It's time to speak up and insist on
a NO Sprawl plan for the highway gateway entrance to the City of Whitefish
and for highway corridors throughout the Flathead!

Take a few minutes to Email comments now!
and/or attend the

Public Hearings on

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 at 9:30 AM in the
County Commissioners Chambers,
3rd floor of Old Courthouse, 800 S. Main Kalispell

It's decision making time and your voice needs to be heard by the County Commissioners. Flathead County is proposing to  rezone the mile and half gateway entrance to the City of Whitiefish  with a strip of sprawl inducing zoning that can easily lead to a similar pattern of highway strip commercial zoning on highways through out the county. 
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!

This map shows the proposed Corridor Plan area which begins at the intersection of Hwy 93 and Hwy 40 and runs south just past North Valley Recycling. This area covers approx-imately
  490 acres south of Whitefish along both sides of Hwy 93, for a total width of about half a mile wide and approx- 
imately 1.5 miles. Click here for additional map. 

490 acres is HUGE!!
The entire Whitefish Downtown Master Plan area is only about 38 acres. Under the new Whitefish Downtown Master Plan within this 38 acres there is the capacity to add 200,000 sq. ft. of new retail and commercial, and 90,000 sq. ft. of lodging or at least a decade of growth.  Add to this the commercial, office, light industrial, and lodging capacity recently added under the Hwy. 93 Whitefish West Side Corridor Plan and the potential additional capacity within the Whitefish Wisconsin Ave Corridor Plan, which is just now being developed, and Whitefish has the capacity within its city limits for well over a decade and probably two decades of retail, commercial, office, and lodging growth within the city limits---no need for Highway SPRAWL!   
Owning property along Highway Corridors in the Flathead is not justification for property owners outside of the city limits to band together and demand non agricultural zoning for their property so they can turn their property into what they see as a more lucrative personal benefit for themselves. Planning is and should be about benefiting the whole community not small groups of individuals seeking personal benefit.  That is what the Dist rict Court said to a group of property owners outside of Kalispell in 2013 who asked for similar Highway zoning---the court found in ruling against that county zone change that County "Zoning regulations must, as nearly as possible, be made compatible with the zoning ordinances of nearby municipalities."

Thanks for getting involved and helping to shape the future of this great place! And thanks for your support of our work.

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