Joint board nears end of development code rewrite
Whether it was a plea from Mayor Heather Knutson for area residents to be more involved in their local government or letters sent on Aug. 8 to people on the west shore regarding zoning next to U.S. Highway 93, the Aug. 26 city/county planning board meeting was well attended. Approximately 35 people filled the City of Polson Commission Chambers and the City/County Planning Board discussed the zoning net.
Most of the attendees who spoke were against the idea of a proposed zoning change from commercial to rural residential on Sunnyslope hill, north of Polson along Highway 93.
Bill Morrow, who owns Big Bear Storage, said if the property was zoned rural residential, he wouldn’t be able to expand his business.
“I invested last September so I could make it a bigger business,” Morrow said.
Resident Gail Brueggeman also spoke.
“One of my biggest concerns is the water table,” she said. Her neighbor’s pond and her pond have already dried up.
Stating there were 189 properties listed for sale in Polson, Brueggeman asked, “So why do we need this expansion for zoning and city? … Why does it need to affect us up to four miles out? From my point of view, I’m opposed. I don’t see the need for it.”
Answering a question on a timeline for finishing the Polson Development Code update,
Joel Nelson, Land Solution L.L.C., said the planning board probably would wrap it up in September, redraft and make changes through October and then finish the project in early winter. The final stages will require substantial public notice for public meetings and public input.
Another meeting on Sept. 9 will give other landowners west of Polson a chance to speak on the issues.
City/county planning board member Dennis DeVries suggested one more work session “where we rehash everything.”
Chair Tim McGinnis asked if the board was comfortable combining a rehash of changes suggested for the Polson Development Code and a summary, and then getting it down to draft form at the Sept. 9 meeting. The board agreed and the meeting was adjourned.