As a concerned citizen of Ketchum I watched the Sept. 3 City Council meeting. The proposal for an ordinance change that could immediately affect the alley behind First Avenue between Sun Valley Road and Fourth Street caught my attention.
Hopefully, voters in Ketchum will take notice of this change for several reasons.
First. the question is why now was this ordinance change generated? Who would be the immediate benefactor and, of course, is there any political motivation behind bringing this to the City Council for its consideration?
According to the city attorney, an ordinance change related to alley vacation would simplify things for a developer because it would not be necessary for a developer to make a request for a variance, which is harder to obtain. A developer must prove “extreme hardship.”
The mayor stated that vacation of an alley could be granted if deemed “in the public interest,” especially if parking is the reason to dead-end an alley. Sadly, this ordinance change as currently written grants no rights to adjacent property owners; the decision lies firmly in the hands of the City Council.
For Dr. Franz’s project, no ordinance change was offered allowing him to vacate an alley, which would have provided easier access into his underground parking garage. This is why Ketchum voters deserve an answer to the question, why is this ordinance change being proposed at this time?
The city should insist that the developer responsible for the gaping hole at the entrance to Ketchum rectify this property before the City Council votes on an ordinance change he would benefit from, at the expense of other property owners.