Friday, May 14, 2021

North Fork planning

| May 3, 2021 6:00 AM

At the last meeting of the North Fork Land Use Advisory Committee (LUAC) it was no surprise that they unanimously accepted the text amendment proposed by the very positive findings of the Flathead County Planning Office. The text amendment passed the LUAC and will now be forwarded to the County Planning Board. They will review it, take public comments and then send it on to the county commissioners who will adopt it or reject it after again reviewing it and allowing public comments.

At any stage items could be added or deleted and it will be September before the process is completed.

The LUAC subcommittee did an excellent job of reaching out to the community in person, by emails and with public meetings, so I was not surprised to find general support at the last LUAC meeting.

Still there will be more public meetings hosted by the LUAC, the county planning board and the county commissioners.

At the last LUAC meeting

there were a variety of questions which were apparently answered satisfactorily. Most folks in attendance seemed to want more restrictions but that was not the intent of the text amendment. That was written to clarify the existing regulations and ensure compliance with the existing neighborhood plan. To change the neighborhood plan would require a much more complex and time-consuming review.

There are landowner concerns that may warrant a review with possible changes to the plan.

Probably the biggest concern is simply more people. More people translates to more buildings and that impacts the wildlife, the river and the possibility of vastly increased commercial activity.

If Glacier Park and the Flathead Forest persist in improving the road but ignoring the impact of recreationists on the land, commercial activity is bound to increase on private land.

More and more we see increased vehicle use of the roads. That is, not only cars and pickups but bigger RVs and towed-tin tepees.

Not to mention ATVs, motorcycles, side-by- sides and now electric bicycles, and more and more river craft. We need more sanitary facilities (toilets), camping areas and most of all law enforcement to control speed on the ever increasingly improvised road. None of these are new concerns. The river use and increased traffic have been topics of concern for decades. It is time something is done before we love this special place to death. What do you think?

Larry Wilson's North Fork Views appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.