In what could be an unprecedented move, the Ketchum City Council is considering allowing a developer to fulfill its affordable housing requirement for a larger, downtown housing project with affordable housing outside the city limits.
During its regular meeting on Monday, the council discussed a planned development at 660 First Ave. Due to its size, the mixed-use housing project is required to either contribute community housing or pay an in-lieu housing fee per city code.
The developer has requested to satisfy that housing requirement by buying property in the city of Sun Valley, which will become a deed-restricted housing opportunity, rather than pay the housing fee.
The project currently has one on-site 618-square-foot community housing unit, but rather than pay the $94,962 in-lie housing fee for the additionally required 399 square feet, the developer requests to provide a deed-restricted family-owned rental unit in Elkhorn Village in Sun Valley.
“This is the definition of gentrification,” Ketchum Councilwoman Courtney Hamilton said of the proposal, adding that housing people outside the city’s limits will create a further divide between those who live and work in Ketchum and those who work in the city but are forced to live elsewhere due to lack of affordable housing.
Ketchum Mayor Neil Bradshaw also expressed opposition to the idea, noting that it would set a precedent for future developers.
Following discussion, Bradshaw tabled the matter to allow staff to come up with new language for the city’s policy regarding community housing before bringing it back to the council.
The project itself was approved last summer and will be a seven-unit condominium building and is currently under construction.
Other Ketchum news
On Monday, the council also unanimously voted to increase the city’s wastewater and sewer fees by 4.9 percent, which will raise the cost of service for a single-family home in the city limits from $35.55 to $37.29 per month. For the full breakdown of increases related to property, visit ketchumidaho.org.
Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency
The KURA met Monday and approved funding for several nonprofits and discussed a funding increase for a new pedestrian crosswalk structure for Main Street.
The funding is:
- $14,000 for the Sun Valley Culinary Institute;
- $15,000 for Sun Valley Economic Development;
- $123,000 for HAWK (“high intensity activated crosswalk”) on Main and Fourth streets.
On the crosswalk project, KURA board member Ed Johnson said the city should contribute from its own budget, given that the Idaho Department of Transportation is also contributing to the project to help fund the HAWK and to help fund converting the intersection of Main Street and Sun Valley Road into a “scramble,” which will allow pedestrians to cross in any direction when they’re designated to cross.
Johnson also asked city staff to remind Mayor Neil Bradshaw that the KURA has funded all the city’s sidewalk repairs and construction over the past few years, stating that according to “city communications” Bradshaw had highlighted sidewalk repairs and constructions as one of the city’s successful projects, in response to a recall petition circulating against him.
“That is completely inaccurate,” Johnson said of Bradshaw’s comments, adding that if the city wants to take credit for the sidewalk improvements, it should contribute a portion of its budget to the projects.