Friday, April 17, 2009

County nears decision on Cove Springs

Commission plans to start deliberations later this month

Express Staff Writer

The Blaine County Commission is inching closer to a long-awaited decision on the proposed Cove Springs subdivision.

Commissioners took up but did not complete Tuesday their consideration of a revised application to develop Cove Ranch, a 4,635-acre property five miles south of Bellevue along Gannett Road. It was the commission's second hearing on the modified application.

The commissioners' next hearing to discuss Cove Springs has been scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 28.

The first application to develop Cove Ranch was ultimately rejected by the county in late 2007. That decision led to a protracted court battle and, ultimately, a mediated agreement between the county and the Cove Springs developers. The agreement stated that the developers would come up with a revised application that the county would then consider.

The new Cove Springs application pulls the majority of the original 300-plus lots envisioned for the portion of the ranch known as the "Cove." Under the revised application, just 24 estate and equestrian lots are proposed for that portion of the ranch.

The home sites on those lots would be limited to a strict one-acre building envelope.

In March, the Blaine County Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval for the revised application as well as an application to rezone the northern portion of the ranch closer to Bellevue to allow for future residential development.

The County Commission will have the final say on the development application.

Blaine County Commissioner Tom Bowman said the commission will likely begin its official deliberation of the application at the next meeting. In comparison to the first round of comments on the original Cove Springs development application, public comments on the new plan have generally been more supportive.

Jason Kauffman:

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