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BLUAC meets Thursday to discuss permit for two more apartment buildings

by TAYLOR INMAN
Bigfork Eagle | April 27, 2022 12:00 AM

The Bigfork Land Use Advisory Committee meets Thursday to consider the recommendation of two apartment complexes on Jewel Basin Court.

The BLUAC works in an advisory capacity with Flathead County land use decision making boards and county commissioners to give the public a chance to hear about potential development and zoning changes in the Bigfork area. The board reviews applications and will either deny or recommend the application to the county based on how it fits into the Bigfork Neighborhood Plan— an official plan adopted by the county commissioners to outline growth and development.

The application in consideration was submitted by Rodney and Tia MacFarlane for a conditional use permit to build two, two-story four-plex apartment buildings. The property is located at 173 Jewel Basin Court and is zoned as B-3, or Community Business. Properties in the Jewel Basin Plaza subdivision are either underdeveloped or contain similar multi-family dwellings.

At last month’s board meeting, BLUAC recommended approval of conditional use permits for essentially identical purposes for Jewel Basin Court 119 and 120. Those applications also sought to build two four-plex apartment complexes on each property for a total of 16 units between them.

At that meeting, BLUAC board members expressed immediate concern about traffic coming in and out of Jewel Basin Court because it is an area that already experiences congestion, particularly during peak tourist season. Board member Lou McGuire said it’s an issue every time an application comes up on the road because of its proximity to Highway 83 (or Swan Highway) and Highway 35.

The staff report from the Flathead County Planning and Zoning Office says the current permit application includes two four-unit apartment buildings that would generate around 53 trips per day, based on a metric of 6.65 trips generated per dwelling unit.

There has not been a comprehensive traffic study done on the road by Flathead County because it is a private road. BLUAC board members

The site plan shows two apartment buildings located on the north and south ends of the property with a parking lot in between them. The plan calls for 18 parking spaces, which meets county requirements. The buildings would add eight apartments to the subdivision.

The staff report from the Flathead County Planning and Zoning Office says all structures will comply with the setback requirements of the B-3 zone. They said based on the submitted site plan and a staff visit that there appears to be adequate space to accommodate the proposed use of the property.

There has been no written public comment about the application.

After a decision from BLUAC, the application will then move onto the Flathead County Board of Adjustments for consideration at their regular monthly meeting scheduled for May 3.

BLUAC meets Thursday April 28 in the downstairs of the Bethany Lutheran Church at 4 p.m.

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The proposed site plan provided with the permit application for the property located at 173 Jewel Basin Court. (Flathead County Planning and Zoning)