Sunday, September 26, 2021
77.0°F

Kalispell council OKs downtown hotel, silo projects

by BRET ANNE SERBIN
Daily Inter Lake | September 10, 2021 9:00 AM

A trio of transformative projects for the city of Kalispell are moving forward after a green light from the City Council on Monday.

During a three-hour-long meeting, the council approved two development proposals with the potential to transform the downtown landscape: a recommendation to build a boutique hotel at the corner of Third Street West and Main Street, as well as a conditional-use permit to build above the historic grain silos located at 505 W. Center St./740 W. Railroad St.

Both developments are in their early stages, and specific details still need to be ironed out. In general, however, they signal two major steps toward the current council’s goal of revitalizing downtown Kalispell.

The Silos, spearheaded by local developer Mick Ruis, received unanimous approval to build above 60 feet. Ruis’ ambitious vision for the development includes a rooftop bar and restaurant, housing, commercial space and first-floor parking.

The Charles Hotel, a proposal from Montana Hotel Dev Partners, LLC, was supported by all of the council except Ryan Hunter and Sid Daoud.

Daoud recused himself from the vote because, he said, “I have serious issues and a conflict of issues with tax increment financing programs specifically and government subsidies in general.”

Hunter voted against the hotel because he wanted to see a development that includes a “meaningful commitment to deed-restricted affordable housing.”

Two public commenters weighed in on The Charles Hotel decision, one in favor and the other opposed.

Now that the hotel has received the council’s approval, the developers will work with the selection committee for the project to bring forward more specific details of the project.

A THIRD major decision related less directly to downtown development, but its approval is likely to shape the city’s growth over the next 20 years. That was approval of Move 2040, a comprehensive transportation plan aimed at addressing Kalispell’s traffic infrastructure needs for the next two decades.

The plan has been in the works for two years, but the last update to the city’s transportation planning was only as recent as 2008.

The plan outlines 90 suggested traffic improvements throughout the greater Kalispell area.

Seven people showed up to give their opinions on Move 2040; all of them cited a desire to see an emphasis on pedestrian and bike-friendly traffic improvements.

Hunter cast the lone opposing vote against adopting the transportation plan, because he said he felt the details needed additional time to be more fully developed.

Three smaller-scale development projects also won council approval.

The first was a request from Go Development, LLC, to annex and rezone a 0.02-acre property on Palmer Lane into the city R-4 Residential Zone. The city approved this proposal in order for the developer to dig 2 feet deeper on seven existing city sublots.

Then the city gave final plat approval and authorized a subdivision improvement agreement for Meadows Edge, Phase 2, a 37-lot residential subdivision on 10 acres along Three Mile Drive.

The final agenda item was final approval for the re-subdivision of Lot 52 of Northland Subdivision, Phase 2. Located at 176 Parkridge Drive, this property is part of the Kalispell Public Schools Student Built Homes program.

Two miscellaneous agenda items rounded out the lengthy meeting.

One was a resolution to set a public hearing to consider an amendment to the Community Development Projects Special Revenue Fund Budget for fiscal year 2021. The council unanimously voted to schedule the public hearing for Sept. 20.

Finally, the council unanimously approved Mayor Mark Johnson’s recommendation of City Manager Doug Russell as Kalispell’s representative to the Montana Municipal Interlocal Authority Board of Directors. Russell has been involved with the organization since 2017.

Reporter Bret Anne Serbin may be reached at 406-758-4459 or bserbin@dailyinterlake.com.