Density map should be enhanced

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Dear Lake County Commissioners:

In updating the Lake County Growth Plan, the density-zoning map should be maintained and enhanced, not repealed. Continued rural sprawl in the Mission and Swan Valleys, is a threat to critical habitat, and the rural lifestyle enjoyed by those who live and recreate there.

Constructing and maintaining public access roads, utility infrastructure, providing wildland and structural fire protection and emergency services for increased commercial and residential construction, is all cost prohibitive, and will put more stress on the public and volunteer department budgets that provide for these increased services. Repealing density-zoning, is taking a backward approach to managing the sprawling rural growth occurring in these areas. Infill development, along with increased density regulations, should be mandated within existing rural communities, which already have in place commercial businesses providing employment, access, roads, utility corridors, and fire-protection and emergency services. Rural lands that support existing agriculture and are adjacent to sensitive natural areas, should be encouraged not to be developed more intensely to support sprawl.

The County Commission should maintain and strengthen the density-zoning map and regulations, and develop more Conservation easements. These efforts will help protect agricultural lands, sensitive adjacent wildland habitats, and the rural environments and associated lifestyles.

Brent Morrow, Bigfork

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