A Washington developer is looking to build a 324-unit apartment complex off Two Mile Drive in Kalispell.
The developer and Kalispell city officials say the complex will help address the need for housing in the Flathead Valley, but nearby residents are concerned about increased traffic, groundwater issues and losing their views of the surrounding area. The proposed development, dubbed the Crossings at Spring Creek, was the subject of a Dec. 12 planning board meeting.
During the meeting, the seven-member board asked Todd Whipple, a consultant hired by Spokane-based developer Bytech Construction LLC, to provide additional information about how the 15-acre development will impact traffic in the surrounding area. The developer is seeking to annex the land, located north of Two Mile Drive on the west side of town, into the city of Kalispell and get a conditional use permit.
The apartment complex would be built in three phases from south to north. The first phase would include the construction of four three-story apartment buildings and a clubhouse; phase two would include five apartment buildings and a pickle ball court; and phase three would include five additional apartment buildings and a basketball court. There would also be garages for each apartment surrounding the complex. The apartments would be rented at market value.
Two Mile Drive would serve as the primary access to the complex, although eventually the developer would like to extend Teton Street into the development.
Bytech Construction wants to have the land zoned as RA-2, which would allow for more dense development with one housing unit for every 1,500 square feet of land. Most of the land surrounding the proposed development is zoned as RA-1, which allows for one housing unit for every 3,000 square feet of land. RA-2 also allows for professional office space to be developed on the land, but that is not part of the current proposal.
If the land was annexed into the city as RA-1, the developer could only build 220 housing units.
“We’re really excited to be bringing this development to the community,” Whipple told the planning board.
But some of the neighbors are less than thrilled with the prospect of a new development on the land not far from the U.S. Highway 93 bypass. More than two-dozen nearby residents attended the meeting to air their concerns about increased traffic and groundwater. Marilyn Driscoll said many basements flood in the spring because of poor water drainage in the area and she worried that additional development could exacerbate the issue. She was also concerned about how the three-story apartments would mix with the neighborhood dominated by single-family homes.
“This development will dominate the entire neighborhood,” she said.
Keith Ridgway told the board that he has two young children and is especially worried about the increase in traffic. Whipple said the development would result in and additional 2,155 average daily trips to and from the site. Ridgway said, since there are no sidewalks on the surrounding streets, that increase could pose a safety risk.
The planning board agreed and asked the developer to gather additional information about traffic in the area to provide a more complete picture of how the development could impact the neighborhood. The board continued the matter until its Jan. 9 meeting, but it will likely be continued further as consultants gather additional data about traffic.
“We really do need additional housing in this community, but we also need to have more information on this project,” said planning board member Ronalee Skees.
If the planning board does give the green light to the annexation of the land and a conditional use permit it would then go to the full city council for a final vote.