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Evergreen mixed-use subdivision tops planning agenda

January 9, 2019 GMT

A proposal to create a commercial and residential development south of Evergreen Junior High School tops the Flathead County Planning Board agenda tonight.

Evergreen Business Center Inc. is asking for preliminary plat approval of Hidden Buck Meadows, which would include three commercial and 15 residential duplex lots on just over 7 acres off U.S. 2. The property is zoned general business and is located within the Evergreen Enterprise Overlay zone that allows business diversification in the Evergreen commercial corridor. The owner is requesting a zone change to community business zoning and a conditional-use permit for the duplex lots.

Evergreen Business Center also is asking for a variance from county subdivision regulations that requires a secondary primary access roads. Plans for Hidden Buck Meadows also include a pedestrian path. The Planning Board will hold a public hearing on the proposed development.

Also on the public hearing agenda is a request from David and Ruth Fretz for preliminary plat approval of Redtail Ridge, which would create four light industrial/commercial lots on 24.24 acres at 3945 and 3947 U.S. 93 N., near the Flathead County landfill.

The county Planning Office is asking the board to make a recommendation on a proposed revision to county lake and lakeshore protection regulations regarding the docking of boats on Flathead Lake.

The proposed text amendment would allow boats to be tied up on both sides of docks on the lake, whereas boats currently are only allowed to dock on one side.

The county commissioners recently considered the idea of amending regulations, citing in a report how the dual-side docking could be allowed so long as “the result did not create any kind of navigation hazard or otherwise contradict other policy criteria outlined in the lake and lakeshore regulations.”

The planning staff report noted lakeshore protection regulations are in place to “protect the fragile, pristine character of Flathead County’s lakes and recognize that the ecosystem of these lakes are inseparably intertwined with adjacent riparian corridor and upland areas.” The regulations also “protect and conserve” lakeshore properties and the lake’s scenic and resource values used by residents and visitors.

According to the staff report, the proposed docking change would alleviate certain enforcement issues on the lake. For instance, despite restrictions allowing only single-side docking, boat tours conducted mostly throughout the summer season usually lead to boats being tied up on both sides of a dock regardless of regulations. The report also addressed concerns over whether the proposed docking regulation would lead to an overcrowding of the lake’s shoreline, saying the shoreline would not be impacted because docks are required to be at least 25 feet from riparian boundaries.

The lakeshore protection zone is defined as the land area located within 20 horizontal feet of the perimeter of the lake when the lake is at the mean annual high water elevation. The zone includes adjacent wetlands as well.

The Planning Board meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday (tonight) in the second-floor conference room of the South Campus Building, 40 11th St. W., Suite 200, in Kalispell.

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