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Ketchum will consider a special license for short-term rentals

A street in downtown Ketchum is lined with trees in the fall and a snow-capped Bald Mountain is in the background.
Talo Pinto
Flickr Creative Commons

Ketchum is considering creating a business license for short-term rentals as a possible solution to affordable housing issues. It follows discussions the city council began this summer.

The city has been under pressure to take action on short-term rentals like Airbnbs. Ketchum residents started an online petition last month urging the city to limit the number of non-owner occupied short-term rentals. It has more than 400 signatures.

Two candidates for mayor, Perry Boyle and Spencer Cordovano, have made short-term rental regulation part of their campaign promises. Both suggest increasing taxes on short-term rentals, and Boyle proposes banding together with other resort cities to repeal a 2017 Idaho law that limits most regulations on the units.

In Monday’s council meeting, city staff said they would start drafting an ordinance for the Nov. 18 meeting.

City administrator Jade Riley said a staff member would likely be in charge of enforcing any rules placed upon short-term rentals, including potential fire and building codes.

"Our initial thinking is to treat short-term rentals similar to how we’re treating the hotels from a fire code perspective," Riley said.

He said the city might also need to purchase a third-party software to identify non-compliant properties. This could cost around $20,000 a year.

Citing the 2017 state law, Ketchum leaders have previously said there's not much the city can do regarding short-term rentals, aside from protecting public health and safety. But an urgent housing crisis forced the officials to take a closer look at the legislation this summer, and at ordinances in other resort cities like Sandpoint and McCall that do limit the rentals in some capacity.

Ketchum will pick up discussions on the short-term rental ordinance Nov. 18.

Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen

Copyright 2021 Boise State Public Radio

I cover environmental issues, outdoor recreation and local news for Boise State Public Radio. Beyond reporting, I contribute to the station’s digital strategy efforts and enjoy thinking about how our work can best reach and serve our audience. The best part of my job is that I get to learn something new almost every day.

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