A new 76-room, three-story hotel is being proposed on the south entrance of Whitefish.
The city of Whitefish will review a request from Larry Lambert of Lambert Hotels to develop a 20,000-square-foot Hampton Inn & Suites at 6340 U.S. Highway 93 South. The front portion of the property is occupied by the former Wendy’s restaurant while the vast majority of the remaining lot sits undeveloped.
The proposed hotel would include a swimming pool, breakfast area, conference room, workout gym and virtual golf room, according to a city staff report detailing the proposal. The Whitefish City-County Planning Board unanimously approved the initial request and the city council is holding a public hearing April 7 at 7 p.m. The city’s architectural review committee will further review the proposal April 1.
Lambert is asking the city for a zoning deviation because the proposed hotel would slightly exceed the city’s zoning standards. The city allows for building to be 35-feet high; the Hampton Inn roof would reach 31 feet but a few design features would slightly surpass the city’s threshold to avoid “a plain flat roof,” according to planning documents.
The proposed lot also features a section of land that is designated residential, and the Hampton would need an approval from the city to operate commercially in that area. In exchange for the deviations, Lambert would permit a future extension of Baker Avenue to be public property and used as a public right-of-way, as the city’s long-range transportation plan hopes to do.
Lambert held a public meeting last week gathering input from residents and explaining his goals behind the project.
The hotel would sit back from the U.S. Highway 93 property lines in order to provide open space as an attractive feature of the development, according to planning documents. Some of the usable open space areas of the project include a patio area outside the pool and pedestrian connections from the hotel to the sidewalks.
This building will be among the tallest in its neighborhood and Lambert said he plans to reduce the footprint of the building by making it “an interesting shape as opposed to a linear building and pushing the building back from the highway right-of-way as efforts to have the building fit into the neighborhood,” according to planning documents. Sixty-three percent of the property will remain open space, more than twice the required amount.
Lambert’s company, based in Missoula, operates five other hotels across the state.
The new hotel could break ground this spring.
• Impact fees for new development will be increased after the city council voted 5-4 to approve the hike. Fees will increase $3,258 for each equivalent residential unit for wastewater services. Councilors Randy Kenyon, Jim Atkinson, Kari Gabriel, Wayne Saverud and Sandy Carlson voted in support of the increase while Mayor Mark Johnson and councilors Chad Graham, Phil Guiffrida and Tim Kluesner were opposed.
• The city is seeking interested residents who want to serve on advisory boards and committees. Letters of interest must be received by 5 p.m., April 18. The openings are for: Board of Adjustment (Must be a resident of Kalispell); Conrad Mansion Board (must be a resident or own property within Kalispell); Economic Revolving Loan Committee (no specific residency requirement, however, strong financial background preferred); Impact Fee Committee (must be a property owner, resident or actively engaged in business within Kalispell); Parking Advisory Board (must be electors of the city or own real property within the parking district); Planning Board (must be a resident of Kalispell); Police Advisory Board (must be a resident or own property within Kalispell); Street Tree Committee (members must reside within the Kalispell Growth Policy area); Technical Advisory Committee (must be a resident of Kalispell); Urban Renewal Agency Board (must be a resident or own property within Kalispell).
• The council returned its attention to the municipal airport at a work session on Monday night after the Beacon went to print. City staff reviewed the 1996 Urban Renewal Plan and which direction the city should take with the contentious airport.
• The county’s Election Department is seeking residents to serve as election judges to run polling places and counting centers on Election Day. As an election judge in Montana, participants will help ensure the state’s elections remain secure, fair, accurate and accessible to all voters. Responsibilities would be vast and include supervising the conduct inside polling places and helping Montanans cast their ballot both privately and independently. Interested residents who are 18 years or older and a registered voter should contact the Flathead County Election Department at 758-5536.
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