PLEASE make time to right now to send comments to the Flathead County Commissioners on this zoning proposal for a mile+ of commercial sprawl along the Hwy 93 southern entrance to Whitefish!
The Flathead County proposal to open up the Gateway Entry to
Whitefish to immediate and future commercial development is the pig in this zoning proposal. A strip of properties a mile and a half long by a quarter mile wide along both sides of Highway 93,
this zoning will set a precedent for expanding commercial-strip development along highway corridors in the Flathead.
To disguise this bad proposal, the plan overlays this new proposed zoning with development standards for things like building setbacks, landscaping, building design, and access. But
these standards are mere lipstick on the pig
, as the proposal fails to make this corridor anything but another future traffic nightmare, and a recipe for sprawl-style development.
It's time to speak up and insist on a better plan for this highway gateway entrance to the City of Whitefish and for highway corridors throughout the Flathead!
The proposed zoning, known as the
Highway 93 South Whitefish Corridor Plan and Zoning Amendment
, is being pushed forward by the County Planning Board for a group of landowners who want to either sell or develop their property along the corridor for more commercial uses. As proposed,
the plan covers 490 acres and now calls for over 130 acres of commercial development
, and down-zoning another 145 acres from the current zoning of 20 acre-agricultural zoning to 5-acre suburban-agricultural zoning - making this area easier to convert to future commercial uses.
The area proposed for re-zoning exceeds the commercial property development on Highway 93 in north Kalispell,
which spans from the Flathead Valley Community College to the intersection of Hwy 93 & Reserve on both sides of the highway, and houses Costco, Walmart, Home Depot, Target, Lowes, etc. The main commercial core area of downtown Whitefish covers only approximately 38 acres.
The City of Whitefish is strongly opposing this massive expansion of commercial development just outside its city limits as harmful and unneeded at this time. The City is calling on the County to work with them to
first put in place a transportation plan for this corridor to avoid the potential traffic nightmare that expanded development in this area will bring, and to conduct a build-out analysis showing the need or impacts of such commercial expansion, as it is in conflict with all current city plans.
On Thursday August 17th starting at 9:30 am the Flathead County Commissioners will hold two back-to-back public hearings
--one for the proposed zoning changes to properties along the corridor and one on the proposed overlay zone that establishes standards for things like building set backs, landscaping, and access to the numerous new businesses that will be allowed. If you can attend and speak please do.
If you can't attend please make it a priority to send or email comments!