County to Consider Formal Creation of Doughnut Zones

Feb. 11 meeting will include discussion and a vote on the county's intent for zoning around Whitefish

By Beacon staff

On Feb. 11, the Flathead County Commission will discuss adopting permanent text amendments and the creation of a new zoning district to account for the land surrounding the city of Whitefish that is now under county regulation.

The land, referred to as the doughnut, came under county control after a state Supreme Court decision in 2014. Not long after the court decision, the county enacted interim zoning for the land that was previously zoned under Whitefish regulations.

Under emergency zoning, the county put in place the zones that matched most closely to those that Whitefish had put in place while drawing up a new zoning map and text amendments for the area.

Since then, the county has held numerous meetings about the proposed zone and text amendments, leading up to the Feb. 11 meeting. During that meeting, the commission is scheduled to discuss the issue, as well as consider adopting a resolution of intent for the text amendments to the Flathead County Zoning Regulations as well as creating the Rural Whitefish Zoning District.

A resolution of intent indicates the direction the commission would like to go with a certain issue, and by passing one, the county typically starts a comment period on the issue. This means the Feb. 11 vote won’t be the final decision on the amendments and new zoning district, but the process is drawing to a close.

The commission is scheduled to meet at 10:30 a.m. at its office in Kalispell to discuss the resolutions of intent. For more information, visit www.flathead.mt.gov.

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