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Kalispell looks at grant for West Reserve Drive improvements

by BRET ANNE SERBIN
Daily Inter Lake | April 4, 2022 12:00 AM

The City of Kalispell is looking at securing a grant to make improvements on West Reserve Drive, according to the agenda for a city council meeting April 4.

At the meeting, council will have the opportunity to discuss pursuing a Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to fund the project.

The grant would be worth $25 million, and the overall projected is estimated to cost $33 million. The Montana Department of Transportation will reportedly provide the additional funding needed to complete the project.

The application is due April 14, and grant recipients will be announced Aug. 12.

The grant would function similarly to the BUILD grant the city received in 2018 to create the Foys Lake Road interchange. The RAISE grant program is the successor to the BUILD grant program.

The grant would be carried out using a design-build process, in which the project designer and builder are selected at the same time to speed up project delivery.

MDT assessed West Reserve Drive in 2021 through the West Reserve Drive Corridor Planning Study. Part of Whitefish Stage Road, extending half a mile north of the intersection with West Reserve Drive and 300 feet south of West Reserve Drive, was also included in the study.

“The purpose of the study was to develop a comprehensive long-range plan for managing the corridor and to identify feasible improvement options to address the needs and objectives identified by the public, study partners, and resource agencies,” the meeting agenda states.

The study recommended widening the road from three to five lanes, including the Stillwater Bridge, adding six feet of landscape boulevards with eight feet of shared use path on the north side and five feet of sidewalk on the south side, and improving Whitefish Stage Road to urban standards.

The improvements are intended to reduce the frequency and severity of crashes, accommodate existing and future travel demands, improve intersection operations, and improve non-motorized travel options and safety.

AT THE meeting Monday, council will also consider a development proposal and two resolutions calling for public hearings.

Quail Meadows LLC is requesting a zoning map amendment and preliminary plat approval for a 10-acre property located at 155 Tronstad Road. The Quail Meadows Subdivision would contain 39 single-family lots.

The developer is requesting a zone change from R-2 (Residential) to R-3 (Residential), which would change the lot sizes and setback requirements for the property.

The current zoning has minimum lot sizes of 10,000 square feet and minimum lot width of 70 feet, with setbacks of 20 feet in the front, 10 feet on the side, 20 feet in the rear, and 20 feet on the side corner, as well as a maximum 35% lot coverage.

The proposed zoning has minimum lot sizes of 6,000 square feet and minimum lot width of 50 feet, with setbacks of 15 feet in the front, five feet on the side, 10 feet in the rear, and 15 feet on the side corner, as well as a maximum 45% lot coverage.

During a public hearing on the proposal at the Kalispell Planning Board meeting on March 8, eight public commenters, including the applicant, addressed the proposal. Most of the comments about the proposal brought up concerns over density, traffic and light pollution from the development.

COUNCIL WILL also consider a resolution calling for a public hearing on amendments to the city’s standards for design and construction. If approved, the public hearing will take place May 2.

Council could set another public hearing for May 2 regarding a new meter fee for city sewer customers. The city is considering adding a $3 sewer meter rate per month because the Evergreen Water and Sewer District added this charge on Feb. 23.

City customers affected by Evergreen’s new meter fee include Kalispell sewer-only customers within city annexed areas on the west side of town adjacent to Whitefish Stage Road and Woodland Park Drive.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 201 First Avenue East.

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