Love’s Travel Stop annexation on city planning board agenda Tuesday

The Love’s Travel Stop and Country Stores project is progressing and the company has requested annexation into the city and zoning for the property just off the I-15 interchange at Gore Hill.

The two parcels that will be annexed will be part of a development that will include two additional parcels already within the city limits that are owned by the Great Falls International Airport Authority.

On July 9, the city’s Planning Advisory Board/Zoning Commission will conduct a public hearing on the annexation and zoning request.

Love’s Travel Stop planning Great Falls location

The applicant needs to annex the two parcels into the city since development of the project cannot cross jurisdictional lines.

love's map

Water, sewer and sanitary services are currently within or near the two airport-owned parcels that are within the city limits that is to be part of the Love’s development.

Water services will not be needed for the two lots that are to be annexed, according to the city staff report, but a public water main will need to be extended to service the development site.

An existing sanitary service line that crosses the two Love’s parcels to be annexed will be rerouted to accommodate the construction of the development.

So far, staff has received no correspondence regarding the project.

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If the two parcels are annexed, city staff is proposing that they be zoned AI Airport Industrial since it best fits with the existing parcels within the city limits located to the northwest.

Any future building construction or building additions will be governed under the AI zoning district standards, according to the staff report.

None of the parcels proposed for annexation are outside any neighborhood council district.

Multiple projects in the works near Great Falls airport

City staff is recommending the approval of the annexation and zoning with the following conditions:

  • General Code Compliance. The proposed project shall be developed consistent with the conditions in this report, and all codes and ordinances of the City of Great Falls, the State of Montana, and all other applicable regulatory agencies.
  • Annexation and Development Agreement. The applicant shall abide by the terms and conditions specified in the attached Annexation and Development Agreement for the subject properties. The Annexation and Development Agreement must be signed by the applicant and recorded with the Cascade County Clerk and Recorder’s office.

During their June 25 meeting, the airport authority board voted 5-0 to authorize John Faulkner, the airport director, to negotiate the development agreement with the city. The board had a draft agreement to read during the meeting.

Largest private hangar in Montana under construction at Great Falls airport

Faulkner said during the meeting that a portion of the Love’s property will be subject to the city street assessment. Airport property is not subject to that assessment, Faulkner said.

Faulkner said that the city agreed to defer the sidewalk requirement for now, since there’s not currently a pedestrian or bike path to the airport. But, that could change in the future with more development, he said.

The project is adjacent to the city’s 911 emergency dispatch center and there is some work being done to adjust the road around the center.

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The Great Falls International Airport Authority Board has plans to close Airport Avenue B, purchase a section of the old airport road to move and construct a new Airport Avenue B that would also provide access to other parcels where a separate development is planned.

Faulkner said last fall that the current Airport Avenue B is offset from the entrance to the Montana Air National Guard and that will cause traffic problems as additional developments are constructed. He’s been talking about moving or realigning Airport Avenue B for several years.

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The airport has applied to the city for tax increment financing funds to support the road project.

The airport has been trying to buy a section of the closed road that is privately owned in order to realign the road. Faulkner said if the road has more uses than the airport, then the project is ineligible for funding through the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.