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Pine Creek Lodge owner eyes alternatives as area parking ban moves forward

A sign on East River Road reads "No Parking"
Olivia Weitz
Yellowstone Public Radio
The proposed ordinance would prohibit parking on East River Road from Deep Creek Bench to Barney Creek and other roads in the vicinity of Pine Creek Lodge.

The owner of a concert venue and restaurant in Paradise Valley is cautiously optimistic there will be music there this summer even with a parking ban on roads near the event space.

Pine Creek Lodge owner Jenny Arr says because most of the land in the area is in use — as ranches, houses and farmland — they have mainly been relying on parking on East River Road.

"Not having that parking available and not yet having a parking lot option if we don’t remedy that by June 1, we would be forced really to close down," she said.

Park County Commissioners supported a parking ban along East River Road and other roads near Pine Creek Lodge during a second public hearing on the matter last Tuesday. Public safety officials have testified that parking along the roads could be a fire hazard and inhibit emergency vehicle access.

If given final approval, the ban would go into effect June 1 – a couple of months later than commissioners had originally said. Arr tells YPR having more time is helpful as they figure out another parking plan.

"We do believe we have a couple of options and we are hoping, and I don’t want to talk too specifically about those right now because again we’re still working through some final details, but now that we do have until June 1 we feel a lot more comfortable that we’ll be able to accomplish something that will allow us to keep operating this summer,” she said.

Arr says summer concerts are booked, but Pine Creek doesn’t plan to announce the lineup or sell tickets until an alternative parking option is secured.

The request for more time was met last month with resistance from some of the venue’s neighbors, including Kevin Funk.

“For commissioners to not act on this now because it’s gone this far now you’re really opening up Park County tax payers to responsibility of litigation if something does happen,” he said. “They’re wanting to wait. They’ve had plenty of time.”

A second reading of the ordinance will go before the commission on Feb. 14.

Olivia Weitz covers Bozeman and surrounding communities in Southwest Montana for Yellowstone Public Radio. She has reported for Northwest News Network and Boise State Public Radio and previously worked at a daily print newspaper. She is a graduate of the University of Puget Sound and the Transom Story Workshop.