Kalispell OKs updated construction standards

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The Kalispell City Council approved updates to the city’s design and construction standards at its Tuesday evening meeting, along with two other resolutions.

The council unanimously passed a resolution on updates of the city’s design and construction standards that were discussed at an earlier work session and public hearing. The council received no public comments on the changes.

The updates include: a requirement for developers to obtain a post-construction stormwater maintenance permit; a requirement of a waiver of right to protest the creation of a stormwater maintenance district for developments that fail to maintain their infrastructure; the provision for Municipal Facility Exclusions to expire with developers’ preliminary plats; and a few miscellaneous additions and corrections.

“The amendments really incorporate just some general updates that were originally instigated due to the stormwater ordinance 1831 being adopted, so we needed to go in and update our standards to make sure our language correlated with the newly updated stormwater ordinance,” Public Works Director Susie Turner explained. The new stormwater ordinance was approved by the council in November.

Also related to the city’s stormwater management, the council set a Feb. 3 public hearing to consider its stormwater sampling plan. Kalispell’s stormwater permit form the Montana Department of Environmental Quality requires the city to receive public comments on the sampling plan, which was recently approved by the DEQ.

Turner said the plan “incorporates sampling of four locations throughout our stormwater sheds that meet the intent of the requirements spelled out in our stormwater permit. We’re sampling several locations to help understand some of our best management practices that we have in place to see how well we remove those urban pollutants.”

In other business, the council approved a zoning request for a 10-acre property at 155 Tronstad Road. Mark Schwager requested the property be rezoned from county property to city R-2 zoning for suburban residential, lower-density development.

The council considered this proposal at two previous meetings earlier in January. Although the first and second readings passed, council member Ryan Hunter’s opposition to the resolution required the council to revisit the proposal.

Hunter again expressed concern over the project at Tuesday’s meeting.

“My concern is that the zoning density that we establish today is going to be the zoning density generally that is going to be 50 to 100 years from now when it’s no longer the outer edges of our community,” he said.

He asked Planning Director Jarrod Nygren about the infrastructure in the area, the surrounding land uses and the proposal’s compliance with the Kalispell growth policy. He also brought up the possibility of zoning the property R-4 for higher-density, urban development, rather than R-2 zoning.

Ultimately, the resolution passed with Hunter opposed.

At the conclusion of the meeting, City Manager Doug Russell reported the project to move Northwest Drywall out of the Kalispell Core Area and into the new Glacier Rail Park has been completed. The move is part of a decade-long effort to relocate downtown rail users and revitalize the area around the railroad tracks.

Russell said moving Northwest Drywall is “a pretty big step in terms of the process.”

Finally, Mayor Mark Johnson reported he has appointed the initial members of his new Homeless Issues Task Force aimed at addressing homelessness in the area.

Johnson said former council members Rod Kuntz and Jim Atkinson have been selected as the committee’s co-chairmen. Johnson also invited property owner Tom Rygg, City Manager Doug Russell, Planning Director Jarrod Nygren, the Rev. Scott Thompson and the Rev. Miriam Mauritzen to serve as committee members.

He said he expected the committee to take about five to six months to conduct research about the local homeless population and propose solutions.

The council will meet again at a work session next Monday at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 201 1st Avenue East.

Reporter Bret Anne Serbin may be reached at bserbin@dailyinterlake.com or 758-4459.

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