The city of Ketchum recently made national headlines for suggesting that a tent city in Rotary Park was an appropriate solution to our housing crisis. It is unconscionable that several residents are either getting kicked out or priced out of their homes and the solution from the city is go live in a tent.

The city has claimed that it cannot regulate nightly rentals in the same way as Park City or Aspen, but that is the wrong comparison. The city of Sandpoint, Idaho, is regulating short-term rentals based on a permit system that in part regulates health and safety and most importantly limits the number of short-term rentals owned by “non-owner occupied” (i.e. nonresidents) in the city’s residential zones.

Based on data from Sun Valley Economic Development, Ketchum had 2,920 housing units with 1,582 units occupied by locals in 2000. By 2018, the total number of units increased to 3,626 while the number of units occupied by locals decreased to 1,213. Specifically, the number of long-term rentals decreased by 40% over that time. If the city of Ketchum were to enact a similar cap it would result in some of the thousands of vacant/seasonal housing units being available to locals.

The Sandpoint regulations are in place and were enacted after the state’s Short-Term Rental and Vacation Rental Act became effective in 2018. That is the legislation that the city of Ketchum keeps pointing to when it says it cannot regulate nightly rentals. The question is why can Sandpoint regulate nightly rentals but Ketchum cannot?

Ed Johnson, Ketchum

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