Treehouse retreat proposed near Whitefish

Posted: Saturday, August 29, 2015 9:00 pm

By LYNNETTE HINTZE/The Daily Inter Lake | 

A plan to build a camp and retreat center near Whitefish featuring high-end rustic treehouses goes before the Flathead County Board of Adjustment on Tuesday.

Darin Robison and Kati O’Toole are asking for a conditional-use permit to develop seven wooded acres off Dillon Road with up to three treehouses open to the public for nightly rental. The treehouses would be no larger than 1,000 square feet and no more than 35 feet high, according to the permit application.

The property is located in the Southeast Rural Whitefish Zoning District and is zoned suburban agricultural with a 10-acre minimum lot size. It is bordered by the North 40 Resort to the east, Rick’s Welding to the south and an evergreen tree farm to the north.

A naturally wooded common area in the center of the retreat would be used as a gathering space for nightly campfires and sing-a-longs led by O’Toole, a local music producer and singer/songwriter.

Nature trails that could be used for cross-country skiing in the winter are planned throughout the property. Other amenities include a tepee lounge and meditation room and a rock sauna, according to the application.

The applicants propose a 10 p.m. noise curfew “out of respect of our neighbors.

“Since the idea of the retreat is a quiet, calm getaway setting in a natural environment, we don’t foresee a lot of loud noise or vibration,” they noted in the application.

Robison and O’Toole also stated it’s their intention to “maintain the utmost privacy for our neighboring properties as well as the privacy of the units created at the treehouse retreat.”

The Board of Adjustment will hold a public hearing on the proposal at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 1, in the second-floor conference room of the Earl Bennett Building, 1035 First Ave. W. in Kalispell.

Board of Adjustment decisions are considered final actions and do not go to the county commissioners for further review and consideration.

Written comments on the treehouse retreat may be sent to the Flathead County Planning Office and must be received by 5 p.m. on Sept. 1.

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Features editor Lynnette Hintze may be reached at 758-4421 or by email at