The leaders of Ketchum, especially Mayor Bradshaw, continue to act as though housing has only reached crisis levels because of COVID. However, the reality is that COVID exacerbated an already dire situation. In August 2017, the city of Ketchum commissioned a report titled: “The High Cost of Short-Term Rentals and Unoccupied Second Homes in Ketchum, Idaho.” This report details the strain that nightly rentals place on housing, specifically, it cites a 73% decrease in long term rentals from 2012-2016 and concludes nightly rentals “take affordable homes off the market that could be available to permanent residents.” This report not only established the burden that nightly rentals put on housing but provided the framework of how nightly rentals could be regulated under the Short-Term Rental and Vacation Rental Act that was passed in 2017.

The mayor and city council have had this information for nearly four years and are still coming up with excuses for not taking action. Real action needs to be taken immediately. Anything short of a cap on short term rentals in residential areas for non-residents in the same vein as Sandpoint, Idaho, is insufficient. Considering that all our elected officials ran on housing, what will it take for them to finally act?

Ed Johnson, Ketchum

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