Next West Ridge phase getting started on northern edge of city

More housing development is coming to the northern edge of the city.

A 4.9 acre tract of land in the area of 2nd Street Northeast and Choteau Avenue Northeast was annexed in 2015 and assigned R-3 single-family zoning. Earlier this year, the City Commission approved rezoning the property to Planned Unit Development to allow for a mix of two-unit townhomes and single family houses.

This week, the Planning Advisory Board will consider a request for a preliminary plat for West Ridge Addition Phase VIII.

This phase would create 18 lots that range in size from 8,385 to 8,439 square feet, but two lots are proposed at 11,000 square feet.

The developer has connected this phase of the property to existing city roadways by extending 2nd Street Northeast and dedicated Choteau Avenue Northeast as part of the phase. City staff are recommending that the west end of Choteau Avenue have a temporary gravel cul-de-sac installed, though it may require a modified easement from the owner of the Thaniel Addition. Boulevard style sidewalks will be constructed along each lot frontage at the time of home construction and will connect to a fully built-out sidewalk network, according to the staff report.

The developer will install utilities and has worked with the city and adjacent property owner for regional stormwater management facilities immediately to the north, but that will be designed and installed at a later date. Until then, the developer is required to provide temporary stormwater management facilities and will begin the installation of a piped storm drain system with this phase, according to the staff report.

Neighborhood Council 3 voted Sept. 7 to support the project.

This phase is part of a much larger development that has been underway since 2003.

In 2015, the City Commission approved a final plat for Phase VII, which was 38 single-family residential lots. Along with that, the commission approved annexation of 58.7 acres to be divided into 171 lots for Phases VII – XI, which will be final platted over a number of years. At that time, the city also created an improvement agreement with the developer to outline the required improvements relating to roadways, utilities, storm water and more as the phases materialize.

According to documents in the staff report for the Phase VIII request, this phase through XII will include 139 lots continuing north around 2nd and 4th Streets Northeast to 43rd Avenue Northeast.

At the time this property was annexed in 2015, two people spoke in opposition. Many other voiced concerns about the neighboring Thaniel Addition development, which includes 60 mutual self-help build homes through NeighborWorks Great Falls.

City Commission agenda includes multiple controversial items

Earlier this year, the commission approved a PUD for the entire 58.7 acre property allowing all future phases to incorporate townhomes. That same commission action also approved a modification to Phase VII to increase the lots from 38 to 42.

There was no public comment on the matter at the February meeting. According to the staff report, no public comment has been received on the next proposed phase.