Montana Supreme Court to Hear Case at UM

April 04, 2014

MISSOULA – The Montana Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case about land-use regulation near Whitefish on Friday, April 11, at the University of Montana.

The session will start at 9:30 a.m. in the George and Jane Dennison Theatre with an introduction to the case. Oral arguments will be 40 minutes for both the appellants and appellees. Hosted by the UM School of Law, the session is free and open to the public.

This case arises from long-term issues between the city of Whitefish and Flathead County regarding land-use regulation in a 2-mile-wide “donut” surrounding Whitefish city limits. In this case, the district court invalidated a 2011 city referendum that repealed a city-county resolution on the subject.

The city appealed, arguing that the post-election challenge to the referendum was filed too late, the district court erred when it determined that the resolution was an administrative act that was not repealable through the referendum process, and the effect of the repeal of the referendum should be to return the city and county to a 2005 agreement under which the city had zoning and planning jurisdiction for the “donut.”

The case is titled “Lyle Phillips, Anne Dee Reno, Turner Askew and Ben Whitten, Plaintiffs and Appellees, v. City of Whitefish, Defendant, Third-Party Plaintiff, and Appellant, and the Board of Commissioners of Flathead County, Defendant, Third-Party Defendant and Appellee, and Dan Weinberg and Ed McGrew, individually and on behalf of Let Whitefish Vote, a ballot committee lawfully organized under the laws of Montana; Mary Person and Marilyn R. Nelson, Intervenors and Appellants.”

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Contact: Carla Caballero-Jackson, director of external relations, UM School of Law, 406-243-6254, carla.caballero-jackson@mso.umt.edu.