Proposed parking lot for Kalispell Ave bad idea for neighborhood

| September 16, 2020 1:00 AM

On Thursday, Sept. 17 at 6 p.m. the Whitefish Planning Board will hold a hearing at City Hall to determine if the property at 312 Kalispell Avenue can be used as a commercial parking lot.  The applicant wishes to put a two-unit townhome on the front half of the lot and 18 parking spaces in the rear.

Do we want Kalispell Avenue to remain a residential street and part of the historic downtown Whitefish residential neighborhood? If you do, then you need to attend this meeting and let the Whitefish Planning Board know how you feel.  Citizen input plays an important role in the decisions of the Whitefish Planning Board.

Allowing the owners of a commercial building to use one, or even half, of a lot on Kalispell Avenue for a commercial use may set a precedent that could determine what happens to all the lots on the west side of Kalispell Avenue.  Zoning law requires that the city treat property owners equally.  Once one owner is allowed to use their property for a commercial use (parking or otherwise), every other owner may have that same right.  Kalispell Avenue could quickly become parking for commercial buildings on Spokane Avenue.

This is the second time owners of the 307 Spokane Building have sought to put a parking lot on this Kalispell Avenue lot.  The first was approximately seven years ago.  At that time the City Council denied their request.  

Whether it’s a half or a whole, it’s still using a lot on Kalispell Avenue for commercial purposes and may well lead to more of the same.

If you cannot attend the meeting, you can email  comments to Dave Taylor, Director of Planning and Building, Whitefish Planning & Building Department, City of Whitefish at dtaylor@cityofwhitefish.org or mail you comments to the Planning & Building Department at 418 E. Second Street, Whitefish, MT 59937.

John Oliver Ellis, Jr., Whitefish