The recent open house by PEG Development to show changes to the proposed Marriott hotel was pleasant—good food and friendly representatives. But the project is still too big for the lot and many important details remain unspecified or contradicted by either PEG or the P&Z. Here’s what I know:

The hotel’s floor-area ratio is smaller. It still exceeds zoning regulations, but the P&Z couldn’t say by how much. There are fewer guest rooms, but the P&Z didn’t know the exact number. Employee numbers may be cut to 75, said one PEG spokesperson, or they may not, said another. The hotel’s highest point has dropped by 10 feet but is still higher than zoning requires. Employee housing is now 23, rather than 30, beds. The distance from the hotel’s entrance to the curb is now the required 15 feet (not the requested 5 feet). Overall, the hotel’s mass is smaller.

Another fact: Employee housing is not “affordable housing.” Employees can choose to rent an employee unit, or dorm bed, in the Marriott at an affordable rate. Members of the community cannot. Even if they could, renting a dorm bed is far from decent community affordable housing.   

The P&Z, surprisingly, didn’t keep PEG’s architectural renderings on hand—or take pictures of them—for its own, or public, review. Otherwise, I would have more facts. We do know this: The P&Z (with Ketchum’s mayor in the background) began talking one-on-one with the PEG group in April without community input. It seems they are now more identified with PEG’s interests than with ours.   

Jima Rice

Blaine County

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