by BRENNAN REGO
Bigwood Bread has passed the first stage toward constructing a 11,000-square-foot building in Ketchum’s light industrial section next spring.
The new building will house a restaurant, retail store, bakery and administrative offices and will be located at 271 Northwood Way, right across the street from Bigwood Bread’s current location.
Bigwood Bread received a conditional-use permit from the Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday. A conditional-use permit gives approval to buildings that don’t quite “fit in,” Ketchum Planning Manager Joyce Allgaier said during the meeting.
The proposed building requires a conditional-use permit because plans include a little more than 1,900 square feet of office space though the zoning code allows a maximum of 500 square feet or 25 percent of the total square footage, whichever is less.
“Going from 500 to 1,900 is a big difference,” Commissioner Steve Cook said at the meeting. “I’m 100 percent behind this, but I just want to make sure we’re doing our due diligence.”
Cook said that if the P&Z approved 1,900 square feet of office space for the Bigwood Bread building, it would set a precedent to allow more space for offices in the light industrial section than the current code allows.
The commissioners, including Cook, said that that was not necessarily a bad thing as many businesses operating in the light industrial section are becoming less industrial and more office-based. Those include Idaho Bio-science, which creates reagents and antibodies for scientific researchers; Scott Sports, which makes sports accessories such as ski goggles; and Smith Optics, which makes eyewear.
Bigwood Bread co-owner George Golleher said the bakery currently functions as a “cafeteria” for these nearby businesses.
“They don’t want to go too far for lunch,” he said.
The commissioners agreed that the light industrial section is “evolving” and that they should not hold this evolution back.
“The design encourages year-round living and year-round employment,” said Associate Planner Rebecca Bundy.
“It’s an exciting opportunity,” Cook said. “I think it’s a win-win all around.”
Golleher said he bought the business with his son-in-law Bryan Tempest five years ago and they have “tripled” the business since then. The current building is just not big enough, he said. According to Golleher, Whole Foods will soon open a market in Boise and has contracted with Bigwood Bread to provide bread for the new market.
“Whole Foods will not have its own bakery,” Golleher said. “It will buy all its bread from us.”
Golleher said the bakery’s current building is too small to keep up with this new contract.
“We have a product that has a high demand, but we are unable to service that demand,” he said.”
Tempest said in an interview that he and Golleher really appreciate the support from the P&Z and the community.
“We’re really proud of being the local bakery,” he said.
After the commissioners approved the conditional use permit, they held a pre-application design review discussion during which they brought up a few other concerns about the project. They expressed concerns that the proposed parking lot had too few spaces and that the design did not leave enough room for snow storage.
Buffalo Rixon, the project’s architect, said the company planned to pay to have excess snow hauled out during the winter as opposed to storing it on the property. He also said he would look into adding more parking. He said he would return to the commission shortly with an updated application.
“It’s a beautiful building,” Commission Co-Chair Deborah Burns said. “I can’t wait to see it.”
Brennan Rego: firstname.lastname@example.org
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