Planning board to consider final plats; rezoning; annexation and parking spaces

Several projects are set to go before the city Planning Advisory Board on Tuesday.

Among those actions is the final plat for Buffalo Crossing, a 2.2 acre parcel along the Missouri River that was subdivided into six parcels, earlier this year. The owner, Holman Grain, is hoping the action will help spur development of the property on the corner of Central Avenue West and Bay Drive, across from the federal courthouse. No development proposals have yet been made for the new lots.

City approves subdivision for Holman property at river’s edge

Beargrass Village

One of those items is a rezone request for Beargrass Village from planned unit development back to R-3 single family high density.

The city had rezoned the property in December from the R-3 zoning to a PUD when NeighborWorks Great Falls was planning the city’s first pocket neighborhood.

The property is the former site of Kranz Floral at northwest corner of 3rd Avenue South and 14th Street South.

But plans for the pocket neighborhood on that site have fallen through due to soil conditions that were going to significantly increase project costs.

Pocket neighborhood project on hold due to soil issues, single family residential likely planned for former Kranz lot

Now, NWGF is planning to build 7 single family homes on the site.

City staff is recommending approval of the zone change.

Skyline Annexation

The planning board will hear a request to annex seven residential lots into the city. Six are on the south side of Skyline Drive Northwest and one in on the northside. The lot on the northside is vacant and the owner is plaining to build a house.

The lots have been connected to a 2-inch water line that provided the properties with city water even though the properties are in the county. This service line has had multiple failures in the past and was made of a material that is no longer used by the city. According to the city, the line was allowed to be repaired in 2013, at which time, the property owners were informed that the city would not allow the noncomplying line to be repaired in the future.

In 2017, the Public Works department noticed significant leaking on the water line and the city reached out to the property owners to begin discussions about annexation and the installation of separate service lines, according to the staff report.

Staff is recommending approval of the annexation and assignment of R-2 single family medium density to the properties.

The annexation agreement includes fees and requirements for bringing Skyline Drive Northwest up to city standards, adding a boulevard style sidewalk, fire hydrants, a driveway connection and relocating mailboxes.

Due to the unique situation of this annexation of the six properties to the south of Skyline Drive Northwest, the city is allowing the existing drainfield or septic tanks that serve the properties to remain until they fail. At the time of failure, the property owners are required to abandon the drainfield or septic tank per the abandonment procedure of the Cascade County Health Department and  connect to the existing 8-inch diameter sewer main on city property to the south.

The northside lot owner will be required to meet city standards when the new house is constructed.

Westside Family Dental

The planning board will also consider a request from Westside Family Dental for a conditional use permit.

The clinic at 900 10th Ave. NW is zoned C-2 and is about 2,873 square feet. City code requires one parking spot per 250 square feet and the number of surface lot parking spaces can’t exceed the minimum by more than 20 percent without a CUP.

The minimum for the property with the additional 20 percent would be 15 parking spots but the applicant is proposing 19.

The property was previously Westside Dental Clinic and in existence since 1979. After selling the Fairfield office in 2017, the clinic expanded the Great Falls location. The clinic currently has 11 parking spots, but has 13 employees and treats 40-60 patients daily, according to the staff report. Currently, patients and staff are parking on the street and at a nearby restaurant and the clinic administration isn’t comfortable with everyone having to cross the street.

Having 19 spots still won’t be quite enough, but is necessary for the clinic to remain at the current location, according to the report.

Staff is recommending approval of the CUP.