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Ketchum gun sculpture leaves some up in arms

KETCHUM, Idaho – A sculpture depicting two giant military assault rifles erected on private land near the tourist town of Ketchum has landed in the crosshairs of local officials.

The 20-foot-tall, gun-metal-black rifles pointing skyward are connected by a rope. On the rope are various military uniforms from around the world.

Sculptor Bob Kantor calls the work “Line of Hope 2.”

But Blaine County officials say the sculpture violates the county’s 100-foot setback from Highway 75.

They want it moved, or to get assurances from Kantor that the sculpture will not be a permanent fixture.

“If he can show us the art is beyond the 100-foot setback, he could keep it up as long as he needs to, but it needs to honor the setback,” said Megan Stelma, the county’s code compliance officer.

“The content of the art is not the issue. It’s about where the structure is.”

County officials say the sculpture has generated complaints from citizens. It is located along the highway, which connects an airport about 15 miles south with Sun Valley Resort’s Bald Mountain.

Kantor’s attorney, Ed Lawson, questioned why officials were zeroing in on Kantor’s sculpture while ignoring other violations, which he did not identify.

“My client does not wish to make this into a controversial proceeding,” he wrote to the county in a letter quoted by the Idaho Mountain Express. “Rather, he is simply concerned with the lack of definition in the ordinance and its application to stifle speech on his own property.”

In recent weeks, county officials say they have been working on resolution that could include granting Kantor a six-month extension.

The county has not yet issued a citation, but zoning ordinance violations do carry a financial penalty.

Tom Bergin, director of the planning and zoning department, said his office is awaiting a proposal from Kantor that includes a specific timeline for moving the structure or bringing it into compliance.