Kalispell Council looks to add Core Area zoning

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The Kalispell City Council will take the next step in the Core Area Plan tonight, hoping to open zoning regulations to resident-friendly business and residential development.

The Kalispell Planning Department has requested that a new B-3 zoning district be amended into Kalispell zoning ordinances.

The B-3 zone aligns future development with the goals in the city’s Core Area Plan. The plan defines Core Area as the Main Street area between U.S. 2 and the courthouse couplet, and the area surrounding the railroad corridor through Kalispell.

The new zone allows for multi-family residential development plus retail, office and light industrial development. It prohibits heavy industrial uses, reduces setback requirements between buildings to zero and increases allowable building height.

Tonight will be the first reading of the B-3 addition to the city zoning ordinances. Once the B-3 zoning district is created, rezoning the Core Area properties will require a significant amount of public outreach to understand how each property would be affected, according to a memo from Senior City Planner Jarod Nygren to City Manager Doug Russell.

The council also will hear the first reading of a request from the Planning Department to rezone the Moose’s Saloon property to the new B-3 zone from its current B-2 designation.

During a public hearing on the proposal in February, one person spoke in support of the zoning change, adding that he hoped to build a new business in the small lot north of Moose’s. His potential plans for the business would fit the new zoning change with no setback requirement, if council approves the action.

In other business, the council will vote on a resolution to consider vacating a portion of Mission Street, the main entrance leading toward Immanuel Lutheran facilities. Immanuel Lutheran is petitioning the council to consider vacating the street in order to take over the street north of Crestline Avenue, north to the end of the street, a portion approximately 86 feet long.

If approved, the property becomes Immanuel Lutheran’s and will be added to the tax base. According to the petition signed by Chief Executive Officer Jason Cronk, Immanuel Lutheran already owns all the property immediately adjacent to the requested area. The petition says the area will be used for development Immanuel Lutheran hopes will be approved by the City Council.

The council will also vote on a resolution to designate an authorized representative to create a bank account that will be used for state investment transactions.

The city uses the Montana Board of Investment’s Short Term Investment Pool to assist short-term financing for projects. The Board of Investments recently adopted new requirements for cities to designate a representative to manage these investment transactions between the city and the state.

This resolution allows the city to designate its finance director as the representative and authorizes Glacier Bank as the financial institution to store the account.

The City Council meeting begins tonight at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 201 First Ave. E.

Reporter Seaborn Larson may be reached at 758-4441 or by email at slarson@dailyinterlake.com.

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