ROLLINS — Flathead Lake is a go-to tourist destination in Montana, and one commercial rezoning proposal is wanting to capitalize on that.
Emotions ran high Tuesday when Lake County Commissioners opened the floor for comment while discussing the Upper West Shore rezoning amendment for District C, which is to the south of Wild Ranch Road.
The rezoning request is on behalf of a couple, who hope to change the residential zoning to commercial, for an outdoor adventure park that includes alpine slides and zip lines.
The developer's attorney stated it has the potential to boost the area's economy.
In April, the Lake County Planning Board recommended that commissioners not pass the rezoning due to concerns including congestion along US Highway 93 and impacts to property values.
Those same concerns were heard again among the 100 residents on the call with one focusing on the area's natural beauty saying it's up to commissioners to protect it.
"Depending on what you decide you either preserve the wonderful diamond or you open the barn door and it will change into rhinestones, so your decision will impact families for years to come," resident Carlie Dixon said.
But two proponents of the measure say they believe it will drive business to their stores, however, they are afraid of community backlash.
“The only reason we are for a business owner the more business we get we like that but, seeing as everyone else is so negative makes it hard to throw ourselves under the bus,” resident and business owner Michael Cerra commented.
Two commissioners voted for a resolution of intent for passing the amendment but another had some reservations regarding Highway 93.
“There's no plans to do anything with that road in any major way in the 15 to 20 years, so the traffic and congestion is going to get worse and worse,” noted Lake County Commissioner Bill Barron.
Commissioners voted to continue the discussion with another meeting set in 30 days to again hear from area residents.
Property owners in the district can weigh in on the resolution for the next 30 days and if the comments result in 51% of residents not wanting the rezoning, another public hearing will be held.