On The Agenda: Community Land Trusts, Jacobson’s Replacement

By Beacon Staff

Kalispell City Council meets tonight at 7 p.m. to assess several development-related issues. Topping the agenda is a request to annex and zone 10 acres on the south side of Three Mile Drive, just west of the intersection with North Riding Road.

New Vistas Assisted Living is requesting zoning for low-density residential apartments on the Three Mile Drive property.

Also on the agenda, Tom German is requesting a letter of support from the council as part of a tax credit financing application for 33 living units on the north side of Appleway Drive. The council has approved a motion authorizing Mayor Pam Kennedy to affirm the need for affordable housing projects in the community.

Kellie Danielson, director of the city’s Community and Economic Development Department has spearheaded a revitalization plan for the central core of Kalispell, with a kind of corridor park surrounded by shops, dwellings and pedestrian areas running through the city along the railroad tracks, once those tracks are eventually removed and Cenex operates out of Evergreen. The city staff is asking the council to forward the plan to the Planning Board for comments.

After the meeting, at a work session where no formal votes are allowed, national expert Michael Brown will give a presentation to the council on community land trusts as a way to offer affordable housing to the Flathead’s workforce. A community land trust is a system by which a person can purchase a home while a nonprofit trust maintains ownership of the land beneath, bringing down the cost of the housing. Danielson’s office, along with Northwest Montana Human Resources, have been exploring the feasibility of setting up a trust, and are using Brown’s input to do so. They are also exploring possible federal funding through the Housing and Urban Development department and its Neighborhood Stabilization Plan.


At a work session tonight, the Whitefish City Council will conduct interviews with three candidates vying for the council seat left behind by Shirley Jacobson, who recently retired.

The three candidates are Fred Jones, Frank Sweeney and John Murdock. The work session begins at 6:15 p.m. at City Hall and is immediately followed by a regularly scheduled 7:10 p.m. meeting to discuss other city matters.

Among the issues to be discussed at the 7:10 meeting is the final approval of a dog park that has been in discussion for years. If the council votes to approve the park, it will finalize an agreement between the city and a group called the Whitefish Animal Group (WAG). The park would be part of the Armory Park master plan.

Also to be discussed:

-Ordinance to abandon an un-constructed public highway
-Replacements for seats on volunteer committees that were previously held by Jacobson
-Resolution authorizing the expenditure of funds from the Trail Runs Through It trust fund for a trail easement that is to be acquired by Michael Goguen from the state’s DNRC