Lake County rejects zone change for proposed recreation park


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Lake County Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously rejected a zoning bylaw change for an area along the west shore of Flathead Lake that would have paved the way for an outdoor recreation facility project that has aroused immense opposition from neighbors.

Commissioners cited potential traffic issues as their number one concern before rejecting Torsten and Jessica Wedel’s proposal.

The Wedels had asked the county to change the zoning bylaws so they could build the outdoor park on approximately 17 acres between Lakeside and Rollins, on the west side of US 93 and just south of Goose Bay and Table Bay. . The couple said they aimed to provide family-friendly activities for locals and tourists outside of the more popular areas of the Flathead Valley.

The plan was highly controversial and prompted hundreds of letters of opposition to the Lake County Planning Board, which recommended commissioners reject the request in April. Many naysayers have voiced concerns about noise, impacts to wildlife and the environment, and additional traffic on US 93.

The commissioners – Gale Decker, Dave Stipe and Bill Barron – chose to let the application and public hearing process move forward before rejecting the proposal on Tuesday. The decision was greeted with applause from opponents of the project who attended the meeting.

“As Commissioner, I am happy that we have brought the process to a conclusion,” said Decker. He noted the overwhelming public opposition and added: “I don’t think there is a solution to the traffic problems.”

PROPOSAL the change in the county’s Upper West Shore zoning district bylaws would have allowed a range of outdoor recreation commercial activities in an area known as Subdistrict C, including nature viewing , ax throwing, outdoor laser tag, miniature golf, gem mining, rope courses, zipline lines, summer day camps, horseback riding, tubing and “mountain hikes”.

The amended regulations would have specifically banned commercial swimming pools, water parks, bowling alleys, RV parks and commercial resorts. Currently, only a few commercial activities, such as vacation rentals and bed and breakfasts, are permitted in Sub-District C.

The Wedels, who live in Stevensville, run the North American branch of Wiegand, a German company that manufactures motorless slides, toboggans and roller coasters that many ski resorts use to attract businesses during the winter months. hotter. In April, however, the couple told the Daily Inter Lake that Wiegand was not involved in their plans for the outdoor park.

The Wedels also rejected characterizations of their proposal as a “theme park” or “amusement park”, insisting their plans were more modest.

Early in the process, many neighbors alleged that they had not received adequate formal notice of the Wedels’ proposal. Even if the zoning change had been granted, the couple would still have had to apply for a conditional use permit, undergo more public hearings, and undergo construction and environmental reviews by local and state authorities. in order to build the park.

Associate Editor Chad Sokol can be reached at 406-758-4439 or [email protected]

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