Kalispell City Council on Monday night held several votes that clear the path forward for a 50-acre, 330-site recreational vehicle park in South Kalispell.
Preliminary approval for the Montana Base Camp RV Park required a series of four votes. The first was to amend the growth policy to allow for mixed-use zoning in the area, which was the subject of a public hearing at an August council meeting that garnered little public feedback.
The second vote was to annex a 4.27-acre parcel of land from Flathead County that would form a small portion of the RV park. The third was to apply the appropriate zoning designation, B-2, to make the project possible. The final vote was to offer preliminary plat approval for phase one of the project, which would constitute 62 RV spaces.
All of the votes passed.
The Florida-based development companies behind the project are Montana Basecamp, Inc. and Basecamp Outpost, LLC.
The proposed lot is currently undeveloped, with the Great Northern Historical bike trail running along the western and southern boundary, and a Montana Department of Transportation bike trail running along the northern boundary, which separates it from the U.S. 93 bypass.
The developers said its location at the sound end of town was ideal because of its proximity to bike paths that would allow campers to exercise and travel to downtown Kalispell without hauling their RVs.
Council Member Phil Guiffrida said before the final vote that he was disappointed the developers had already constructed a website for their property that included a link for booking reservations.
He said he had heard from others who thought that might dissuade the public from giving their opinion on the project because it would appear to be a done deal. The website does contain a link to booking reservations, but the booking calendar has every date listed as unavailable through May 1 of next year.
“I just want to make sure that everyone understands, and developers understand, that we have a public process,” Guiffrida said. “I don’t want the public or our citizens in Kalispell to think that decisions have been made before it has gone through this governing body ... We don’t give the impression that this is a done deal, that palms have been greased or backroom deals have been done.”
Mayor Mark Johnson and councilor Sandy Carlson were not at the meeting. Council Member Chad Graham chaired the meeting in the mayor’s absence.
Also at Monday’s meeting:
• The council voted to adopt an update to the 2018 Water Facility Plan. Public Works Director Suzie Turner said they had been working on the update since last year, and it provided a guide for the capital improvements needed to meet the city’s future water needs using projected growth rates over the next 20 years.
• The council voted to hold a public hearing at their next regular meeting on a growth policy amendment for the Eagle Valley Ranch subdivision of about 41 acres. The amendment would change the area from suburban residential to urban mixed-use.
• The council approved a motion to rezone a 17-acre portion of the Silverbrook development from an R-4 that allowed for two-family residential dwellings to an RA-1, which allows for apartment buildings. Some people who live nearby spoke against the resolution, saying they bought their homes with certain expectations. Others said they thought the addition of more apartments could help increase affordable housing options in the area. The resolution passed unanimously.
Reporter Peregrine Frissell can be reached at (406) 758-4438 or firstname.lastname@example.org.