On the Agenda: Vote Expected on Critical Areas Ordinance

By Beacon Staff

It’s time for the Whitefish City Council to vote on the critical areas ordinance.

At a meeting beginning at 7:10 p.m. on Tuesday evening, the council will hold its final public hearing on the complex storm water drainage law. A vote is expected on the ordinance’s first reading. The meeting will be held at City Hall.

The controversial ordinance first became an issue more than years ago when the city adopted a temporary drainage ordinance. Since then, dozens of meetings, hearings and workshop sessions have been held to hammer out a permanent law. Through the cooperation of city officials and hired consultants, utilizing public input, the ordinance has made it to the final stages, though not without concern still surrounding it.

Among the concerns are setback stipulations, slope mandates for development, the costs associated with implementing and enforcing the law, and various elements in the ordinance’s language. The council addressed these concerns in meetings throughout January.

At the meeting, the council will also address a letter from County Commissioner Gary Hall requesting that the city remove extraterritorial residents from the critical areas ordinance’s jurisdiction. Also, the council will hear from City Manager Gary Marks as he reports on possible solutions for representation for extraterritorial residents and the consolidation of 911 dispatch services.

Before the meeting, the council will hold a work session to address reports from Sue Ann Grogan and Lynn Moon concerning affordable housing. The session begins at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.