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Planning Board recommends approval of mini-storage facility

by JULIE ENGLER
Whitefish Pilot | June 22, 2022 1:00 AM

The Whitefish Planning Board is recommending approval of a conditional use permit that would allow over 100 mini storage units in four buildings to be constructed within Whitefish city limits along Highway 93.

Last week the board heard plans for a mini storage facility to be located to the west of the Army Navy store with an address on Highway 93. Whitefish City Planner Wendy Compton-Ring said that staff recommended approval with the standard conditions and the planning board voted unanimously to recommend the project to the Whitefish City Council.

Cecil Waatti of Rain Dancer LLC is requesting a conditional use permit to construct 122 mini storage units at 6394 Highway 93 on a little over one acre of land. The property is zoned WB-2, or secondary business district, which requires a conditional use permit for mini storage.

According to the staff report, the applicant is proposing to build the units in four buildings. One building is to be located along the north property line, one on the west property line and two in the center of the property. All but the northerly building will have two stories.

Plans also include 35 parking spaces along the southern portion of the parcel as well as another 22 in the center. Access will be via a private access and utility easement toward the north that connects to Highway 93.

Two board members asked about the proximity of the storage units to the proposed Baker Avenue extension.

“It’s to the west of it by quite a ways," Compton-Ring replied. “Maybe 150 feet to the west of it.”

Councilor Chris Gardner wanted to know if a certified arborist is ever called in to check on the plans because once construction begins, roots can be damaged.

Cate Walker of Northwest Design Studio is working on the project and said the proposed use is a good fit for the parcel and that the plan is to use landscaping to provide up to 50% screening of the facility. She added that four existing trees are to be maintained and they are far enough from the construction that it is unlikely they will be damaged.

The board’s recommendation will be forwarded to the Whitefish City Council for a subsequent public hearing and final action on Tuesday, July 5.

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