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City OK’s zone change for horse ranch

| May 10, 2023 6:50 AM

By CHRIS PETERSON

Hungry Horse News

The Columbia Falls City Council last week approved a zone change to allow for a horse-boarding business and also approved a minor subdivision.

Both requests were in the neighborhood off Kokanee Bend Road.

In the first matter, council approved a zone change request by Eric Christianson who was seeking a zone change on his 13.7 farm on Jorgenson Trail from from Suburban Agricultural 5 (minimum 5 acre lot) to Suburban Agricultural 10 (minimum 10-acre lot), because he wants to board and breed horses for extra income, according to his application to the planning board.

The farm is located north of Kokanee Bend Drive and is just within the city’s planning jurisdiction.

The zone change would allows for the commercial livestock use on the property, which is not allowed under the SAG-5 zoning.

Christianson has already built a barn on the land. He noted in his application that the zone change request is similar to adjacent properties in the area, which are generally large lots on or close to the Flathead River.

The council approved the zone change unanimously, though some neighbors objected to the potential noise and odor associated with commercial horse boarding operations. They claimed the properties to the north and east were primarily residential in nature, not commercial.

Separately, council approved a minor subdivision off Kokanee Bend Drive submitted by Terry A. Wolfe.

In that case, Wolfe is dividing 10 acres in half to make two 5-acre lots. One lot already has a home on it. The second lot is pasture.

A variance was given so Wolfe does not have to pave about 80 feet of Kokanee Bend Drive, which is a private road. The road is currently dirt along its entire length and paving 80 feet wouldn’t accomplish much, though it was called for under the zoning regulations.