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More housing slated for Diane Road, caretaker house approved, too

| September 29, 2021 12:30 PM

Hungry Horse News

More housing could soon be coming to Diane Road. The Columbia Falls city council last week approved a conditional use permit application by Adam Gardner at 10 Diane Road for two six-plexes on the property.

A conditional use permit for the vacant site was initially approved by the city council in 2019, but the previous owner never developed it.

Currently there are at least 19-multi-family housing units on Diane Road. This one is nearly identical to the one approved in 2019, the planning staff report noted.

One condition requires Gardner to pay the city $1,000 toward improvements of the nearby John Horine Park, which serves the neighborhood, rather than create additional park space.

Like the rest of the neighborhood, the building would be served by city sewer and water.

Separately, council also approved a caretakers building at the Cedar Creek Industrial Park. The modular building will be a one-bedroom apartment and conference room.

The idea is to have someone living on the premises for security at the industrial park, which is just north of Railroad Street.

No one from the public spoke for or against either project.

In other news:

• The telephone booth downtown has been removed and will not be replaced. It was one of the last telephone booths in the area and privately owned. It was in the city right-of-way, city manager Susan Nicosia noted.

• Councilwoman Jenny Lovering inquired on what the procedure is for businesses with unsecured garbage. Bears have been roaming the city the past few weeks and some businesses don’t have bear-resistant garbage containers. Nicosia said they notify the local game warden who, in turn, works with the business. In that vein, it was also suggested by councilmembers that the path from Columbus Park to River’s Edge Park be posted for bears. It’s a dark route through the trees and bears do use it as well.

• Council discussed getting generators for the sewage lift stations and the new city well at Horine Park. The city plans on installing a generator at the well. If the power goes out, the city would only have water pressure for about eight hours without the pumps running, Nicosia noted. Mayor Don Barnhart said it should be a priority to get generators for sewage lift stations as well, as they, too, would backup if the power goes out. The city has nine lift stations.

• The police department had a new record, chief Clint Peters said. Officers responded to 1,200 calls last month. He commended the staff for its hard work. He also noted that outside of a few incidents, the city hasn’t seen the violent crimes that other cities in the valley are dealing with. Kalispell had a homicide and shooting a couple of weeks ago outside of a health fitness facility.