City Commission asked to set March 7 public hearing for Dick’s RV Park rezone for 513-unit apartment complex
City Commissioners will consider on first reading during their Feb. 7 meeting a request to rezone the Dick’s RV Park property from R-10 mobile home park to R-6 high density multi-family zoning.
Commissioners will be asked to set a public hearing on the rezone for March 7.
The full staff report for the Feb. 7 commission meeting is here.
The developer, Craig Development of North Dakota, is planning a 513-unit apartment complex and clubhouse for the property.
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The applicant is under contract to purchase the property pending the zone change and subdivision.
The city planning board voted to recommend approval of the project in January. The neighborhood council voted in December to support the project.
The applicant, Craig Development out of North Dakota, has requested to rezone the roughly 15-acre property from R-10 Mobile Home Park to R-6 Multi-family High Density.
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Much of the opposition to the project has focused on traffic concerns.
The city used third party engineering firm, Sanderson Stewart, to conduct a traffic study on the impact the proposed development would have on local traffic infrastructure.
The traffic study determined that the project would generate more traffic at key intersections, including the exit ramps off of Country Club Boulevard and 14th Street Southwest, as well as the intersection of 14th Street Southwest and 13th Avenue Southwest, but the future capacity results are very similar to the existing conditions, according to staff.
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The traffic study found that the project wouldn’t have enough impact to traffic to change the levels of service at the nearby intersections, but one had a C-rating because of the short turn signal since fewer cars are typically waiting in that direction, according to staff.
The developer has asked the Montana Department of Transportation to allow for emergency access from 6th Street Southwest into the east side of the property where there’s currently a 12-foot wide pathway that connects the RV park to a multi-use trail that runs along 6th Street Southwest, according to staff.
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The emergency access is required by fire code and is a condition of approval for the rezoning request, according to city staff, as well as working with Great Falls Fire Rescue for accessibility from Fire Station 4, which is currently blocked by a narrow, raised median.
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The property includes two parcels, one is 14.8 acres, which is Tract 2, and the other is 1.9 acres, Tract 1.
Tract 1 borders the Sun River and would be used only as a park with outdoor amenities, according to the staff report. That parcel can’t be developed due to floodplain restrictions, according to staff. A portion in the northwest corner of Tract 2 is also in the floodplain and any construction in that area would have to comply with floodplain restrictions.
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The existing campground use isn’t allowed in the R-10 zoning district, but is considered a legal, non-conforming land use since that’s how it’s been used for decades.
The applicant is proposing to construct five buildings with a main level of parking and four levels of housing above.
The complex would be accessed from 13th Avenue Southwest, which is the same street that currently provides access to the RV park, according to staff.
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The project would also require extension of the nearby water main and sanitary sewer, and stormwater management.
Staff recommended approval of the rezone, despite it being noncontiguous to other lots with the same zoning designation because:
- the property is already zoned R-10, which currently allows a different form of multi-unit development, the current use of the property is also a different form of higher density housing;
- the property borders an active rail line, two extremely busy roadways, and commercially zoned property to the south. This makes low density residential development less attractive;
- although the property borders two very busy roadways, there is no ability to access these roadways for anything other than emergency service. This lack of easy access makes nonresidential development much less feasible.
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The traffic study concludes estimated that about 2,329 gross trips could be generated daily and recommended that stop signs be located on site from the proposed apartment complex as drivers will be turning onto 13th Avenue Southwest.
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Andrew Finch, the city’s transportation planner, said during the December meeting that staff would monitor the traffic in the area if the development is constructed, and make future traffic control modifications if necessary.
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Robert Osowski, with Woith Engineering, told the board in December that they’re planning to start construction this summer and will try to maintain as many existing trees as possible.
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