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Flathead planning board members asked to step down after 'offensive language'

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In a letter drafted by Whitefish City Council members and Mayor John Muhlfeld, two Flathead County Planning Board members are being asked to step down.  These two members uttered, what some say were foul and offensive words during a May 10th planning meeting.

In the video obtained by the county you can hear a member off camera saying, “We all know what the hell is going on.  They're protecting those businesses inside the city limits of Whitefish.  They're stifling every kind of business out of the city of Whitefish."

Then a woman’s voice says, “We are copying the city of Whitefish's regulations so we're going to have the Whitefish Nazi’s over seeing what we're seeing right here.  Excuse for me stepping on anyone’s toes.  But even so, the Whitefish Nazi’s are watching us very very carefully.”

These comments made by members of the planning board were in response to Whitefish re zoning.  Recently a Supreme Court ruling separated the county and the city planning departments.  So while the planning department and the city need to work together there is no official joint planning area between the two.  This makes communication extremely difficult.

 Whitefish City Council member Jennifer Frandsen elaborates on this.

Frandsen says, “They're getting frustrated that they're continually have to review this issue over and over again."

Another member of Whitefish City Council, Richard Hildner was also shocked by the news.

Hildner says, "I watched the board meeting on television, through my computer to in fact confirm that's what was said.  There were rumors that we were referred to as Nazis and I thought that was inappropriate."

But both council members say the focus should be on the city of Whitefish being heard.

Frandsen tells us, "It's a bit alarming in that it doesn't seem very fair.  And that's our concern is that it doesn't sound like Whitefish has a fair seat at the table.”

Frandsen says she feels as though these particular Planning Board members did not abide by the Principles for Civil Dialogue.  The first bullet point on the Principles’ list states, “We provide a safe environment where individual perspectives are respected, heard, and acknowledged.”

We’re being told that this letter is now in the hands of the county attorney’s office. 

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