County postpones decision on 78-lot development near airport to July 30

Lingering questions and some public comments prompted County Commissioners to delay a decision on a proposed 78-lot subdivision near the airport.

Mike Hagen is proposing to subdivide 297.85 acres into the Mountain View Estates Development North with 76 residential lots ranging in size from 2.38 to 5.347 acres and two parkland lots that would be 3.766 and 2.080 acres.

The county planning board approved the preliminary plat during their June 4 meeting, but a number of adjacent property owners expressed concerns during that meeting.

The proposed subdivision would be accessed by Airport Bench Road and at full development would generate an estimated additional 727 trips per day, according to the county planning office.

Under the proposed plan, the developer would be required to install a total of 48,000 gallons of fire suppression cisterns to cover the entire subdivision and has plans to install a total of 50,000 gallons across four locations, according to the staff report. Each phase would include the installation of two 12,500 gallon tanks in two different locations, ensuring that the entire subdivision is within 1000 feet of a fire suppression system, according to the staff report.

Since the proposed development is near the airport, the airport director has requested that avigation easements be attached to the properties regarding noise and airport traffic.

John Faulkner, director of the Great Falls International Airport, told The Electric that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration no longer funds noise mitigation projects near airports so they wanted the easements so that any prospective property owner would understand the potential for noise and air traffic and not try to sue the airport.

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Mark Leo with Big Sky Civil and Environmental is working on the project and told commissioners during the June 25 meeting that the development team was working with the airport.

Commissioner Jane Weber said she wanted to ensure the easement issue was squared away before voting and that she wanted all three commissioners to be present for the vote. Commissioner Joe Briggs was absent for the June 25 meeting.

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The county planning office did not notify the Montana Air National Guard of the proposed development and the county commissioners asked that the military wing be alerted.

Nearby property owner Stacy Hovland said her family has been farming the area for years and she’s worried about the density of the proposed development, drainage, traffic and fire protection.

Velma Jordan, an adjacent property owner, said her family has been farming the area for 50 years.

She said there’s some nice houses in the area that were planned well. She said those were 5 acre lots and she was concerned about the proposed 2 acre lots for the Mountain View Estates subdivision.

Brian Jordan said they weren’t opposed to growth but were concerned about the small lot sizes and said they weren’t consistent with the rural, agricultural character of the area.

With the Cascade County jail at the interstate interchange where a Love’s Travel Stop coming to the same intersection, Brian Jordan said that a master plan should be developed for the area that is likely to see significant growth in coming years.