Ketchum moves to protect riparian areas
By GREGORY FOLEY
Express Staff Writer
The city of Ketchum is taking action to
ensure its laws protecting sensitive riparian areas are clearly understood by
Staff of the city Planning Department in
June proposed changing the city’s zoning regulations to include new language
that explicitly states "no development" is permitted in designated riparian
areas, except in a few special cases.
The new language is intended to ensure
developers understand that the city does not want private pathways, staircases
or other types of development to encroach into designated 25-foot riparian-zone
setbacks established by city code.
In bringing the proposed code amendment to
the Planning and Zoning Commission Monday, July 26, Planning Director Harold
Moniz said the action is a "quick fix" put forth in response to a recently
approved project that included pathways through a designated riparian zone along
Stefanie Webster, city planner, said the
new language is needed because the existing regulations "have been the source of
a lot of confusion."
Webster said the revised regulations would
not automatically make existing encroachments into the riparian zone illegal.
Christopher Simms, executive director of
Citizens for Smart Growth, said Ketchum should be diligent in protecting its
riparian-setback zones, which are smaller than those designated by Hailey or
The city of Hailey mandates a 100-foot
setback from waterways to protect riparian zones along the Big Wood River.
Commissioners voted unanimously to support
the code amendment, with an understanding that the city will pursue a more
complete rewrite of the regulations.
The zoning-code amendment must be approved
by the City Council before it can be enacted.