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455-unit housing project planned near Kalispell

Daily Inter Lake | February 28, 2021 1:00 AM

Kalispell’s building frenzy isn’t going anywhere.

The city doubled the number of building permits issued last year, and major residential projects are on the horizon.

On March 9, the Kalispell Planning Board will hold a public hearing for a subdivision proposed by Four Mile Farmstead LLC that at full buildout would offer 455 dwellings on the city’s west side.

The proposed development encompasses 110.71 acres on the south side of Four Mile Drive, west of Stillwater Road. The ambitious mixed-use development would include an assortment of housing options: 142 single-family lots in a range of sizes, 163 townhome units and 150 multifamily units.

The developers, Kalispell Realtor Dale Crosby-Newman and Scott Harrison, of Four Mile Farmstead, are asking for annexation, initial zoning and rezoning and a residential mixed-use planned-unit development.

“The proposed PUD is intended to provide a diverse selection of housing,” the application states.

According to the document, Kalispell’s WGM Group is providing technical assistance on the project. The property will be managed by the Strickland Family Trust.

The application outlines a plan to start development with three lots for 150 apartments, with 50 units in each lot. The first phase of development would include two- and three-story buildings of 10 to 30 units each.

The developers anticipate a two-year buildout for the initial 150 units, followed by another two-year period for the next two phases of the project, and two to three years each for the subsequent phases. At this point, they envision at least four phases in the development.

There is also an 8.24-acre section in the northeast corner of the property that isn’t slated for development at this time.

THE HOUSING units would be built in an unorthodox style new to the area, known as a “woonerf” neighborhood.

According to the application, the woonerf idea is a Dutch term that refers to a residential layout where pedestrians are prioritized over vehicles.

The application explains: “…the woonerf—or “residential yard” in Dutch—[is] a residential street in which the living environment predominates rather than vehicular infrastructure.”

“The street is designed without a clear division between pedestrian and auto space (i.e., no continuous curb), so motorists are forced to slow down and travel with caution,” the application elaborates. “…This action allows more room for new features in the street such as street furniture (e.g., planters, street trees, benches) and areas for social interaction, bringing more people out on the streets to walk, bike, play, and interact with each other.”

In that same vein, the Farmstead housing areas will be designed with dedications of open space for parkland and connecting trails exceeding the required 30% necessary for a Kalispell planned-unit development.

As for utilities, the property encompasses easements for Kalispell’s Westside sewer interceptor and the city’s area-wide storm drainage system.

However, the Farmstead property is currently zoned for Flathead County SAG-5 agricultural, with a maximum of one dwelling per 5 acres. At the March 9 meeting, the Planning Board will consider the application to annex the property into the city and provide initial city zoning.

The application proposes a mix of city zones, including 86.5 acres of R-3 (residential) zoning, 15.97 acres of RA-1 (residential apartment) zoning and 8.24 acres of B-1 (neighborhood business) zoning.

“Given the history of recent approvals of development properties adjacent to the proposed PUD and guidelines set in the Kalispell growth policies, the developers feel that the property is well-positioned for residential development and that it is the right time to convert the agricultural parcel into a well-planned and diverse neighborhood.”

The Planning Board meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 9, at Kalispell City Hall. The board will forward a recommendation to the Kalispell City Council for final approval.

Reporter Bret Anne Serbin may be reached at (406)-758-4459 or bserbin@dailyinterlake.com.