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Senator withdraws application for Whitefish projects

By Scott Zoltan, KECI Reporter, szoltan@keci.com
Published On: Dec 04 2012 08:27:20 PM MST
Updated On: Dec 04 2012 09:34:58 PM MST
Senator plans Whitefish microbrewery
WHITEFISH, Mont. -

On Monday, State Senator Ryan Zinke pulled his application to build two businesses north of Downtown Whitefish. Zinke had proposed a bed and breakfast and a microbrewery across the highway.

City staff tell NBC Montana Zinke pulled his application about an hour after a group of residents submitted a petition against the projects to the city. Zinke says the petition is based on misinformation spread by a small group of residents in the neighborhood adjacent to the projects. Zinke’s family has owned the land for the inn for over 70 years, and he expressed disappointment that the issue became divisive in the neighborhood.

“There was, what I think, a disingenuous, misleading petition against it, and both projects, I think, were in the best interests of Whitefish,” said Zinke.

Residents NBC Montana spoke with on Tuesday expressed concern that the projects would create traffic headaches and increase noise in the area. Adam Pitman and Laira Fonner discussed several residents in area they say would experience problems due to increased activity in the area.

“Our properties are just so close and having an inn that’s connected to a brewery, if it’s going to draw a wilder crowd…and noise really carries,” said Whitefish resident Adam Pittman.

Zinke says the brewery and the bed and breakfast would have been separate projects, though some residents say their proximity to each other would create foot traffic between them. On Tuesday, he said he currently had no plans to reapply for the projects.