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County planning board looks at rezone on 290 acres near Whitefish

by HEIDI DESCH
Daily Inter Lake | April 13, 2022 1:00 AM

A pair of property owners have submitted a request to Flathead County to rezone just over 290 acres of property outside of Whitefish.

The request is to rezone the properties, located on Montana 40 just east of the U.S. 93 intersection, from SAG-10 to SAG-5. The properties currently include three residences along with outbuildings, but if the rezone is approved they could be developed with up to about 58 lots.

The Flathead County Planning Board will consider the request, along with six other public hearings including the 40-lot subdivision, at its meeting on Wednesday, April 13 at 6 p.m. The planning board meets on the second floor of the South Campus Building, at 40 11th Street W in Kalispell.

Separate property owners — David and Anita Kauffman and Forrest Hills Inc. — are seeking the zone change for the large swath of land. The Kauffmans own 30 acres on the south side of Montana 40, while Forrest Hills owns about 261 acres split between two chunks, one that surrounds the Kauffman property in a sort of U-shape and a second piece to the north sandwiched between Montana 40 and the Smith Fields sports complex.

The properties now, besides the residences, are a combination of forest, open space and agricultural uses. There are three small wetlands on the property, according to the application.

The zoning of SAG-10 allows for a minimum lot size of 10 acres, while SAG-5 allows for a minimum lot size of 5 acres. The current zoning would allow for 29 lots. The zone change could result in about 58 lots not taking into account the acreage that would be needed for internal subdivision roads, according to the planning department staff report.

“The applicants would like to be able to subdivide in the future to a density which is more in keeping with the current and future development in the area by changing the zoning designation…,” the application states. The scenic corridor overlay along Montana 40 would remain on the properties, which aims to protect the scenic views along the highway by regulating the use of outdoor advertising signs and billboards.

The property is bordered on the south and east by SAG-10, and also to the east is R-2.5 and to the west is SAG-5 zoning. The tracts within the R-2.5 zoning designation average 2.69 acres with the majority of the tracts around one acre.

The proposed zoning would allow for both small-scale agriculture and residential use on the property.

The existing residences are served by individual sewer and water. Any new residence would also be served by individual sewer and water services, which would be subject to approval by the Flathead City-County Health Department and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality. If development occurs, the lots adjacent to the Whitefish city limits may require annexation and connection to city utilities depending on the proximity to city services, according to the application.

ALSO ON the planning board agenda, is a list of other public hearings.

• A subdivision request from the Mountain View Development is also on the agenda seeking a preliminary plat for Holbrook Estates. The proposal would create 40 residential lots on 56.73 acres east of Evergreen south of Montana 35. The subdivision would be accessed from Montana 35 and Holt Stage.

• Whitefish Land Surveying, on behalf of Conor and Stephanie Watson, is requesting a zone change on property located at 1411 Prairie View Road near Whitefish from SAG-10 to SAG-5. The total acreage involved is about 10 acres.

• Sam Cordi Land Surveying, on behalf of Jocelyn Wallace, is requesting a zone change for properties at 2305 Dillon Road near Columbia Falls from AG-20 and SAG-10 to SAG-5. The total acreage involved is about 20 acres.

• Sands Surveying, Inc., on behalf of Brent Young and Garrett T. Yarde, is requesting a zone change on property located at 403 Helena Flats Road near Kalispell from SAG-10 to R-2. The total acreage is 15.44 acres.

• A request from multiple landowners with technical assistance from Rick Breckenridge to create a new zoning district called the Parking Zoning District for property at 489 River Bend Drive in West Glacier. The proposed district would change the zoning on about eight acres from middle canyon to suburban residential.

• A request from Emmet C. Owens III for preliminary plat approval for Montana Personal Warehouse I to create 24 self-storage condo units on 2.241 acres at 1032 Prospector Trail near Kalispell.

The meeting is also available through Zoom. For more information, visit the https://flathead.mt.gov/planning_zoning/events.php