Subdivision near airport wins preliminary approval

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A subdivision planned near Glacier Park International Airport won preliminary plat approval from the Flathead County commissioners on Monday, although a request by Evergreen Fire Rescue to provide fire hydrants at the development is still being worked out.

Tyler Apgar and Tonia Gardner plan to build a 31-lot residential subdivision on 42 acres along Trumble Creek Road. The biggest issue for the developers is a letter received recently from Evergreen Fire Rescue requiring a water supply for fire suppression of 1,000 gallons per minute for a duration of two hours. That volume will require four fire hydrants to be installed in the subdivision to provide sufficient water for fire demands.

Will Goodpaster of TD&H Engineering, the technical representative for the project, said the requirement would add about $200,000 to the project cost, and flies in the face of what traditionally has been required for other neighboring residential developments.

“All other subdivisions in that area don’t have hydrants,” Goodpaster told the commissioners, adding that most subdivisions in that neighborhood use a recharge tank for on-site storage.

The hydrant requirement will add the cost of another well, a well pump, emergency generator and associated costs to the project, he said.

Commissioner Gary Krueger said rural fire departments have tanker capacity to provide “tens of thousands of gallons of water” through mutual aid. He asked if the letter from Evergreen Fire came with findings of fact or any rationale for imposing the water supply requirement.

When Krueger learned the water requirement was imposed without any findings, he said “to put conditions on randomly without findings of fact does trouble me.”

Commissioner Phil Mitchell said he wants a reasonable solution for the developers.

“What I’ve heard from Evergreen is not reasonable,” Mitchell said, “so how do we get to reasonable?”

The commissioners opted to add another finding of fact to the project, stipulating that “at the time of preliminary plat the commission has not seen justification for the water supply request from the Evergreen Fire District.”

They also directed Goodpaster to work with Evergreen Fire to come up with a solution for the water supply by the time the project is considered for final plat approval. Goodpaster told the Inter Lake he is meeting with the county Planning Office this week to begin working toward that goal.

Because the planned subdivision is so close to Glacier Park International Airport, the Flathead Municipal Airport Authority also weighed in on the development, writing a letter noting that the subdivision is located along the extended runway centerline for the airport.

“Current owner/s and real estate agents should disclose to prospective buyers that this property may be exposed to numerous aircraft overfights, at low altitudes, producing fumes from exhaust, dust, particles, light, vibrations and aircraft noise,” the letter stated.

Features editor Lynnette Hintze may be reached at 758-4421 or lhintze@dailyinterlake.com.

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