AP NEWS

New subdivisions, zoning requests top heavy agenda

April 9, 2019

The Flathead County Planning Board has a full agenda on Wednesday, with a request for preliminary-plat approval of a 10-lot subdivision spanning about 213 acres in the West Valley topping the list of public hearings.

The proposed West Valley subdivision is located on the southwest corner of Church Drive and Farm to Market Road. According to the Planning Office staff report, property owners John and Molly Schwarz plan to create 10 residential lots, with the average lot size at 21.32 acres.

The property is currently zoned WV West Valley. Zoning regulations within the district state all properties in the area are “eligible for a residential density of one dwelling per 20 acres.”

According to the staff report, no public comments regarding the proposal had been received at the time the report was written in late March.

A second request for preliminary-plat approval comes from Gregory Speasl for the Bear Track Subdivision - a proposal to create three residential lots on a little more than 20 acres located less than 1 mile east of Old Highway 2 in Coram, at 470 Kuzmic Lane. The subject property is currently not zoned and the land is vacant.

According to the staff report, Montana Department Fish, Wildlife and Parks opposes the subdivision proposal. The department submitted a four-page comment stating the subdivision would have “negative effects” on local species including Canadian lynx, black bears, mountain lions and white-tailed deer. The department continued, commenting the “development of forested areas impacts wildlife movement corridors which can negatively impact long-term survival of wildlife species.”

Speasl’s request isn’t the only item on the agenda that has received comments of concern from the state Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

The board also will review a request from Big Mountain Development Corp. for preliminary-plat approval for Northern Lights West Phase 3 - a subdivision proposal to create seven single-family residential lots on an approximately 12-acre tract at 427 Northern Lights Drive in Whitefish. The property is deemed vacant forest lands and is zoned Big Mountain Resort Residential.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks commented “we anticipate that the development of this subdivision will result in increased levels of human-wildlife conflicts.” According to the report, the proposed development is located near Hell Roaring Creek drainage, a popular habitat for bears, mountain lions, wolves, bobcats and other wildlife.

The planning Board will also consider several zone-change requests in the Lower Side Zoning District.

One request within the district is a proposal to change a 160-acre property, located along Soler Run near Kalispell, from AG-40 agricultural to AS-20, which would drop the minimum lot size from 40 to 20 acres. According to the application, the amendment request, made by Sands Surveying Inc. on behalf of Robert Spoklie, is “to have the potential to subdivide the property in the future.” The subject property is comprised of three tracts, all of which are currently undeveloped.

Another request within the Lower Side Zoning District, made by Marquardt Surveying on behalf of Georgia Otten, is proposing an 18.35-acre property be changed from ’SAG-5 Suburban Agricultural to R-1 Suburban Residential. The property is located along Foy’s Lake Road near Kalispell. According to the application, the reason for the zone change is to allow new owners of the property to “have more options for developing the property.”

The board meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the second floor conference room of the South Campus Building at 40 11th St. West in Kalispell. More staff reports and other information regarding agenda items can be found online at flathead.mt.gov/planning_zoning

Reporter Kianna Gardner can be reached at 758-4439 or kgardner@dailyinterlake.com