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Housing crisis solutions under discussion in Blaine County

Posted at 12:12 PM, Jul 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-07 14:26:04-04

HAILEY, Idaho — Blaine County is continuing to struggle with a housing crisis, and it’s causing local businesses to struggle to find employees.

City governments are continuing to search for solutions ranging from short-term rental regulations to temporary RV living situations.

Over the past couple of months, the discussion regarding affordable housing in Blaine County has been predominant among community members struggling to afford to live and work in the wood river valley.

“We are all very aware of what is going on and we are trying to just provide some stop-gap measures while more permanent housing is developed,” said Hailey Community Development Director Lisa Horowitz.

The cis now allowing for locally employed residents to live in their RVs on private property for up to six months. RVs were always allowed on private property in Hailey but they were never meant for occupancy for a long period of time until now.

“We had citizens saying, couldn't I stay a little bit longer? I'm trying to find housing, and so that is why we have set this up,” said Horowitz. “Just an interim measure, this is not a permanent solution by any means.”

This temporary solution is also making its way into Ketchum, the city council there will vote on an emergency ordinance on Tuesday night to also allow for RVs to be parked on private property and to house local workers.

“It certainly gives us another short-term solution,” said Ketchum Mayor Neil Bradshaw.

The Ketchum City Council will also begin a discussion on finding a way if any to quasi-regulate short-term rentals, such as Airbnbs and VRBOs.

These short-term rental services often make it difficult for residents to find any type of long-term housing and are a large factor contributing to the housing crisis.

“We need to contribute to and help our businesses who are frankly short-staffed right now and are struggling to find employees,” said Bradshaw.

A public hearing will be held regarding the RV living situation and short-term rental regulations on Tuesday, July 6 at 4 p.m. at Ketchum City Hall.

“Basically, we are just trying to do everything we can on a short-, mid-, and long-term basis to allow more people who want to call Ketchum home, to live here,” Bradshaw said.