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Whitefish city council approves affordable housing project

Posted at 6:21 PM, May 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-31 20:21:32-04

WHITEFISH – After years of debate, the Whitefish City Council unanimously approved an affordable housing project on May 20.

This new project goes into effect on July 3 and requires 20 percent of large subdivisions and multi-family units to have affordable units. The goal is to give living spaces to those like teachers, police officers and nurses who have an average income.

Dave Taylor with the Whitefish Planning Department tells MTN the city’s average annual income is around 57,000. The issue is many who work in Whitefish can’t afford to live in Whitefish.

“Over 60 percent of people that work in this community drive here from Columbia Falls or Kalispell or other places, they don’t actually live here,” Taylor said. “So, it’s important to try and have people that don’t have to commute as far. There’s environmental considerations when everybody has to commute.”

Under the new project, Taylor tells MTN new Whitefish builders get incentives. Builders have the option to have a 20 percent reduction in parking spaces, five-foot building increase and 20 percent increase in density.