I read with interest the headline article in the Feb. 8 Times-News about the number of hotel rooms available in Twin Falls and the comments from individuals involved in the industry. I am the "people" that brought the issue up to the Planning and Zoning Committee.
Our numbers are close. My Twin Falls total is 1,255. When the hotels in Jerome by the freeway are included, it is 1,398. With the opening of the former Shiloh Inn, the total will be 1,526.
I am concerned that in the article’s discussion about these numbers, the public was only presented with comments from those in the industry; which, for the most part and with some qualifications, supported the need for additional hotels. These were just opinions. There was no needs assessment or study done to support these views.
There was also no mention of any of the opposing arguments presented at the committee meeting including, geological concerns, traffic, setting a precedent for additional commercial development along the canyon rim, competing with the need to bring business and commerce downtown, catering to the desires of the hotel industry and their transient client population versus those of the Twin Falls community, other potential locations, bringing in the third hotel under the Hilton umbrella; and, of utmost importance, non-compliance with the City of Twin Falls Comprehensive Plan.
The article quoted an industry rep as saying, "That location is about as prime as it gets for our industry." That pretty much sums it up. Prime for the industry does not equate to prime for the Twin Falls community.
If there is indeed a need for additional hotels, an option would be the open space on Pole Line Road, close to other hotels.