Why Did Council Table Expanding Accessory Dwelling Unit Expansion

We would happily pay more taxes to the city for our improved property

By Brett Morton

As a lifelong resident of Kalispell, I have seen many changes as the valley has grown. I maintain this growth should come to whatever extent possible, in a way that preserves the character and community of Kalispell. In my opinion, apartment complexes and tracts of subdivisions are not the preferred option.

I was pleased to learn that in January, the City Council had passed the expanded zoning of Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADUs) by a 7-2 vote following strong public support. I was confused to hear this decision was reversed/tabled on Feb. 1 by a 5-4 vote, with no explanation by members for this reversal.

As owners of a small home on Third Avenue West, expecting our first child this summer, my wife and I would love the ability to build an ADU to provide space for storage, in-laws, and allow for future growth. If this is not an option, we will soon be forced to build outside town and rent our current property.

We would happily pay more taxes to the city for our improved property while we continue walking to downtown restaurants, breweries, parks, shopping at downtown businesses, and walking our child to the same school I went to. This seems to me the best way to keep Kalispell vibrant as we face this time of unprecedented growth. Considering additional parking is addressed as part of the ADU application process, I have a hard time imagining how expansion of the ADU zoning could possibly have a negative impact on downtown residents, or the city as a whole.

Having received no response to an email to City Council through their [email protected] address a couple weeks ago, I would appreciate any further reporting you may have on this issue.

Brett Morton