County Board Rejects KGEZ Tower Proposal for West Valley

The Board of Adjustment agreed with a resident’s appeal against the project

By Molly Priddy

The Flathead County Board of Adjustment sided with an appeal from a West Valley resident opposing radio station KGEZ’s attempt to build two broadcast towers in West Valley.

The proposal to build new towers at the intersection of Farm to Market Road and Clark Drive prompted opposition from some West Valley residents who said the towers would negatively impact property values and violate zoning standards.

The KGEZ radio towers soar 325 feet into the air, and currently reside in Kalispell’s south side. KGEZ owner John Hendricks worked out a tentative deal to build the station’s towers in a new location in West Valley; the deal would have required a conditional use permit from the county to build the towers and the accompanying equipment on the proposed 117 acres of land.

Linda Newgard, a resident of Clark Drive in West Valley, appealed the fact that the tower proposal made it this far, saying in a June 2 letter to the board that Mussman’s decision that there isn’t a distinction between commercial and non-commercial communication towers.

In her appeal, Newgard said the West Valley Neighborhood Plan doesn’t allow for such commercial uses.

The board agreed with Newgard’s appeal, meaning the county erred when accepting the application for the proposed towers.

“The BOA determined that we were incorrect in accepting that application,” Flathead County Planning Director Mark Mussman said.

Since the board agreed with Newgard, it did not hold the scheduled hearing for the conditional use permit.

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