KALISPELL - A proposed subdivision decision on KM Ranch Road in Kalispell has been tabled until next month so that a large number of written responses received Wednesday night can be reviewed — and to accommodate more comments from people who were on Zoom.
It was a full house at the meeting which was moved to the Expo Center at the Flathead County Fairgrounds to accommodate the crowd. Over 50 people spoke at the meeting, all in opposition to this zone change and proposed development.
The main concerns voiced were driving safety on KM Ranch Road, which is part gravel, very narrow and has many sharp blind corners. The wildlife, water and sewer, strain on emergency resources, wildfires and the loss of rural Montana lifestyle were also big issues people talked about.
The Flathead County Planning Board will either approve or oppose the zoning change request by developer Montarise and then present their decision to the Flathead County commissioners, who will have the final say on the issue — and do not have to follow what the planning board recommends.
Friends for Responsible Rural Growth is a nonprofit that was formed in opposition to this zone change proposal. They had already received 995 signatures on a petition to oppose the change, but the numbers may have risen.
“This is not, 'not in my backyard.' This is about the wrong development for the wrong reason that's going to create unsafe living and house hazards. This is about unsafe living conditions," said Friends for Responsible Rural Growth member Julie Rommel.
"They are putting this in a wildlife urban center where there's high risk of wildfire. And we know that this traffic is going to create congestion making it difficult for any first responders to get access to us," Rommel continued. "We know that it's going to change our way of life.”
Montarise Developments LLC is requesting that the wooded, undeveloped land at KM Ranch Road and Highway 93 be rezoned from Suburban Agriculture Zoning to Suburban Residential. As it is zoned right now, the 155 acres could be developed into 31 homes.
If the zoning change is approved, it would allow about 150 homes to be developed. Montarise has also filed an incomplete preliminary plat and PUD application, that if completed and passed would allow for 268 housing units, a business park, a school or church, and a 73-unit RV park.