36-unit apartment complex proposed for American Avenue, near Hickory Swings Golf Course

A retirement home and 32-unit condominium had been planned for a property near Hickory Swing Golf Course.

That project never happened and now a developer is proposing to construct three 12-unit apartment buildings for a total of 36 units on a 2.84 parcel on the south side of American Avenue Southwest, between the golf course and Emerald Drive.

The property was rezoned to planned unit development in 2006 for the 64-bed retirement home and condos, and the developer, Silver Stone Homes, is requesting to amend the PUD to allow for the apartments. The property has been vacant since the PUD was created.

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Rendering of the proposed apartment buildings off American Avenue.

The city’s Planning Advisory Board will consider the request during their May 8 meeting. Notice of the public hearing was published in the paper on April 22 and last week, the city received a letter of opposition to the PUD amendment from the Emerald Green Condominium Association. The letter expresses concerns over traffic, potential accidents and emergency response and evacuation procedures in the event of a chemical spill at the BNSF rail yard. The letter indicates a preference for single family homes or 6-8 condo complex.

The developer is requesting that the development standards for the lot include specifications from the city’s R-6 multi-family high density zoning district, allowing for higher maximum building height, a shorter rear yard setback and allows for a detached garage.

The developer has also proposed ingress and egress for the development to occur off American Avenue. Because the development includes more than 30 units, Great Falls Fire Rescue has requested an additional point of access in case of blockage to the American Avenue access point. The developer as added a secondary emergency access from the golf course drive that will include a knockdown emergency gate, according to the staff report.

The project will include installation of boulevard style sidewalks on American Avenue and interior walkways for the complex. A landscaped berm is proposed to serve as a noise and visual buffer between the development and the rail yard.

The developer is proposing two detached garages, each 2,016 square feet, and two carports. One carport is proposed at 672 square feet and the other at 1,344 square feet. The proposal includes 28 total covered parking spaces and 26 surface spaces, four of which will be handicapped accessible.

The developer presented the project to Neighborhood Council 2 in September and the council voted in favor of the project. The developer is planning to present the project to the council again during their May 9 meeting.