Mill site development tops Whitefish agenda

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The Whitefish City Council has a full agenda for its last meeting of the year on Monday, Dec. 4, including a proposal to redevelop the former Idaho Timber site.

The council traditionally holds only one meeting in December due to the holiday season.

Whitefish builder Casey Malmquist and his 95 Karrow LLC are asking for preliminary-plat approval and a planned unit development to develop a 22-lot mixed-use development at the north end of Karrow Avenue on the former mill property.

Proposed are a variety of uses including residential, professional office, lodging, restaurant, limited retail, light manufacturing, artisan workshop space, studio and gallery space, personal service businesses and other similar uses.

Concerns raised by neighbors at a Whitefish Planning Board hearing in November included questions about the project phasing, impact to the Murray Avenue neighborhood and the relationship of the development to the nearby Great Northern Veterans Peace Park.

The Planning Board unanimously recommended approval of the project and amended one condition to remove the requirement to install a pedestrian-activated signal at the intersection of Karrow Avenue and East Second Street.

THE OTHER big-ticket public hearing on the council’s agenda is a 102-unit housing complex planned on Wisconsin Avenue.

Wisconsin Development Partners has applied for a conditional-use permit to build 66 condominium cabins and 36 apartment condos on 10.26 acres on the west side of Wisconsin Avenue, directly across from the Alpine Market commercial center. The area includes the acreage where Big Mountain Trailer Court is located.

The property, owned by Lenticular Properties of Bristol, Tennessee, is zoned as a low-density resort residential district, and a conditional-use permit is required for five-plex buildings or larger. The apartment condos are proposed in three 12-plex buildings that would be located along the southern third of the project area. Cabins would be located in the center and northern areas of the property.

The Planning Board in November recommended approval of the conditional-use permit, but added a condition to require all roads and trails within the development to be open for public use. Another condition was amended to ensure proper screening of trash enclosures.

THE COUNCIL also expects to wrap up a request by the Firebrand Lounge for a conditional-use permit to operate a bar-lounge at the Firebrand Hotel, 650 E. Third St. A Nov. 20 public hearing was continued because a quorum was not present to vote on the matter.

Three other public hearings deal with minor property requests.

An application from Gary Dunlop for a lakeshore variance at 900 Birch Point Drive to install stone stairs within the lakeshore protection zone will be considered. The Lakeshore Protection Committee last month rejected Dunlop’s initial proposal, but suggested he submit a revised plan with a portion of the existing dock removed to accommodate the proposed stairs.

Dunlop submitted a revised plan, which received a recommendation of approval from the Planning Office.

A work session from 5:45 to 6:15 p.m. will focus on the Whitefish Climate Action Plan and includes an opportunity for public comment.

The remainder of the work session will include discussion about municipal judge compensation and committee appointments.

The regular meeting starts at 7:10 p.m.; both the work session and meeting will be held at Whitefish City Hall.

Features editor Lynnette Hintze may be reached at 758-4421 or lhintze@dailyinterlake.com.

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