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Plans call for housing, commercial project on KM Ranch Road

by HEIDI DESCH
Daily Inter Lake | June 8, 2022 12:00 AM

A proposal that could lead to a housing and commercial project on about 155 acres at the south end of KM Ranch Road where it intersects with U.S. 93 has been submitted to Flathead County.

Montarise Developments, LLC is requesting a zone change for three parcels of land located on the north side of KM Ranch Road just north of the county landfill. The request is to change the zoning from SAG-5 suburban agricultural to R-1 suburban residential, which would reduce the minimum lot size from 5 acres to 1 acre. The developer is planning a residential mixed-use planned unit development for the property that would incorporate housing and compatible commercial use, according to the application with the county.

The rezone request for the KM Ranch Road property, along with six other public hearings, goes before the county planning board Wednesday, June 8. The planning board meets at 6 p.m., on the second floor conference room of the South Campus Building at 40 11th St. W. in Kalispell.

The Montarise property is undeveloped and forested. Many of the properties in the surrounding area are low-density residential, but there is higher density residential across U.S. 93 to the east in the Happy Valley subdivision.

Under current zoning, the property could be developed with about 30 lots, but following the zone change that would move to about 150 lots. However, Montarise in its application says it intends to use a PUD for the project thus using about 20 acres of the property for commercial use and the remaining 135 acres for 268 housing units.

APEC Engineering, representing Montarise, wrote in the application that increased demand for housing has redefined the local housing market and by increasing the housing inventory that can serve to fulfill the demand.

“This proposal for increased residential density and mixed-use offers a range of housing types, from varied types and sizes of single-family housing, to multifamily housing, and some commercial use within a concentrated, planned neighborhood setting,” the applicant notes. “The mixed-use portion provides a place for commercial use that enhances the community experience of this residential neighborhood, for convenience and to lessen the day/trip demand for some products and services.”

Water and sewer is expected to be provided through community systems.

A detailed traffic impact study is in the process of being developed for the subdivision, but the project is estimated to generate about 3,000 average daily trips. About 55% of that traffic would use KM Ranch Road.

The planning staff report notes that the proposal could have a negative impact on the transportation system because the proposal could create a 120% increase in traffic on KM Ranch near the intersection of U.S. 93.

According to the traffic study, intersection improvements will likely be needed at the KM Ranch and 93 intersection and also to the north at the Bowdish Road and 93 intersection as a result of the project.

Recommendations from the planning board regarding the requests are forwarded to the Flathead County Commissioners for final consideration.

Also on the planning board agenda:

• A request from Jon Wright for a lakeshore construction permit for a floating dock with the lakeshore protection zone of Lake Five. The property is located at 810 Ross Point Drive, West Glacier.

• A zone change request from Nancy Lippincott Trust, Jonathan Lippincott and Michael Lippincott, with technical assistance from Sands Surveying, for a zone change at 321 Inspiration Drive near Whitefish. The request seeks to rezone about 18 acres from SAG-10 to SAG-5.

• A zone change from Sands Surveying, on behalf of Tomas Garcia, for property within the Bigfork zoning district. The proposal would change the zoning on a parcel of land located at 1414 Bifork Stage near Bigfork from SAG-5 to R-1. The total acreage involved in the request is just over 10 acres.

• A zone change Dale Lindberg, with technical assistance from APEC Engineering, Inc., for property within the Evergreen zoning district. The proposal would change the zoning on property located at 128 East Evergreen Drive, Kalispell, from R-2 one-family limited residential to B-2 general business. The total acreage involved is 1.32 acres.

• A request from Sands Surveying, Inc., on behalf of Lancor LLC, for preliminary plat approval of Lone Aspen 2, a proposal to create two residential lots on 4.55 acres with an address of 559 Elk Highlands Drive. The proposed lots would be served by the Big Mountain water and sewer district.

• A request from Mike Fraser, on behalf of Saddlehorn II, LLC, for preliminary plat approval of Saddlehorn No. 13, a proposal to create eight residential lots and remove 12 existing townhome lots on 42.788 acres located south of Montana 209 at Bigfork. The subdivision lots would be served by public water supply and sewer systems.

Features Editor Heidi Desch may be reached at 758-4421 or hdesch@dailyinterlake.com.

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