Montana Motorcoach Resort Gets Another Hearing
The Whitefish (Mont.) City Council has decided to schedule another public hearing to address a proposal from the owners of The Lodge at Whitefish Lake to allow Class A motorcoach parking for up to seven months.
Current zoning regulations allow recreational vehicles to stay on residential lots for no longer than 30 days. The hearing is scheduled for Feb. 1 at City Hall, according to the Flathead Beacon, Kalispell, Mont.
The proposal would be an amendment to the previously approved Viking Creek development. The development includes a 32-room guest lodge, a skywalk over Wisconsin Avenue connecting the lodge to the main hotel and a 17-lot residential area located north of the Crestwood neighborhood.
Also, Viking Creek has garnered particular attention for handing over about 30 acres of sensitive habitat to the Whitefish Lake Institute for conservation. The Lodge’s owners – Dan, Sean and Brian Averill – have also pledged $110,000 to wetlands restoration. Both developers and environmentalists have praised the project, which broke ground on June 30. (For more information on the project, go to www.whitefishlake.org.)
In a change from the original Planned Unit Development, Dan Averill is seeking to allow the owners of Class A motorcoaches to stay up to seven months per calendar year on Viking Creek’s residential lots.
Class A motorcoaches are large, top-of-the-line motorhomes that are often used as summer residences. A Class A motorcoach park is in the works in Polson called the Polson Motorcoach and RV Resort.
Under the proposed amendment, the residential lots would eventually offer both a motorcoach parking space and an accompanying home. During a Dec. 7 public hearing, the city council raised multiple concerns over the proposal, prompting a vote to table the issue until its next meeting on Jan. 4.
At the December meeting, the council directed the Averills to address five areas of concern and questions before Jan. 4. The council asked that the applicant clarify if the motorcoach parking spaces and proposed homes are available for overnight or weekly rentals, or if they’re owner-occupied.
The Averills were also directed to clarify the timeline regarding when a home needs to be built on the lots and provide a revised landscaping plan to further buffer a nearby neighborhood.
Lastly, the council asked the Averills to consider restricting motorcoach parking on a lot until it is sold and to provide the council with a copy of the draft conditions, covenants and restrictions.
For the Jan. 4 meeting, city planning staff prepared a report containing the applicants’ responses. Considering the extent of the proposed changes, the council decided to schedule another public hearing. There was also concern over making a decision in the first meeting for three new councilors – Bill Kahle, Chris Hyatt and Phil Mitchell.