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County commission considers parking restrictions near Pine Creek Lodge

The front of Pine Creek Lodge with light snow on the ground.
Olivia Weitz
Yellowstone Public Radio
A letter on Pine Creek Lodge’s website says patrons have been parking along East River Road since 1945.

More than 40 people testified at a hearing Tuesday on a proposal to limit parking near a concert venue and restaurant in Paradise Valley. Park County commissioners will take more public feedback next week before making a decision.

Commissioners are considering prohibiting parking on a portion of East River Road and other roads near Pine Creek Lodge because of safety and traffic concerns.

Speaking at the hearing, Livingston Fire Chief Josh Chabalowski said he supports arts in the community, but parking has been an issue for emergency services.

“One example for sure this last season we had an emergency medical issue at the Pine Creek and one of our ambulances could not get through because of the parking," he said. "They had to deviate and route all the way around, which took 15 to 20 minutes in addition to the call."

Most of those who testified opposed the ordinance, including Pine Creek Lodge co-owner Jenny Arr. She told the commission that without some parking on East River Road, the venue would not be able to host larger events and continue brunch and dinner services.

“We agree with everyone that this is not the right thing for the community in the long term and we have been working really, really hard on alternative solutions that don’t involve parking on the road, and we’re close," she said. "But we need time, a little more time to figure those out."

The commission has received more than 1,000 emails on the proposed parking ordinance. A second public hearing is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday at the fairgrounds in Livingston.

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.