“The Last Best Place” is under attack, and it’s up to us to protect this beautiful untouched land. Your donation could make the difference between developers “paving paradise and putting up a parking lot” – or not.
Jessica and Torsten Wedel recently purchased a 17 acre residential property on Flathead Lake, and now they are trying to have it rezoned so they can build an adventure park in one of the country’s most pristine and beautiful natural environments. The Wedels head the North American branch of Wiegand, a German company that manufactures roller coasters and water slides for adventure parks– like the one they are now attempting to build on the shores of Flathead Lake!
On April 15, the Lake County Planning Board voted unanimously to recommend the county DENY an Upper West Shore zoning amendment request that is part of a proposal to create an outdoor recreation park on about 17 acres between Lakeside and Rollins. More than 160 concerned neighbors joined the meeting to oppose the rezoning, one of the biggest turnouts ever for such a meeting.
They cited the following major concerns: 1) Safety issues on Highway 93; 2) Concerns regarding First Responder response times; 3) Additional burden on local Volunteer Fire Departments & Lakeside QRU; 4) Additional use will increase congestion on local streets; 5) Increases traffic, noise, and light would degrade health and general welfare of residents residing in area; 6) Concerns related to stormwater runoff control; 7) Residential property values could be adversely affected; 8) Encouraged overcrowding and concentration of people; 9) There are currently existing options for development in alternative sub-districts that are already commercially zoned; 10) Approval would deteriorate the residential character of Sub-District C; 11) Properties in Sub-District C are heavily timbered and some are fairly steep which makes them unsuitable for commercial development; 12) Commercial development would be more demanding on the natural environment.
But now on May 18, the Lake County Commission will consider the rezoning request, and despite the unanimous denial from the planning board, they can give the Wedels the green light to rezone their property to build an adventure park.
This is a coordinated plan by the Wedels to commercialize a quiet and rural stretch of Flathead Lake. Wiegand has pulled this stunt in many rural towns, and it recently happened in Leavenworth, Washington. The community fought the adventure park for years. Property was annexed, the fight went to the superior court and ultimately Wiegand won the right to build Leavenworth Adventure Park. https://www.ncwlife.com/20428-2/
Sub-district C has historically never allowed commercial uses except for those that are residential in nature, like vacation rentals and B&Bs. This zoning amendment could literally change the face of our beloved West Shore forever.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Your donation will help the Upper West Shore Alliance (a new Montana nonprofit corporation formed in response to this zoning text proposal) to fight this zoning amendment, including engaging in public campaign proposals, and/or hiring attorneys and consultants. Much of this has happened under the radar from residents and neighbors, and increased awareness is extremely important. Other towns have fought Wiegand for years, and have eventually lost. We can’t allow that to happen on Flathead Lake!
The purpose of the Upper West Shore Alliance is to help direct growth in the Upper West Shore area to maintain the rural character of the area, and support growth that protects and enhances property values and amenities, and protects and enhances the natural environment, water quality and wildlife.
In addition to donating, PLEASE let the Board of County Commissioners know how you feel about this zoning amendment before May 18th by mail or email. You can locate this information at https://www.lakemt.gov/main/commissioner.html. We will post information about how to attend the meeting via Zoom when we find that out.