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Letters to the editor June 4

| June 4, 2023 12:00 AM

Why zoning is necessary

Marc Liechti’s recent letter to the editor on zoning was disingenuous, to say the least. He conveniently forgot to identify himself as the owner of APEC Engineering and his clients include the developers of the controversial Lakeside alpine coaster and the developers of the contentious KM Ranch project. Liechti opposes zoning for one simple reason: His business model depends on building things the neighbors don’t want.

The alpine coaster was not approved in Lake County because the parcel Mr. Liechti’s clients wanted was zoned. The proposed zoning change was not granted due to safety concerns on U.S. 93. So Liechti and the developers moved north to the first piece of land that was not zoned — 1 mile north of Lakeside in the middle of established residential neighborhoods on a dangerous curve on the same busy U.S. 93.

Because the area was unzoned:

A noisy commercial business could be built in the middle of a quiet residential neighborhood. Zoning prevents incompatible land use.

The neighbors had no idea their quiet residential area was about to become the center of an amusement park until it was under construction. Zoning allows neighbors a say in what is happening in and to their community.

Major investments made by residents in their homes will probably suffer because of the noise and the traffic congestion. Zoning protects and enhances property values and tax revenues.

The Flathead County commissioners (unlike Lake County commissioners) had no say in a commercial entity that will create a highway safety hazard. Zoning protects public safety.

Mr. Liechti’s business model seems to be working for outsiders who want to change the very character of the Flathead Valley. No wonder he opposes zoning

— Lana Batts, Lakeside