Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Delayed decisions

by By Larry Wilson
| November 9, 2022 12:45 PM

I am really disappointed in our Flathead County Commissioners – again. They scheduled a hearing to decide whether to approve or reject the amendments to the North Fork Plan as proposed by the North Fork Land Use Advisory Committee. In a meeting between representatives of the LUAC with the Commision Chairman the Committee reps were informed of the rules for the hearing.

First of all, the LUAC would not be allowed to make a presentation. Second, those wishing to speak would each be limited to three minutes.

The representatives informed the Commission Chair that about 30 North Forkers would likely attend the hearing and were again reassured that everyone would be heard.

The hearing began as scheduled promptly at 9 a.m. There were about 30 North Forkers present – all but one in favor of the proposal.

After 20 minutes of three minute comments the Commissioners continued the meeting until November 29th. Their agenda only set aside 15 minutes for comments, discussion and voting. No questions were asked by Commissioners and no decision was made.

Some North Fork residents had traveled over 70 miles, one way, to attend the meeting which hardly started before it ended.

Everyone there, including the two commissioners present, knew that the community overwhelmingly supported the amendments.

They had dozens of letters, the recorded hearings of the meetings with the County Planning Board plus the testimony during the 15 to 20 minute non-meeting.

Instead, North Forkers are being asked to travel almost a month from now to the county seat, repeat themselves again, and hope that the county government will listen to them.

This should be a simple issue. The North Fork has spent hundreds of hours, held multiple meetings, worked with the county planning staff who had no negative comments. The will of the community is crystal clear and nearly unanimous.

Only negative comments were from the County Planning Board which railed against North Forkers setbacks.

The setbacks have been in place for over 20 years and were not mentioned or changed in the amendments which have been designed to clarify conditional uses and protect property rights.

I have to wonder at the motives of the County Commissioners.

What do you think?

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