Bigfork Bridge Faces Another Roadblock

By Beacon Staff

The Bigfork landowner building a bridge from the shoreline of a property on Flathead Lake has pulled a request to amend the project’s permit, due to a placement issue with the structure.

Jolene Dugan, the landowner, represented by her father, Roger Sortino, applied for the permit amendment with the Flathead County Planning and Zoning Office on April 28.

The bridge project has become controversial in recent months, despite having been approved by the Flathead County Commission in 2011.
The landowners planned that the bridge, which would be used to restore access to a portion of private property that was once a spit but is now an island in the lake, would be 481 feet long and 16 feet wide.

But construction was put on hold after the county issued a stop-work order when the planning office was informed that the bridge would need to be longer after crews had to navigate around some obstacles.

The amended permit was scheduled to go in front of the Flathead County Commission for approval on May 22, but it was pulled from discussion when information came to light that the bridge is actually spanning across a property line, possibly making it into a road in the eyes of the planning department, and roads are forbidden in the lakeshore protection zone.

The location of the bridge now also violates the setbacks for structures in the lakeshore protection zone, the planning office stated.

The landowner made an adjustment to the boundary line last fall, affecting the land the bridge sits on as currently permitted.

“(The permit applicant) was informed that his boundary line adjustment last year effectively made both the originally permitted location of the bridge as well as the proposed amended location non-compliant with the regulations,” the planning office stated.

Further work on the project will be postponed until the situation is sorted.

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