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First, if the subject property has not been annexed into the City of Whitefish, the property owner or applicant must contact the Flathead County Planning and Zoning Office at 406-751-8200 in order to obtain a lakeshore permit.
If the subject property is located within the City of Whitefish city limits:
The completed application, required fee, and additional application submittals must be turned into the City of Whitefish Planning Department. For additional information, visit the Lakeshore Development page which includes a link to the City of Whitefish Lakeshore Regulations, or contact the Planning Department.
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Once you have determined the zoning for the property, visit the Sterling Codifier’s website to view the City of Whitefish Zoning Regulations under Title 11 .
When you are viewing the zoning regulations, you should expand Chapter 2 Zoning Districts and select the specific zoning district you are looking for. This will list all permitted uses, conditional uses, and property development standards (including setbacks, building heights, and lot coverage) specific to each zone.
We do not have a PDF of the current City Code on our website. The Sterling Codifiers is updated for every text amendment and is the most current.
In order to look up the zoning for your property, go to the City zoning map. You can search by address or zoom directly to your property to see what the zoning district is for your property or neighborhood. For a summary of the permitted uses and development standards for that zoning district, go to Sterling Codifier’s website to view the City of Whitefish Zoning Regulations Title 11, Chapter 2.
If the proposed structure will be greater than 200 square feet in size, it will require the issuance of a building permit. This includes both residential and commercial structures, as well as accessory structures such as sheds, decks, porches, etc.
Please contact the City of Whitefish Building Department at 406-863-2410 for questions regarding the issuance of building permits. Additionally, all structures regardless of size, must comply with the setbacks established in the City of Whitefish Zoning Regulations.
Within each zoning district there is a list of permitted uses (which can be commenced on a property without additional zoning review) and a separate list of conditional uses. Conditional uses require additional review through a Conditional Use Permit prior to commencement as the uses may be more impactful on the surrounding neighborhood, traffic and roadways, or include additional performance standards.
Conditional Use Permits are first reviewed by the City Planning Board for a recommendation for final review from the City Council, and run with the land not the property ownership. The time frame from application submittal to final decision on a Conditional Use Permit application is approximately 3 months.
To learn more about submitting Conditional Use Permit applications or to obtain a copy of the form, visit the Applications, Forms and Fee Schedule page.
A Zoning Variance is a request for a deviation from the requirements of the zoning regulations. For example, a deviation from the required setbacks or building height in a particular zone. Zoning Variance applications are reviewed by the City Board of Adjustment, and there are specific criteria which must be met in order for a variance to be approved.
The criteria for review can be found in Section 11-7-7 of the City of Whitefish Zoning Regulations. In order for a variance request to be approved, all of the criteria must be met or found to be not applicable.
The time frame from application submittal to final decision is approximately 2 months. To learn more about Zoning Variance or to obtain a copy of the Zoning Variance Permit application form, visit the Applications, Forms and Fee Schedule page.
In order to sell a portion of a property, the property must first go through subdivision review and receive both Preliminary Plat and Final Plat approvals before the new lot can be sold. Depending on a variety of factors, the division may require review as a minor waiver, a minor, or a major subdivision Preliminary Plat. Each has a different time frame for the application and review period, with the longest (major subdivisions) taking approximately 3 months before a final decision is made by the City Council.
Once a subdivision has received Preliminary Plat, the new lot or lots are not officially created until the applicant completes Final Plat. This is a separate application process where the applicant must demonstrate they have met all conditions approved during the Preliminary Plat process. The Final Plat review takes approximately 1 to 2 months with a final decision made by the City Council. Once the Council approves the Final Plat, the lots will be created and can then be sold by applicant.
There are a few instances when subdivision review is not required for the creation of a lot under Montana State Law. These instances are know as Subdivision Exemptions and include Boundary Line Adjustments, Family Transfers, and Agricultural Exemptions.
If you are interested in dividing your land, you are encouraged to contact the Planning Department at 406-863-2410 to discuss the overall process and submittal requirements.
For more information on subdivisions or to review the applications, visit the Applications, Forms and Fee Schedule page.
The Architectural Review Committee reviews and acts on applications for commercial, industrial or public buildings, or duplex/townhouse or greater residential structures within the City of Whitefish. Detached single-family homes are exempt from the Architectural Review Standards.
For additional information or to download the application specific to your project visit the Architectural Review Committee page under the Boards and Committees.
Business License applications are submitted to the Whitefish City Clerk’s office. For information regarding the applicable application and required fee, visit the Business License page or contact the City Clerk’s office at 406-863-2400.
Short-term Rental Brochure, sometimes referred to as a vacation rental, rental of an entire privately owned house, townhouse unit, condominium unit, apartment or other residence, or any space within a dwelling unit rented independently, for stays of less than 30 days. Short-term rentals are only permitted in certain areas of town (map). Properties eligible for short-term rentals are required to obtain a Short-term Rental and Business License Combined Application. If you have any questions, please call our office at 406-863-2410.