Concerned with apartment project changing neighborhood

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I am one of many concerned residents of what has been lovingly referred to as “Old Town Whitefish,” “The Historic Muldown Neighborhood,” or simply “Town.”

The developer Central Ave WF has submitted a request for an administrative conditional use permit to develop two 18-unit apartment buildings, for a total of 36 units, located on Seventh Street and Park Avenue. The residents of our neighborhood are all too familiar with the traffic congestion that is the result of a limited access “one way in, one way out” area which already features a high school, an expanding elementary school, a soon to be expanded Whitefish Christian Academy, four preschools, a nursing home, a church, and many private homes and condos. Yet we love it here and continue to invest in our homes and enjoy our active lives.

The two lots, zoned WR-4, are allowed one to seven units without anything other than a building permit, and no one is saying that those kinds of numbers would be unreasonable. But under the Legacy Homes provision, the developer can build eight to 18 units per lot (up to 36 units total) by applying for an administrative CUP. If the project meets all requirements the Zoning Administrator Dave Taylor can approve it without any public hearing before the planning board or City Council.

We believe that this particular development of 36 apartments with the potential of multiple residents per unit is not an appropriate candidate for the administrative CUP process. We are aware that a neighborhood “traffic study” was completed this last September which concluded that 36 units would have no traffic impact on an already congested area. Every one of us in the neighborhood that drives performs their own traffic study on a daily basis, and I wonder if our results agree...

Every member of the Whitefish community with school-aged children should be aware of and concerned about this proposed development. We believe that the unit size of the project is excessive for the neighborhood, and that it will have a very real and adverse impact on the safety of those school children, the character of the neighborhood, and the already maxed out traffic conditions.

We call on every concerned Whitefish community resident to submit their questions, comments, and views to the Whitefish Planning Department, PO Box 158, Whitefish, Montana 59937, or by phone 406-863-2410, fax, 406-863-2409 or better yet email at wcompton-ring@cityofwhitefish.org.

The deadline for comment is this Friday, Nov. 22 by 5 p.m.

Rob Akey, Whitefish

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