Whitefish looks at architectural standards revamp

September 3, 2018

The Whitefish City Council will begin the process of mulling over changes to the city’s mandatory architectural-review standards during a work session on Tuesday, Sept. 4.

Concerns have been raised about follow-up with approved plans, according to a memorandum sent by the Architectural Review Committee to the council. Currently the committee reviews and approves building elevations, materials and colors, after which an applicant can then apply for a building permit.

If the city staff finds a discrepancy, the committee is alerted and the matter is scheduled before the committee. If the changes are minor, staff will authorize, in coordination with the committee chair, to allow the project to move forward,” the memo explained.

“We have also discussed the idea of bonding, which may not be popular,” the memo advised. “But the applicant, at the time of building permit, would provide the city a bond that would be released once the building is complete and meets the Architectural Review Committee approval.”

The committee is asking the council to consider amendments to the city’s architectural standards to address concerns in seven specific areas:

• Adding standards for a mock-up, generally for very large buildings.

• Standards for projects with multiple buildings.

• Standards for accessory commercial buildings.

• Refinement of townhouse/duplex/triplex standards.

• Enforcement of architectural standards.

• Downtown plan implementation (maintaining the form, scale and character of existing historic buildings and making new buildings compatible with existing buildings).

• U.S. 93 South corridor.

In other business, the council will hold a public hearing on a request by Carolina Homes for approval of a nine-lot subdivision just under 1 acre on the west side of Whitefish Avenue. The site is undeveloped and zoned two-family residential.

A request from Homeword Inc. to rezone 2 acres at 530 Edgewood place has been postponed to the Sept. 17 council meeting.

The council will consider future projected water and sewer rate increases as part of ongoing preparation for sewer-facility upgrades that are anticipated to cost $18 million. Once the council officially orders the rate hearing process to begin, a direct mailing explaining the proposed increases will be sent to city utility customers, and legal notices will be published in advance of a planned Oct. 1 hearing.

A cost-of-service analysis revealed that irrigation user classes aren’t generating revenue in line with the cost of irrigation water use. Also, users in the high-pressure zone areas aren’t generating enough money to cover the costs. The wastewater analysis showed mixed results, with one user class generating more money than the costs, and other user classes generating revenue at a percentage less than the associated cost.

The work session begins at 6 p.m., followed by the regular council meeting at 7:10 p.m.; both meetings are at Whitefish City Hall.

Features Editor Lynnette Hintze may be reached at 758-4421 or lhintze@dailyinterlake.com.

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