Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Here we go again

| December 21, 2022 1:25 PM

In August of this year the City of Columbia Falls put forward a subdivision that was so unrealistic that the planning board unanimously denied and would not forward it to the city council for approval.

Over 300 people showed up to tell the planning board the project did not fit our community.

Now (4 months later) the city planner and this developer James Barnett, who manages other millionaires’ money, is back again with another proposal that will ruin the community of Columbia Falls.

Same exact proposal as before minus a few housing units.

“Some people have so much money they have to spend it,” said a planning board member in August 2022. This time its 343 units at 2.5 people per unit equals 875 people at corner of River Road and Hwy 2. River Road traffic is currently at approx. 12,798 weekly. It is extremely dangerous to access the highway now, what will it be when the intersection is full of construction trucks, cement trucks, building supply trucks and the 100s of people who live on C-Falls Stage Road, Middle Road and Kelly Road?

He says he will move the access to the highway 375 feet to the east but only mention of a traffic light if the state requires it, maybe at full build out — unacceptable.

He says affordable housing — currently he charges $1,850 for a one bedroom.

He is proposing 126 units of ugly three story apartment buildings exactly like Silverbrook Apartments in Kalispell in the first year of construction.

They say that this development will produce 200 more students for our school system. Last public hearing a teacher broke down in tears saying the school is overburdened right now.

A local dentist in tears said she can not take care of her patients now, what does 875 more people do to our infrastructure.

Our sewer system can barely handle the load now, why would our city planners propose something the community does not want or need.

This developer states the community wants more housing because Applied Materials is expanding, well, that’s his assumption only, He is not in touch with Columbia Falls nor is our city planner.

With the current subdivisions on the books we have met the goal of the Growth Policy of 2019.

Lastly, there are at least three huge subdivisions east of this that are waiting for this developer to put the sewer under the river so they can build their subdivisions and hook up to the sewer under the river, headwaters of the most pristine river in America.

Please put Jan. 10, 6:30 p.m. Columbia Falls Junior High Cafeteria on your calendar to let our city/county planning board know how you feel. Your voice is so important. Our future as a community is currently in serious jeopardy.

Gary Hall

Columbia Falls

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