Pick up the Mountain Express any week over the last few months and articles on Ketchum’s affordable housing and parking issues eat up column after column. “It feels as if we are on the cusp of a significant and defining moment in our Valley’s history” said longtime local Oliver Marks.
Ketchum employers are struggling to find and retain employees in this ever-increasing, expensive rental market. “What with Airbnb and people moving to town that already have jobs that allow them to work remotely, there just isn’t the rental inventory of affordable housing that we need to support Ketchum’s retail establishments” said a local business owner.
"One Man’s Trash is another Man’s Treasure"
- Dump-stir-it-up Enterprises
“We are at an impasse with no foreseeable solution,” said another retailer. However, that might all change, when late last week, developer niles Baritone of Dump-stir-it-up Enterprises, came forward with an out of the box hybrid solution to a problem that the Valley’s best minds have been grappling with for years.
Introducing Clear Creek Residences where living and working coexist in perfect harmony.
“I have to say at first I was a bit skeptical” said a twenty-something Ketchum retail employee who has been test piloting the new scheme. “But now I love it. Zero rent and a ten second commute frees up money and time. I even sold my car, so now my only monthly expenditure is food, beer and skiing! The ski bum lifestyle is no longer folklore from a distant past, it’s now a thing again thanks to the Live / Work program.”
Modern Industrial Package
Whilst the idea of living in a custom dumpster might seen radicle at first blush, Mr. Baritone might have just tapped in to the zeitgeist of millennial home buying and lifestyle preferences which show an increasing demand for simplicity, flexibility and downsizing.
Converting shipping containers into homes has gained significant momentum in recent years, as has the Tiny House movement. As Baritone points out, dumpster homes are merely a hybrid of these growing trends. As he also likes to highlight, picking up a dumpster home, putting it on a trailer and taking it with you on a road trip or vacation is an enticing and economically viable alternative to staying in a hotel or renting an Airbnb.
In the same way that Uber, Airbnb and other startups in the sharing economy continue to push the boundaries of local and state laws, Mr. Baritone’s ground-breaking housing model is sure to test the limits of building codes and lead city officials to scratch their heads over how to craft housing legislation around this innovative paradigm changer.
Mr. Baritone has legislative experience in this area and said that he would be more than willing to help the City of Ketchum create appropriate building codes for this new housing category.
Wood River residents are encouraged to visit Clear Creek Residences www.clearcreekresidences.com show models at various participating business around Ketchum on April 1st. Local realtors will be on hand to give you a tour of homes. The model homes will showcase a number of units ranging for the deluxe 25 square ft spacious double wide with ensuite porta-potty to the economy sized personal pods.
As an adjunct to the Live/Work program developed by Dump-stir-it-up, Baritone is also working on a Live/Park model that was inspired by the problems faced by the Wood River YMCA.
The Wood River YMCA is a perfect example of an organization caught in the cross hairs of the affordable housing hot Idaho Potato. Over the last few months the debate has ramped up to a fever pitch over who controls the North end of the YMCA parking lot.
The YMCA maintains that the parcel is part of the original envelope leased to them by the City of Ketchum for a period of 99 years, set out in the 2004 ballot that passed with a 60% approval. The City of Ketchum believes it has a legitimate claim to the parcel and is seeking to develop the site by building phase II of the Northwood affordable housing project.
“Our Live / Park model is absolutely tailor made for the unique situation that the YMCA finds itself in," Baritone said. “I’ve been keenly following Ketchum’s struggles with affordable housing and parking. In my mind Ketchum’s got it all backwards – 30 to 40 unit apartment buildings with NO parking? That’s crazy. Our model flips that notion on its head; small dwellings with a minimum of 3-4 parking spaces per unit. This allows for one resident parking spot and 2-3 spots for City parking.
Baritone outlined his solution to the YMCA parking / affordable housing dilemma and offered the below plan drawing of how the Live / Park model would all lay it out. He urges representatives from the City and the YMCA to reach out to him.