Yes, we have a housing crisis in Ketchum. While it worsened suddenly it’s important to understand that the issue has a long history and origins we have not been good at discussing.
First, we have scarce land. The county made a decision early on to preserve our hillsides, one of the best decisions we ever made, but it restricts us to a narrow strip of bottomland. It also restricts our transit to a single artery.
Planning’s important if your resources are constrained, but for years housing has been something politicians nodded at but didn’t take enough action on. They love growth so much that they pretend it can go on without end and without consequences, but that’s not true.
So, we are where we are today, a spot that has been predictable for 20 years now. Whatever your opinion of Bluebird, you have to understand that it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the demand that’s coming. Bluebird is window dressing.
So, we need a different conversation. We have constrained resources, not only land but water. We need to acknowledge those constraints, and instead of window dressing the issue, we need to stop, we need to think and we need to plan.
No one like constraints, but our choice is to acknowledge and work with them now or be in an even worse situation in the years to come. We don’t have enough land to do everything everyone wants, we don’t have enough water to grow vertically without limit and we have a constrained transit corridor. These limits are real.
Planning needs to be more than waivers for the next fancy hotel. It needs to acknowledge our constraints, prioritize humans and plan careful use of our scarce resources. Are we ready for that conversation now? Because Bluebird isn’t enough.
Lee Chubb, Ketchum