Opinion

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Letter

Vote No if You Value Property Rights

Let the due process work its way through the proper channels

To those who enjoy their property rights:

Please understand how critical this Egan Slough Zoning Initiative is to property rights in Flathead County. At first, those promoting the initiative lead us to believe that this is about the water bottling plant. Nowhere in the ballot initiative does it say anything about the bottling plant and in fact there have been several legal opinions saying that the water bottling will continue to operate whether this initiative passes or not. This initiative is about restrictively zoning property in the Creston area.

Now, they are promoting the idea that this will save farming and water in Flathead County. In fact, the ability to save farming in any community goes way beyond restrictively zoning property.

However, I want to challenge everyone that has fallen for this rhetoric and believes that the regulations in the Egan Slough Zoning District are the salvation of farming and water in Flathead County. If you vote in favor of this Zoning Initiative you should be willing to place those same restrictions on your property through a deed restriction. Through the course of my work I read deeds and easements every day and this would actually be very easy to do. I think that if you are willing to place any type of regulations on someone else’s property you should be willing to place those same restrictions on your own property. If this is asking too much, I suggest at least reading the Egan Slough Zoning Regulations – and know exactly the restrictions a vote in favor of the initiative would place on someone else’s property.

The process to zone property is guided by Montana State Statutes and further spelled out in Flathead County Regulations. This process contains a very specific due process that must be followed. This Zoning Initiative makes an end run around all of those due process steps, from proper notices, applicant reports, planning staff reports, public meetings, deliberations and even occasional court hearings.

If you value your property rights I encourage you to VOTE AGAINST this Zoning Initiative and let the due process work its way through the proper channels.

Charles Lapp
Columbia Falls

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