Waterski Subdivision Given Approval from County

Developer would need permit before waterskiing could begin

The Flathead County Commission gave its approval to the preliminary plat for a subdivision plan that includes two manmade waterski lakes, and added some extra oversight provisions to the project.

Rosewater Subdivision would be built along Rose Crossing in Evergreen, and would include 58 lots, broken up into 46 single-family residence lots and 12 townhouse lots. The entire subdivision would encompass 154 acres.

The subdivision would be built around a 27-acre manmade lake, which developer Bill Tanner said would be split into two sections and used for waterskiing.

The commission’s 2-1 vote to approve the subdivision was the second time the commissioners had seen the subdivision’s plans. On March 25, the commission voted to send the plan back to the Flathead County Planning Board over concerns about potential noise pollution, lake liner leakage and long-term maintenance and repair.

Once the planning board met on May 8, they decided to forward the project back to the commission with a recommendation for approval, along with one new finding of fact regarding a conditional use permit (CUP) required to use the lake for waterskiing and amended a condition regarding water monitoring.

In the process of approving the plat during its June 3 hearing, the county commission added some oversight provisions to the plat. The first will attempt to mitigate nuisance impacts from waterskiing, mimicking time limitations set on public lakes for the sport. Waterskiing and other boat-towed recreation will not be allowed on the Rosewater lakes between sunset and sunrise.

The second change was that the six water-monitoring wells will all have electric monitoring sensors, instead of the two initially proposed.

The Rosewater project has received some negative feedback from neighboring property owners who are concerned about the noise levels created by waterskiing boats, as well as fears that any potential leakage from the lake could contaminate groundwater or run into the nearby Whitefish River.

The development would sit above a perched aquifer, and comments opposing the project contended that the water from the lake – which would include a blue dye to block sunlight and thus inhibit plant life – would be too polluted for the environment.

The developer’s water consultant has stated that the lake would likely get almost fully replenished each year due to water turnover with on-location irrigation and evaporation, and that the water would not be stagnant and polluted, as the neighbors fear.

According to the Flathead County Planning and Zoning Department, the developer could potentially begin construction on the lakes without the CUP, but the CUP would become necessary before any waterskiing activity could begin in the manmade waterway.

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