- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 27, 2018

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) - A judge ordered the Flathead County commission to reconsider its decision against expanding an agricultural zoning district that was part of an effort to block a water bottling facility near Kalispell.

District Judge Robert Allison said commissioners cut off comments from landowners who supported expanding the district, dismissed expert testimony and unfairly considered the would-be bottler’s property rights ahead of others.

Allison ordered the commission to reconsider its decision while meaningfully addressing each issue raised by the public. Opponents are concerned the Montana Artesian Water Co.’s plant could draw down existing wells and lower property values.

Amy Waller of Creston says an initiative on the June ballot will ask residents to vote in favor of expanding district.

Two other groups have filed objections with the state over the bottling company’s water rights permit.

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