Variance Requested for Major Subdivision Northeast of Airport
October 26, 2017
SEELEY LAKE – Developers of a 160-acre lot northeast of the Seeley Lake Airport have applied for a variance through the Powell County Board of Adjustments. If granted, they can begin the approval process for a major subdivision currently named Swan Mountain Estates.
S.G. Montana, LLC currently owns the southwest quarter of Section 31 of Township 17N, Range 14W. The variance application states they will transfer development to JDC Development, LLC which is comprised of Gary Chilcott, Martin Cahoon of Seeley Lake, and Jarrett and Colton Fredericks of Helena.
Currently the land is zoned agricultural/rural with a minimum of 160 acres per residence. The developers want the zoning changed in the quarter section to allow for a 61-lot Planned Unit Development that will have a homeowner association and upscale covenants, codes and conditions for a private vacation or permanent home community. An equestrian center and gated entryway may also be included.
Powell County Planner Carl Hamming said that there will be plenty of opportunity for surrounding landowners and other interested parties to comment on the subdivision. There will be a public meeting with the Board of Adjustments prior to approving the variance in zoning. The meeting time and date has not been set yet because they are still waiting for more information to complete the developer’s application package.
If the variance is approved, Hamming said “then they begin the lengthy review where the Planning Board will also hold public hearings and discuss it.” Hamming added the developers will also have to apply for a permit with Department of Environmental Quality that allows for public comments and work with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Water Rights Bureau to address any concerns they have before development can begin.
Questions are already being asked by Seeley Lake residents concerning how the Powell County subdivision would pay for tax-based services provided by Missoula County such as roads and emergency services.
Hamming said Powell County is encouraging the developers to work with Missoula County as well as residents surrounding the potential subdivision to establish road share use agreements and contract out for emergency services. They also are advising them to write covenants within their landowners/homeowners association where the fees associated with living in the subdivision will cover the costs of the interlocal agreements.
While Hamming said Powell County has not historically engaged in county-county deals with subdivisions, he has seen successful examples in other places.
“The nearest rural town center is Ovando and there aren’t a lot of services coming out of Ovando,” said Hamming. “We just don’t have the capacity or resources to serve a subdivision up there so we are laying the burden on [the developers] to cover the cost and strike these agreements.”
All public hearings and meetings will be noticed in the Silver State Post, the weekly newspaper out of Deer Lodge. The information will also be posted on the Powell County website http://www.powellcountymt.gov, click on Planning Department. The Planning Department can be reached at 406-846-9729.