Kalispell Planning Board sends controversial housing developments forward
Daily Inter Lake | March 16, 2023 12:00 AM
The Kalispell Planning Board on Tuesday sent forward three housing development applications to City Council despite numerous objections raised by public commenters.
Most controversial appeared to be the proposed Stillwater Village development, which received a board recommendation for a zone change and preliminary plat. The subdivision, located off of U.S. 93 between Silverbrook Estates and the Northern Pines Golf Course, would consist of eight phases and 181 lots over nearly 47 acres.
The zone change would allow the development of townhouses, though planning staff pointed out that the unit density would remain the same as is allowed by the current zoning designation. The plat calls for 67 detached single-family and 114 attached townhouse-style homes.
Residents of Silverbrook Estates and members of the Northern Pines Homeowners Association raised concerns about the proposed development, with some calling for its rejection outright.
Commenters had issues with street lighting and changing the character of the area, but the most common complaint was about the impact of new development on the traffic density and flow on and off of U.S. 93.
Residents were concerned that the proposed development could lead to the creation of a “three-quarter intersection” of U.S. 93 and Silverbrook Drive and Tronstad Road. Such a feature would prevent motorists from turning left out of either street, they said.
Resident Rodney Fowler said the increased traffic would negatively affect an already dangerous situation for motorists entering and exiting the highway.
“If approved this will create substantial and indefensible risks for public safety,” Fowler said to the board.
Dennis Barr asked for the plan to be tabled until an updated traffic impact statement with proposed mitigation measures was submitted. He wanted to see left-turn lanes into Silverbrook Estates lengthened.
Rob Bragg was concerned that the proposed design of the development, which includes an additional 20 acres of parkland, would adversely affect local wetlands wildlife.
Despite the objections, the board took the staff’s recommendation and voted to recommend the development, sending it to City Council for consideration.
The board also recommended an application from Michael Sandefer for the preliminary plat
for Bitterroot Heights No. 2, a major subdivision at 249 Three Mile Drive that would include 13 single-family lots on approximately 4 acres.
Also forward with a positive recommendation was a request from Brent Holdings, LLC, for
annexation and initial zoning, along with a request for major preliminary plat approval
for Creekside Subdivision, a residential subdivision with 71 single-family lots on just under 25 acres.
The project calls for 35 detached single-family lots and 36 attached single-family lots.
The subdivision property is located on Farm-to-Market Road, and received criticism from neighbors who felt that it would impede their mountain views and interfere with livestock and shooting ranges.
Finally, the planning board recommended approval of a request for the expansion of a homeless shelter operated by Ray of Hope Ministries on Fifth Avenue West.
The request is for a new 1,300-square-foot garage with an apartment on top of their facility at 46 Fifth Avenue West.
Ray of Hope director Dave McLean said the new apartment would not increase the shelter’s capacity but would allow families to stay together during their stay. Currently, parents are split up, with fathers staying at the men’s shelter and mothers and children at the women’s shelter across the street.
McLean told the planning board that housing intact families would help with their recovery from drug and alcohol abuse.
Each of the requests will now go before City Council on April 3.
Reporter Adrian Knowler can be reached at 758-4407 or firstname.lastname@example.org