Bigfork Distillery seeks permission to relocate

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Whistling Andy’s Distillery is looking to move its operations to a new location in Bigfork.

The distillery owner applied for a conditional use permit from Flathead County to allow the company to operate at 8030 Montana 35 in a warehouse that once housed an automobile museum.

The application is presented to the County Board of Adjustment on Tuesday, June 7. The board meets at 6 p.m. at the Flathead County Fairgrounds in Building 4-H, 265 N Meridian Rd. in Kalispell.

Brian Anderson, founder of the distillery, is applying for the permit that would allow the distillery and restaurant to operate on the property which is zoned as a business headquarters. County zoning regulations consider the business a tavern, requiring a conditional use permit to operate within that zoning.

The property is 1.84 acres in size and includes a 25,000 square foot building. The Crafthouse Restaurant has 3,500 square feet of indoor dining space, bar seating, restrooms, and a commercial kitchen, depending on the application. It includes 3,300 square feet of outdoor dining space.

A total of 40 parking spaces are available for the tavern, 10 of which are reserved for employees. This exceeds the county’s parking requirements, which require 29 spaces based on the 84 seats provided for customers and the six to eight employees expected to be on site at a time.

Hours of operation are expected to be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The distillery and restaurant are expected to create approximately 55 vehicle trips per day with access to Montana 35. The increase in traffic is considered negligible on the state highway, according to the planning staff report.

ALSO ON THE AGENDA, the board will consider a request from C Holdings, LLC for an after-the-fact zoning waiver. The property is zoned business service and is located at 3905 Montana 40 near Columbia Falls.

The applicant is requesting a waiver from the front setback requirements for an existing structure. The zone requires a 30 foot front yard setback for all structures. According to the submitted site plan, an office building has been constructed within 17 feet of the edge of the Lily Lane easement.

Council will also consider a request by Joseph and Katherine Jimenez for an after-the-fact zoning by-law waiver regarding setback requirements and lot coverage for a property at 22 Terry Road in the zoning district of Evergreen. The property is zoned R-5.

A duplex has been built on the property and the applicant is requesting a waiver of the rear setback requirement because the building is approximately 7 feet from the rear property line when the requirement is 20 feet.

A waiver of the lot coverage requirement is also requested, as the duplex has approximately 47% lot coverage and the maximum lot coverage in this area is 40%.

Managing Editor Heidi Desch can be reached at 758-4421 or [email protected]

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