NewsLocal NewsRavalli County


New Stevensville development leaves council with questions

Burnt Fork Estates First Hearing
Posted at 9:07 AM, Mar 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-18 11:08:35-04

STEVENSVILLE — Even after lengthy public hearings, major questions continue to dog a proposed development which has the potential to significantly increase the population of Stevensville.

If the Stevensville Town Council approves, Burnt Fork Estates would bring construction of up to 78-single family homes, 43-multi-family lots and a rezone for 16-light commercial lots on 57-acres off Logan Lane and Burnt Fork Road.

But getting to that point has been problematic. Not only has the pandemic created delays in public hearings, but questions continue to swirl around the project details. That includes concerns from the adjoining Creekside Meadows neighborhood.

Last week, even after hours of public hearings, some on the Town Council said there were still too many unknowns.

“We have public hearings. They have all these questions. We have all these questions we try and ask you the questions. We try and get the answers and then talk to the community and they have more. I mean it just doesn't work. This is too big of a project in my opinion. At this time it's not a viable proposal that you’ve proposed to us," said Jaime Devlin, Stevensville Town Councilwoman.

Dempsey Vick, another town councilman said the people currently living near the development were expecting the development not be as big.

“People that currently live in Creekside, when they bought their homes they were told that a development that would be going in there would be very similar to what they're in right now. And then it turns around and they're getting something completely different," said Vick.

And Paul Luddington, town councilman, says the developer still needs to take steps before breaking ground.

"There are a lot of hoops that everyone, including the town and the council, have to jump through before they're able to turn a shovel or sell a lot," said Luddington.

The council gave the developers' agent over an hour to rebut the concerns, without council asking questions, outside of a public hearing. Andy Mefford, the developers agent, argued the project is within the property's zoning and is a "mirror" of what was done in Creekside.

“I think at some point we need to make sure that if there's questions, we get those answered. But I think at some point also we need to get a decision," said Mefford.

As a response Vick said the developer is going to have to wait.

"It's a really sensitive area, and yes, you are entitled to an answer. But everybody is entitled to answers as well, right? You need a decision, but we need answers," said Vick.

Council tabled a decision, scheduling another public hearing April 1st, with Mefford agreeing to schedule a public forum to answer those lingering questions over Burnt Fork Estates.

That will happen March 23rd, starting at 6pm in the Multipurpose Room at Stevensville High School.