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The city of Ketchum has denied a request to reconsider its approval of the Bluebird Village workforce-housing project.

The City Council voted 3-0 on Nov. 18 to deny a formal “request for reconsideration” sent to the city by an attorney representing Ketchum residents Susan and Gary Martin. Council President Courtney Hamilton recused herself from the discussion and vote because of a conflict of interest related to her employment.

In a Nov. 1 letter to the city, attorney Kenneth C. Howell, of the Boise law firm Hawley Troxell Ennis & Hawley, listed four objections to the city’s approval of Bluebird Village. The 51-unit project planned for a city-owned site at 480 East Ave. was approved by the Ketchum Planning & Zoning Commission and elements of it were approved by the City Council in early October. The council then approved the written “findings of fact and conclusions of law” for the proceedings on Oct. 18.

The Martins’ residence is on Walnut Avenue, about one block from the planned Bluebird Village site. In the letter challenging the city’s approval of the project, Howell alleges:

  • The City Council failed to explain or document the rationale for its approval of the P&Z’s approval of Bluebird.
  • The findings of fact failed “to address any conflicting information and testimony in opposition to such approval.”
  • “The public hearing process was not impartial and therefore failed to provide for due process.”
  • And, the members of the P&Z and City Council “all had irrevocable conflicts of interest while participating and voting on matters related to property owned by the city of Ketchum.”

City Attorney Matt Johnson told the council on Nov. 18 that the statute allowing a request for reconsideration is generally intended to allow for an administrative process to correct errors in the record without going to court. If it was deemed necessary, the City Council could vote to set a hearing for reconsideration, he said.

In the approved written decision on the Martins’ request, the city states that the request for reconsideration of the city’s approval does not fall under the Idaho statute or city code. In addition, it states that the approved findings of fact are “an appropriate and reasoned written statement of the decision of the City Council.” 

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