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Kalispell Mayor suggests city should plan to grow to north

by ADRIAN KNOWLER
Daily Inter Lake | March 7, 2023 12:00 PM

Mayor Mark Johnson on Monday spoke of a desire to amend the city’s growth policy to include annexation to the north following Kalispell City Council’s approval of two housing subdivisions.

In his closing remarks, Johnson said that Kalispell should consider taking the lead when it comes to urban planning by annexing land that is north of current municipal boundaries.

“Do we go to the south edge of [Montana] 40?” Johnson mused. “[Do] we go up U.S. 2, south of the Blue Moon?”

“That land will be consumed, and it will be developed one way or another, within the county or within the city,” Johnson said. “The question is: Which city is going to do it?”

The statements came after Council approved the annexation, zoning, and plats of the Timberwolf Ridge housing development planned to be located south in the vicinity of Glacier High School. The subdivision, slated for construction at 605 Stillwater Road at the intersection with Timberwolf Parkway, would have 400 apartments upon completion.

Council members praised the size and design of the proposed development, saying that it would add much needed units to the city’s housing stock.

Council also approved the preliminary plat for the second and third phases of Spring Creek Park, which staff described as consistent with last year’s approved plan for the housing development. The approved layout allows for 18 single-family lots, one commercial lot, and three multi-family lots which could contain a total of up to 464 apartments.

The project is located southeast of the intersection of Three Mile Drive and West Springcreek Road.

COUNCIL ALSO approved collective bargaining agreements with the municipal employees and police unions, as well as a salary matrix for non-union employees.

The new three year agreements with unionized municipal employees and police employees includes an adjustment in the base salary of 4% for Fiscal Year 2025 and a 3% base wage increase, as well as a yearly 1.3% step increase on the salary matrix

For non-union employees, the pay matrix sets rates using average compensation at similarly sized Montana cities for comparable city government jobs.

Reporter Adrian Knowler can be reached at 758-4407 or aknowler@dailyinterlake.com