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102-lot subdivision proposed in Columbia Falls

by CHRIS PETERSON
Hungry Horse News | June 8, 2021 12:00 AM

More development could soon be coming to the Columbia Falls area, including a 102-unit subdivision that will be considered by the Columbia Falls City-County Planning Board June 15.

The proposed development would stretch from Meadow Lake Boulevard to North Hilltop Road across 28 acres. RH Joint Holdings is seeking a planned-unit development overlay on the property that will utilize cluster development while preserving about 11.42 acres as parkland.

The resulting overlay will allow about 3.5 units per acre, or about 102 units total. The city already has a sewer line that runs past the property, but city water likely would be extended to the subdivision.

The property is just south of the railroad tracks and north of Lemburg Lane. It’s called Garnier Heights.

A public hearing is planned at 6:30 p.m. June 15 in the Columbia Falls City Council chambers at City Hall.

Also on the Planning Board agenda, Rogers Road landowner Jean Flynn is requesting a zone change of her property from suburban agricultural 5 acres to suburban residential. That area east of the city is already seeing development to a degree, as the Benches subdivision is going in, which spans from U.S. 2 to Rogers Road.

In addition, the planning board will take up the city’s request to expand its tax increment finance district to 23 acres that surrounds and includes the Cedar Palace Medical Center on 12th Avenue West.

By including the property into the city’s TIF district, the city can leverage the funds to attract more businesses and pay for infrastructure to the property, city leaders have said previously.

The future likely would see a more extensive and independent medical complex on the lot.

The city already is working with the center to bring sewer and water to the facility and to improve 12th Avenue West. That project is expected to cost about $1.2 million, half of which is from a federal grant that the city received as a result of job losses when Weyerhaeuser closed the sawmill and plywood plant in Columbia Falls a few years ago.

The 12th Avenue West project is expected to take a couple of years.