Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Appreciates board decision

| February 22, 2023 2:00 AM

Thank you to the Columbia Falls City-County Planning Board for their thoughtful, knowledgeable and probing questions Tuesday evening, Feb. 14th, that led to their unanimous decision against the proposed 7030 Highway 2 Residences rezone and PUD (planned unit development) on the east edge of the Flathead River and Columbia Falls.

At the close of the public hearing and Board discussion, City Contract Planner, Mr. Mulcahy read his notes for the Board’s findings ­— not fitting the character of the neighborhood, overcrowding, less than 500 feet from the new 772-acre Bad Rock Canyon Wildlife Management Area, impact on wildlife/major wildlife corridor, shallow groundwater and lack of plans for mitigation of impact on wetlands, safety issues, and the traffic study was deficient.  These findings will now be presented to the City Council for their March 20th meeting and public hearing on the proposed development.

We are appreciative of the City Council’s plans to hold a workshop for a public conversation regarding the often referred to Growth Policy, and a history of the River Road area. This is a beginning and hopefully will lead to an effort to engage all parties—citizens, City leaders and decision makers, yes, and developers—in open and honest discussion about growth, the nature and values of Columbia Falls and surrounding area, housing needs and economics.

In making decisions that will have a forever impact on our town and landscape it is important to listen to many perspectives and question sources of information and motivations behind that information. The Upper Flathead Neighborhood Association continues to be motivated by our mission to “promote the protection of natural resources, water quality, bird and wildlife habitat and rural landscapes, and to maintain the quality of life and economic vitality in the Flathead Valley through citizen participation, education, and land use planning for sensible growth.”

And thank you to all who continue to speak out in written and oral comments and attend these long evenings of public hearings and discussion. Together we can guide the future of our town and quality of life.

Shirley Folkwein, Board President

Upper Flathead Neighborhood Association

Columbia Falls

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