Council considers Lower Valley event location

The Flathead County Board of Adjustment will tonight consider an application to operate an event venue south of Kalispell, and separately an appeal from neighbors regarding a previously approved short-term rental near Whitefish.

The board meets at 6 p.m. in the second-floor conference room of the South Campus Building, 40 11th Street W, Kalispell.

With respect to the recreational use facility, Suny and Melissa Cheff of Mountain Traveler Ranch LLC are applying for a conditional use permit to operate a facility allowing an event location for various activities at 1220 Lower Valley Road near Kalispell .

The property is zoned SAG-10 and the total area covered by the application is approximately 10 acres. SAG-10 zoning is intended to provide and preserve agricultural functions and to provide a buffer between unlimited urban and agricultural uses while encouraging the separation of these uses in areas where potential conflict of uses will be minimized.

Access to the property is provided from Somers Stage Road and secondary access from Lower Valley Road.

The property is expected to hold events that are booked for three to four days at a time, depending on the app, and the music will have a courtesy shutdown time for surrounding neighbors before midnight.

The property is currently landscaped with a single family home, detached garage, barn and multiple accessory structures. The remainder of the property appears to be agricultural as there are horses on part of the property, according to the planning department staff report.

The property is adjacent on all sides with property zoned AG-20, AG-80 and SAG-10.

IN ONE Separately, a trio of neighbors are appealing a zoning administrator’s decision to approve a conditional use administrative permit for a short-term rental unit located at 1661 Whitefish Hills Drive in Whitefish. The property is approximately 20 acres and was approved for a short term rental permit on December 16, 2021.

However, property neighbors Andrew Paslawsky, Kim Sands and Jon Heberling are appealing the decision to the Board of Adjustment, claiming the zoning administrator made several errors when approving the permit.

The short term rental property in October 2021 has applied for a conditional use permit to allow operation. During the public comment period, it was discovered that the property was already being operated as a vacation rental and the owners were given the option to pay for a permit after the fact, then permit approval was issued on December 16 2021. .

Neighbors claim the zoning administrator erred in concluding that the vacation rental would not harm surrounding neighbors and erred in omitting permit conditions that the owner is responsible for meeting all covenants and neighborhood conditions.

Neighbors also claim that an error was made in determining that the site was suitable for a vacation rental by failing to recognize that the cabin on the property and its septic field would have been built over a wetland.

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Managing Editor Heidi Desch can be reached at 758-4421 or [email protected]

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