On the Agenda: Whitefish Response to Court Ruling, Kalispell Government Access Channel

By Beacon Staff

The Whitefish City Council has a packed agenda at tonight’s 7:10 p.m. meeting, deciding how to react to a recent court ruling against the city, discussing two large downtown improvement projects and looking at the budget overview for fiscal year 2008-2009, among other items.

In Flathead County District Court last week, Judge Katherine Curtis denied a preliminary injunction request from the City Attorney John Phelps that would have prevented the county from rescinding an interlocal planning agreement. With Curtis’s ruling, the city will retain land-use authority over the two-mile zone surrounding the city, often called the planning doughnut, until the county drafts a growth policy to govern the area. At which time, the county will take over.

The council will discuss its legal options tonight.

Also, councilors will review a report from City Manager Gary Marks on alternatives to a parking garage, which has been proposed as part of a downtown improvements project. The three-level parking garage, proposed along Spokane Avenue and Second Street, would add more than 200 parking spaces to downtown. At a previous meeting, after concerns were expressed about the garage, Councilor Nick Palmer asked Marks to provide alternative options for parking solutions.

Also to be discussed:

-Recommendation from city staff to proceed with a detailed engineering design for a street improvement project along Central Avenue and First and Third Streets
-Preliminary fiscal year 2008-2009 budget overview
-Request from Swift Creek Cabins, LLC, to amend to Whitefish City-County Growth Policy
-Request from Granite Ventures, Inc., to amend the Whitefish City-County Growth Policy


Kalispell City Council meets tonight at 7 p.m. in the new chambers at 201 First Avenue East. Topping the agenda will be a vote to implement the policy for the Government Access Channel 9.

This government access channel will provide enhanced coverage of locally elected boards, commissions and councils, including that of Flathead County and other area municipalities. The channel would also provide information in the event of an emergency. Copies of televised programming will be available on DVD for $15. Political advertising would not be allowed on the channel.

The city expects the government access channel to earn a franchise fee of $155,000, and require $38,689 in operating costs, leaving $116,311to go into the general fund. The city anticipates taking in an additional $19,327 through outside contracts with other agencies.

Also on the agenda tonight:

A vote to purchase the Fire Place Shop on U.S. Highway 93 south to allow for future expansion of the airport a cost of $332,000 for 0.55 acre.

Council will vote on $126,477 in amendments to the 2007-2008 fiscal year budget, paying out additional funds for such items as increased fuel costs and additional rent for some departments due to delays moving into the new city hall.

Council will also consider the applicants for a large number of board appointments for the following openings: three open seats on the Board of Adjustments; one opening for the Architectural Review Committee; two openings on the Conrad Mansion Board of Directors; two openings on the Economic Development Revolving Loan Committee; two openings on the Impact Fee Committee; two openings on the Parking Commission; four openings on the Planning Board and Zoning Commission; one open seat on the Police Commission.