The Flathead County Board of Adjustment was supposed to meet in August to discuss the Hodgson Road Casino Project but the meeting was unable to take place as a number of board members were unavailable. The meeting finally took place on September 6 and a vote was conducted on the proposal to develop a new casino and tavern at the corner of Hodgson Road and U.S. Highway 93, which is south of Whitefish.
Board members voted unanimously in favor of the casino project which will be spread across 4,500 square feet, inclusive of the tavern. The landowner for this casino project is Gary Ohs, who applied via Den Gar Properties, LLC. The entrance for the proposed casino will be on Hodgson Road and the facility will be situated next to Ohs’ Auto Body.
The planning staff report stated that the existing buildings will be torn down and the developers would build a new facility from scratch. The casino and tavern will be located on a 3.8 acre property, with 22 parking spaces, 71 seats and employ 4 workers at the most in each shift. The owners had to seek a conditional use permit in order to open the tavern as the property is situated in the Blanchard Lake Zoning District.
Mark Mussman, director for Flathead County Planning stated that a few public concerns were raised during the meeting and most of them had to deal with traffic congestion. He stated that while the board had decided to give the project the go-ahead, the owner still needed to obtain a liquor license to open the tavern. In a statement, Mussman said “If I were the developer, I would wait for that license before I started building.”
Planning staff had also brought up the traffic issue in the report and stated that the new casino and tavern was not likely to generate excessive traffic and would not pose a serious concern. The board also agreed with this assessment and decided to give the project the green light as the opening on Hodgson Road would be towards the east side of the facility.