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Polson City Council discusses curfew

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By Kristi Niemeyer for the Valley Journal

POLSON — Youngsters in Polson may have a little less freedom to roam this summer if the Polson City Commission gives final approval to an ordinance that would establish a curfew for those under 18. The first reading last Monday met with unanimous approval.  

The curfew hours would be 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and midnight to 6 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and apply to city property including parks, streets, and alleys. Those hours match curfews established by other local governments, including the county and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. 

According to city manager Ed Meece, Polson had a curfew on its books until the law was inadvertently dropped during a code update in 2017. 

George Simpson, a sergeant with the Polson Police Department, told commissioners that underage drinking and criminal mischief tend to escalate during the summer months.

“It’s our job to educate and enforce. When we have a curfew in place, we usually see the numbers of property crimes go down,” he said, adding that most violators are simply escorted home. 

Officers don’t target youngsters out and about on legitimate business, like returning from work or a sporting event. Rather, the curfew gives law enforcement another tool to address “people who are up to no good or loitering,” Simpson said.  

Meece told the commission that building and planning departments “are definitely seeing a whole lot of volume” compared to previous years and praised the staff for making substantial cuts in the time it takes to process those requests. 

He also informed commissioners that the city has hired a new community development director and confirmed late last week that Rob Edington will step into that post in mid-May.

Edington, who is currently a planner with Lake County, will be “a great addition to the team,” said Meece. “We are very excited about the expertise he adds to our organization. In addition, he is familiar with the community and appreciates Polson’s unique character.”

As head of Community Development, Edington will oversee operation and policy of the department, which includes building, planning and code enforcement. He’ll also work with the city manager on economic development projects and serve as a member of the leadership team. At the top of his to-do list will be filling a new planner/permit tech position, created when the city eliminated a vacant post in the finance department. 

Also at last Monday’s meeting, the commission approved the appointment of Cori Monatukwa to the City-County Planning Board. The nine-member board has four members appointed by the county, four by the city, and one by the Lake County Conservation District. With Monatukwa’s addition, two of the city’s four seats are filled. 

Meece pointed out that the lack of representation by the city has hampered recent efforts to approve amendments to the zoning code, “so it’s really important to us that we be able to fill these seats.” Appointees must reside within the city limits.

According to the city’s website, several other boards also have vacancies, including the Board of Adjustment, Economic Development Council, and Parks and Trees. Visit for details.

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