Saturday, January 28, 2023

More concerns about Tamarack Meadows

| January 11, 2023 12:50 PM

The planning board rejected the River Highlands development just less than six months ago. The recurring themes for denial were “the character of the neighborhood,” “the impact on the Flathead River,” and what seemed to be the biggest of all, “safety and traffic.” 

I think we can all agree after last week’s meeting on Tamarack Meadows that this development poses two of those same issues - the character of the neighborhood and safety and traffic. As the Mayor stated, last night’s meeting was a legal hearing and I believe the legal representation for the council and the city should take that into account that the planning board just rejected a subdivision with 2/3 of the reasons being the exact same in this case...

As Barb Riley mentioned, this subdivision in no way, shape or form emulates the quality of life and the quality of homes throughout the surrounding parts of the greater Meadow Lake community and Mountain Watch. Now that the planning board and council have the additional information that the proposed subdivision conflicts with Meadow Lake CC and Rs (which it would fall into), it seems haste to approve something that can’t even then be built. I understand this is “typically” outside of the council’s job, however when was this ever brought up in a prior subdivision plan? 

As many residents including the homeowners at 315 Meadow Lake Drive mentioned, the traffic impact study does not account for the vast majority of homeowners to be retirees/empty nesters taking many more than two trips per day... The traffic impact study conducted is very inaccurate and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s realistic to multiply it by two or three times. 

That then goes on to say, the Mayor stated he’d like to attempt to take construction traffic off of Meadow Lake Drive and push it onto Turnberry Terrace. There are many families on Turnberry Terrace with children — many snow days the kids sled down the street. Not to mention, Turnberry Terrace is a “private” road. I do not see how this is possible for the council to propose and I will be advocating for our Mountain Watch HOA to explore our rights on the matter. 

It’s my understanding that the mission statement for the City of Columbia Falls is is to foster a community that appeals to individuals, families, businesses and investors. Columbia Falls is a city that encourages individual rights and responsibilities, promotes aesthetics and recreation, and provides safety and security. By listening to its citizens and responding to their needs, by respecting diversity and differences of opinion, and by evaluating the status quo and practicing thoughtful planning, the city provides excellent value at reasonable cost.

All-in-all, quite a few things have changed since 2006 and this is not the same time period and I would urge the planning board and the council to look back at their mission and really see which citizens this proposed development is benefiting, because the only ones it seems to be benefiting are the developers by way of profit. No nearby residents are in favor of the current plan.

Based on the River Highlands project being rejected nearly on the same grounds (a good case for legal precedent), Turnberry Terrace being a “private road” (in which there’s no reason for construction traffic to be redirected to versus Meadow Lake Drive — a county road), serious safety and traffic concerns (as it was also mentioned, a child was killed last year), and the subdivision being out of character for the area; I truly believe the planning board and the council are opening the city up to some serious legal liability should they vote the project through as proposed.

I have been involved in several developments and several large scale subdivision meetings in the past throughout various parts of the country and I strongly urge the planning board and the council to make great amends to this plan or reject it. 

Cole Mizak

Columbia Falls

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