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County Approves Evergreen Interim Business Zone
New zone will allow for more industrial uses along commercial corridor
Traffic flows east and west on U.S. Highway 2 through Evergreen. - File photo by Lido Vizzutti | Flathead Beacon
The Flathead County Commission approved a new, interim zone for Evergreen that would ideally allow for more uses along the area's commercial corridor.

Commissioners Pam Holmquist, Gary Krueger and Cal Scott unanimously voted in favor of the zone change, which was a publicly initiated endeavor brought to the county's planning and zoning department.

The new zone is classified as an enterprise zone, and would affect the commercial corridor within Evergreen, which is already largely zoned for business with B-2 and B-3 classifications.

An enterprise zone allows for "light assembly and manufacturing, fabrication and processing, repairing, packing, storage facilities, warehousing and distribution of products and equipment provided that such uses do not produce objectionable impacts beyond the lot lines and do not involve materials that are explosive, hazardous or toxic."

The Evergreen Chamber of Commerce supported the interim zone change, noting that such a designation could help enhance the area's economic viability. The chamber initially came to Flathead County about the zone possibility in June, and the county gave the planning department permission to process the request in October.

As part of its reasoning behind the request, the chamber said the current zone scheme along the commercial corridor was put in place 25 years ago and emphasizes retail, which might prevent the reuse of existing, vacant buildings.

Since the enterprise zone status is temporary – it will last for a year, with the possibility of a one-year extension – it will allow Evergreen to see if the existing zoning is holding back economic development. If there are changes that have economic impact on the area, the chamber can pursue a permanent fix.

A public hearing at the commissioners' chambers had three people show support for the new zone, and none spoke up in opposition.

The commission took time to thank the Evergreen chamber as well as the planning staff who worked on the zone, noting that such a change will likely have positive impacts.

"I think this is a very good thing for the Flathead Valley," Holmquist said.

Krueger said he supported publicly initiated ideas, and those who have thoughts about how to improve the area should bring them up with the planning department.

The interim enterprise zone will go into effect on Jan. 1.
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