gardening, golf, swimming, skateboarding, mountain biking, birding, geocaching, and arts and crafts. Optional Friday Adventures offer excursions to nearby attractions and include river rafting and caving. Register at ketchumidaho.org/registration or contact John Kearney at jkearney@ketchumidaho.org or 726-7820.

Ketchum's 12th Year as Tree City USA 
The City of Ketchum has been designated a Tree City USA Community for the 12th year in a row. Tree City USA is a National Arbor Day Foundation program recognizing communities that establish urban forestry programs and whose programs provide a high standard for the care and management of trees in the urban landscape. 

Noxious Weed Mitigation Begins 
Watch for signs and blue-dyed markings indicating where and when noxious weed applications will occur on City properties. Herbicides dry within approximately 20 minutes, at which point they are considered non-toxic to humans and pets. Please note that the city's pesticide-free parks policy prohibits the use of chemical pesticides in public parks. 
LOT Renewal Election on May 16
On May 16, 2017, voters in Ketchum, Hailey, and Sun Valley will have the opportunity to decide whether to renew the additional 1% Local Option Tax (LOT) supporting air service to Friedman Memorial Airport through minimum revenue guarantees and marketing. In Ketchum, the additional 1% LOT is applied to purchases of liquor by the glass, prepared food items, retail goods (including ski tickets and passes), hotel rooms, and short-term rentals. For more detailed information, click here
Call for Temporary Outdoor Solar Eclipse Art
Experienced artists please apply for The Great American Eclipse art installation project. One artist will be selected to create a temporary installation at Festival Meadow for the city of Ketchum and Sun Valley eclipse celebration on Monday, August 21. Visit ketchumidaho.org/rfp to access the detailed call.
Seeking Graphic Designer for Wagon Days Print Materials
The City has issued a design services request for proposals for Wagon Days print materials. This year celebrates Wagon Days' 60th year. Details can be found at ketchumidaho.org/wagon days.
Ketchum Becomes a Stigmafree Community 
On Monday, May 15, the City of Ketchum will join the cities of Sun Valley, Hailey, Bellevue and Carey as a proclaimed Stigmafree Community. May is also Mental Health Awareness month and this year's theme is "Risky Business." Its focus will be to educate people about habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing or exacerbating mental illnesses, or could be signs of mental health problems themselves.  Click here for more information.

Runway Maintenance Closes Airport in June
Plan your travels around the Friedman Memorial Airport closure dates. Runway maintenance will take place beginning at 8:00 a.m. on June 5 through 7:00 p.m. on June 7, weather permitting. Watch for updates at iflysun.com .
Flood Warnings Still in Effect
As the weather continues to warm, please remember there is still plenty of snow at higher elevations that could cause potential flooding. For information on flood preparedness, visit ketchumidaho.org/flood.

Water Division Maintenance Operator Needed 
Candidate must operate a variety of light- and heavy-duty equipment and have a Class "B" commercial driver's license and Class 1 Drinking Water Distribution Operator license OR ability to obtain one during employment. Job details and application can be found at ketchumidaho.org/jobs or by contacting Pat Cooley at pcooley@ketchumidaho.org or 726-7825. 
City Council 
Attend the next City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, May 15. 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 meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, June 12. P&Z meetings are held on the second 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 participate@ketchumidaho.org. Your input and engagement is encouraged. All comments will be reviewed. 
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