affordable unit for new subdivision approval
Express Staff Writer
could be a precedent-setting move, the Blaine County Commissioners on
Thursday told an applicant for a proposed subdivision that he should
provide a unit of affordable housing on the property.
Scherer and Charlie Holt, operating as Mid Valley Ventures, want to
subdivide their 16-acre parcel at the corner of Highway 75 and Deer
Creek Road into 11 lots. The planning and zoning commission recommended
approval of the Deer Valley Farms Subdivision #2 at the conclusion of a
public hearing in July. A decision was scheduled to be made by the board
of commissioners Thursday.
a proposed road that would loop through the subdivision to the adjacent
Little Acres subdivision remains a sore spot with residents there, who
fear an increase in traffic on what is now a dead-end road.
of a commissioners’ meeting on Jan. 22 indicate that the board
approved a split of a larger property that includes the proposed
subdivision on the condition that the lot through which the proposed
loop road connects to Little Acres be excluded from it. However,
subsequent plans presented by Galena Engineering have continued to show
that lot and the loop road as originally proposed.
just feel like there is a sort of bait-and-switch thing going on
here," said Little Acres resident Adam Tanous.
Dennis Wright, who made the motion on Jan. 22 to split the property and
exclude the one lot, declined to comment on the subject while it remains
controversy on the subject at Thursday’s meeting helped prompt the
commissioners to postpone the application to an as-yet-unscheduled
second meeting. Before the meeting adjourned, however, discussion among
the commissioners indicated agreement with the neighbors’ objections.
another issue that has more impact on the county as a whole,
Commissioner Sarah Michael told the applicants that she would like to
see a "community housing" unit built on part of a lot now
reserved for a small communal horse barn and corral. She said she based
her request on a need to mitigate the additional demand on local housing
that will be created by the employees required to maintain the houses
built in the subdivision. Details of the house, she said, would be
worked out with the Blaine County Housing Authority.
subsequent interview, Michael said she believes such a request can be
made legally binding under the county’s subdivision ordinance.
have to consider the impact on public infrastructures," she said.
way to address the impact on housing, she contended, is to build it on
the property where employees will be working.
Prosecuting Attorney Tim Graves said in an interview that he would have
to research the subject before offering an opinion on whether the county
could enforce such a measure.
for Smart Growth Executive Director Anjie Saunders called Michael’s
request "a step in the right direction," saying an affordable
housing unit should be required in every new subdivision over a certain