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Ketchum’s light-industrial zones are located north of the downtown core, to the west of state Highway 75.

The Ketchum City Council approved the first reading of a series of changes to land-use and zoning in the light-industrial districts that would permit buildings up to 58 feet tall in some places.

The council voted unanimously to approve the ordinance, which will require council approval of two subsequent readings at upcoming meetings before the changes can take effect.

The changes are aimed at increasing the supply of workforce housing in Ketchum. Developers can go up in building height in certain parts of the light-industrial area as a tradeoff for including affordable housing in their projects.

The latest version of the ordinance includes the following changes, according to a city staff report:

The 58-foot height limit, but only in a part of the second L.I. district along state Highway 75, from the intersection of Lewis Street and Northwood Way up to Saddle Road. Other portions of the district would have a 48-foot height limit.

Allowing buildings for 100 percent light-industrial use, 75 percent residential in a four-story building or 80 percent residential in a five-story building.

Keeping the existing requirement that developers provide one parking space per bedroom, but also providing the zoning administrator the flexibility to exempt community housing or reduce parking requirements project by project.

Conditionally allowing community housing on the first floor of projects in the third L.I. district, which is closest to Saddle Road on Northwood Way.

The goal of increasing renters would be supported by keeping units small, at 1,000 square feet in the first and second light-industrial districts, and limiting market-rate ownership to one-third of a four- or five-story project’s residential square footage. The remaining two-thirds would have to be deed-restricted affordable.

The city would try to make residences compatible with existing and future light-industrial businesses by requiring a conditional-use permit for all residential units and including anti-nuisance noticing in the permits.

Mayor Neil Bradshaw said the ordinance attempted to balance feedback from the development community in Ketchum with public input and the Planning and Zoning Commission’s recommendations.

“What’s being proposed here is not going to attract a flood of investment,” Bradshaw said. “We have started the process of allowing greater height, and we have started the process of allowing greater density.”

Councilman Michael David said he believes the greater heights were worth it if it could lead to more housing.

“We’ve got young people leaving our community … at a pretty alarming rate,” David said. “The view corridor for someone who is playing golf at the Big Wood Golf Course, it doesn’t hold a lot of water for me.”

Councilwoman Amanda Breen said she wants to ensure the changes would spur development. She said she would ask developers to weigh in before the second reading.

“We’ve got a number of feel-good ordinances, not only here but around the county,” Breen said. “I want to make sure that this moves the needle.”

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