Ashley Heights Subdivision Proposal Too Dense

By Beacon Staff

The Kalispell City Council Tuesday night backed off from annexing 8.5 acres sandwiched between Sunnyside Drive and the proposed Highway 93 bypass for the “Ashley Heights” subdivision.

The developers pushed for denser zoning than the city planning board recommended, arguing that they simply could not sell more expensive homes on larger lots that would eventually be jammed up against the 93 bypass.

“The bypass are hard sales,” Tom Bowen, one of the developers, told the council. “That’s why we love the duplexes or town homes along the bypass.”

But city planning staff maintained that pushing density upon the bypass would create a noisy, inappropriate living environment.

The council voted, 6 to 1, against annexing the land, essentially telling the developers to head back to the drawing board and come back with a new plan for a less dense development. Mayor Pam Kennedy cast the dissenting vote after it was clear the motion would fail.

The council also unanimously approved a parks and recreation master plan for the city, recommending about $8 million in parkland purchases over the next six years as Kalispell expands. The city has two ways to pay for the parks program: through impact fees and the pulling from the general fund, or through bonding. Some council members said they opposed any further bonding.

Unanimous approval was granted by the council to set up a drug or alcohol treatment court, with mostly federal funding.

The council also granted final plat approval to the Holiday Inn Express near West Reserve Drive, and the Westwood Park subdivision at the northern end of Corporate Drive.

The council will meet again Tuesday, May 29, to work on the budget. Its next regular meeting will be June 4.

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