A proposed 22-unit housing and mixed-use project on First Avenue cleared an early hurdle before the Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday night.

The commissioners voted 5-0 to approve the project’s pre-application for design review. It will now advance to a full design-review hearing before the commission.

The project is proposed by developer Jack Bariteau, and is necessary to satisfy an employee-housing requirement imposed by the city on his Main Street hotel project.

As part of the planned hotel’s construction, Bariteau must provide 18 beds for his employees. The mixed-use project will be at First Avenue and Fourth Street, to the south of Perry’s restaurant. The project will feature six first-floor employee-housing units, as well as six market-rate units and six more employee-housing units on the second floor. On the third floor, the project will have four market-rate penthouses. It will include a 34-space underground parking garage.

The project will also include 6,400 square feet of commercial space. It will use cross-laminated timber in its building materials, which will be a first for a mixed-use building in Idaho, said Michael McHugh of Pivot North Architecture. Cross-laminated timber consists of wood panels with several layers of lumber, and is considered more environmentally sustainable because wood is a renewable resource and is less energy- and carbon-emissions intensive than concrete and steel.

“We are trying to use things that are not just run-of-the-mill,” said Paul Conrad, of Conrad Brothers Construction.

Commissioner Kurt Eggers said that passing pre-application design review does not guarantee the P&Z’s approval for design review. He said the project’s northwest corner would have three stories as well as a level of parking, which he said would be problematic for him.

However, Commissioner Mattie Mead said the project’s use of sustainable building practices, housing and parking were worthy of a tradeoff for building height and appearance. He encouraged Bariteau to seek a variance for the building height.

Bariteau’s luxury hotel is planned for the south end of Main Street. Construction has been delayed.

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