County Lakeshore Regulations Move Forward

Decisions on Whitefish and Lost Coon lakes regulations headed to county commission

By Beacon staff

The Flathead County Planning Board moved forward a recommendation on how the county should handle lakeshore regulations for Whitefish Lake, an issue that the board has been discussing for months.

The regulation amendments are part of the nuts and bolts of Flathead County now having jurisdictional control over the planning area around Whitefish, commonly referred to as the doughnut.

Now that Whitefish and Lost Coon lakes are part of the county jurisdiction, the planning board was given the task of working out lakeshore regulations.

On Dec. 17, the planning board chose Option 2 of a six-option matrix; the board recommends that Flathead County amend the Flathead County Lake and Lakeshore Protection Regulations to include Whitefish and Lost Coon lakes on the list over which the regulations have jurisdiction.

This effectively eliminates the county’s separate Whitefish Area Lake and Lakeshore Protection Regulations for rural property on the lakes, according to planning and zoning director BJ Grieve.

The board’s recommendation also includes plans to review and revise the county’s lake and lakeshore regulations, as the board’s annual work plan allows. This means the revisions will fall into line with other priorities for the board, Grieve said, but the board has acknowledged the importance of the lakeshore regulations.

The Flathead County Commission has the final say, and does not have to follow the planning board’s recommendation. If the commission chooses to take the recommendation, Grieve said the next step is to write a text amendment and possibly rescind the Flathead County Whitefish Area Lake and Lakeshore Protection Regulations.

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