Right after two-and-a-fifty percent several hours of dialogue at its June 9 conference, the Flathead County Organizing Board voted to indefinitely desk a proposed text amendment to the North Fork zoning laws.
County organizing staff characterized the proposed modification, which residents of the North Fork have been doing the job on since early this 12 months, as “extensive in nature” and reported “the ask for must be considered a complete rewrite of section 3.40.”
Kevin Halsey, a North Fork attorney, spoke on behalf of the North Fork Land Use Advisory Committee (NFLUAC) and the citizens who showed up to the assembly, outlining the ambitions of the rewrite.
“The purpose of our effort from the beginning was to make the regulations far more in line with the neighborhood plan,” Halsey reported, pointing out that the regulations had been prepared in 1998, whilst the North Fork community program is 10 years additional current.
“(Last calendar year) was an attention-grabbing summer season with us,” he extra. “The Forest Service proposed an more variety of special-use permits that would have amplified commercial activities in the North Fork, we had a whole lot of overflow website traffic coming from the countrywide park and had a large amount of new activities proposed — a web site arrived up chatting about a series of festivals and occasions for around 2,000 people today at a time.”
Halsey and scheduling workers also pointed to a series of conditional-use permit purposes from the summer of 2020 that led to conflicting interpretations around North Fork laws. The county board of adjustment denied 3 proposals — for a yoga retreat and camping web sites.
In early 2021, NFLUAC began working on the textual content amendment and formed an advert hoc committee to carry out outreach to group users, satisfy with preparing workers and generate the draft modification. At an April 15 meeting, NFLUAC unanimously voted to forward a beneficial recommendation to the setting up board.
Proposed adjustments to the rules broadly involved alterations to definitions, additional conditional-use permit requirements and the addition of general performance requirements that adhere to the community program.
Specific adjustments incorporated incorporating “work camp” as a conditional use, combining ease store and present/souvenir shop, and changing references to “cabins” to “accommodations,” amid some others.
Extra than 100 penned reviews were been given pertaining to the proposal, and dozens of group associates gave general public comment at the meeting, with the extensive the greater part in favor of adopting the new polices. A couple of dissenting voices characterized the improvements as stripping residence rights from upcoming landowners and restricting the capability for new inhabitants to transfer to the North Fork.
Even though users of the planning board thoroughly thanked NFLUAC and the North Fork community for their time, exertion and dedication to the rewrite, they pointed out a lengthy record of troubles with the text of the proposed rewrite.
“These [regulations] are long, and as this kind of, they can not be capricious and they just cannot be arbitrary,” board member Greg Stevens stated. “And some of these factors to me are sure edging on capricious — there is no real cause for them — and they are arbitrary there is no definitions. So I’m receiving real nervous about what we are placing on the county with all this stuff.
Board member Elliot Adams agreed, including that the rules appeared to strip the residence legal rights of landowners, as nicely as restrict a huge swath of probable advancement.
A single piece Adams pointed to was a line stating that ease retailers/souvenir shops cannot be situated inside of 6,500 feet of “properties that are or could be applied as personal residence.”
“That’s above a mile absent,” Adams claimed. “You just claimed there is no usefulness outlets allowed any place in the North Fork.”
Board Chair Jeff Larsen pointed to other definitions, or absence of definitions, as a purpose for his hesitancy to go forward with the alterations. As an case in point, the modification alterations the definition of church to preclude megachurches, but doesn’t provide a definition of megachurch.
“When you [use] words and phrases like sizeable or considerable … it’s fairly tricky,” he claimed. “If you request 10 people today on the exact piece of house what’s significant or major, you are going to probable get 10 various responses.”
The board voted 7-1 to indefinitely desk the discussion, alternatively than ahead a damaging suggestion to the county commission, in purchase to give the North Fork community members a opportunity to rewrite their proposal and resubmit it at a afterwards date.
“You’ve completed some wonderful items and labored difficult on it,” Larsen said. “But I feel it is an interpretation nightmare.”