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By Andi Bourne

Amendment Proposed to Cottonwood Gravel Pit Haul Route


November 2, 2017

SEELEY LAKE – The Double Arrow Land Owners’ Association (DARLOA) Board of Directors requested an amendment to the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) approved by Powell County for the Cottonwood Gravel Pit proposed by Deer Creek Excavating, LLC. The amendment asks the restrictions be amended to allow Evergreen Drive to be utilized as a haul route for gravel projects within the Double Arrow Ranch.

In the original CUP approved for Deer Creek Excavating, LCC by Powell County in August, 2017, one of the conditions restricted use of Evergreen Drive. It states, “Except in emergency situations in which emergency vehicles require access via Evergreen Drive, access to the pit will be restricted to Morrell Creek Rd./Woodworth Seeley Lake Rd./Cottonwood Lakes Road. Gravel trucks and vehicles for gravel product operations within the Double Arrow Ranch are restricted to accessing the Double Arrow Ranch development via Highway 83, south of Seeley Lake.”

The Board voted 6-1 in favor of requesting Powell County to amend the restriction and allow gravel to be hauled on Evergreen Drive for projects on the Ranch.

In a letter to Powell County the Board wrote, “It is our desire to take advantage of having multiple local gravel sources in the Seeley Lake area. Additional local gravel sources will provide needed options for both DARLOA as well as our landowners. However, with the current restrictions on Evergreen Drive, the DARLOA, our road maintenance contractor (as well as other contractors we hire for projects) and our landowners are prohibited from taking advantage of another local gravel source and directly accessing gravel from the Deer Creek Excavating gravel pit.”

Also in the letter, the Board stated that they are making improvements to Evergreen Drive that will be completed by early November to make it safer for landowners and large commercial vehicles.

In DARLOA’s proposed amendment, it states that Deer Creek Excavating would be responsible for dust mitigation on Evergreen Drive. It also specifies that Evergreen Drive can only be used for projects where Deer Creek Excavating is working on projects and delivering gravel to the Double Arrow Ranch and its landowners and where DARLOA and/or its contractors need access to the pit for purposes of road maintenance and other projects. Because of the proximity to the Ranch, it will be a cost savings versus the restricted haul route out to Highway 83 and up through the Ranch.

While they acknowledge that this will increase travel on Evergreen Drive, it will be on a periodic basis and not a consistent basis.

Landowner Pat Elliott was part of the group who asked for the restriction to be included in the original CUP.

“We feel betrayed by our own homeowner’s association (DARLOA) and plan to address the issue at the Powell County Planning Board meeting Nov. 9,” wrote Elliott in an email representing 25 Double Arrow landowners.

“As a Board, we have a fiduciary responsibility to make sound financial decisions that are best for the landowners. We also want to protect our roads and the landowners by limiting large, commercial vehicle travel to servicing the Association and landowners within the Ranch,” wrote the board in a letter to DARLOA members dated Oct. 9. “We see this as a balance of our responsibilities to all landowners.”

The proposed amendment will be discussed at the Planning Board meeting on Nov. 9 at 1 p.m. in Deer Lodge at the Wm. K. Kohrs Memorial Library, 501 Missouri Ave. in the downstairs meeting room. Written comments can also be mailed to Powell County Planning Department, 409 Missouri Ave., Suite 101 Deer Lodge, MT 59722 or emailed to Planning Director Carl Hamming, prior to the Nov. 9 meeting.


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