This past week, I decided to listen in on the city meeting pertaining to the proposed, and now accepted, boutique hotel slated for the southwest corner of River and Main streets. I didn’t hold many opinions on the project, but that changed during the meeting when I realized that it ignored many zoning restrictions the city has. The key word I heard, over and over again, was “waiver.” It has become so apparent that this project, as well as the Bluebird project, rely on waiver after waiver after waiver. So, I have to ask, why does Ketchum even have zoning, or for that matter a city plan, if the mayor and City Council can blatantly ignore everything on the books?
It also became apparent that these two projects could very well be intertwined. Consider the fact that the new hotel will have 100 low-paid employees, a few of whom will be housed in a “dormitory” in the hotel’s basement. So where are the others slated to stay? Perhaps the Bluebird? And if that’s the case, why are Ketchum’s residents paying more for this than “any other project in Idaho”? Shouldn’t the hotel’s owners pay for it?
Some have made this out to be the working-class heroes versus the wealthy in Ketchum. It isn’t! It’s about good government, something the present mayor and City Council seem to forget about. The vast majority of the comments were opposed to the hotel construction proceeding, so giving waivers is the last thing that should be done.
And, as to Bluebird, it is not sounding like a scam that is going to be footed by the taxpayers in this town. What is the count on waivers for that project?
Geoff Isles, Ketchum