West Glacier RV park gets final OK

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The state Department of Environmental Quality has issued final approval for the water, wastewater and storm-water systems that will serve a planned recreational-vehicle park and cabin village in West Glacier.

Approval of the final environmental assessment — announced Monday by the state agency — gives a green light to Glacier Park Inc. to build a 102-space RV park and 25 guest cabins.

The 178-acre development site is located west of the town of West Glacier and south of the Middle Fork of the Flathead River, less than 1 mile from the west entrance to Glacier National Park.

The project won preliminary-plat approval from the Flathead County commissioners in May 2017, and the Department of Environmental Quality has approved Glacier Park Inc.’s proposal to install its own public water supply system, public wastewater collection and disposal system, and an on-site storm-water runoff collection system. Solid waste will be transported to the Flathead County landfill.

The public water system will include two groundwater wells that will feed a 157,000-gallon bolted steel storage tank 24 feet high and 34 feet in diameter.

Two test wells were drilled last summer, and according to the final state assessment, the testing showed a sustainable water source.

The assessment further indicates the state doesn’t propose an agency-modified alternative for the project because it wouldn’t mitigate or eliminate impacts beyond those of the developer’s proposal.

The state also isn’t proposing any modifications for the sewer lagoon and spray irrigation facilities, which will be more than a quarter-mile from the nearest home or business.

“The lagoons are proposed to be aerated, which greatly minimizes odor,” the final assessment states.

The assessment notes the lagoon cells will be surrounded by trees and more than 20 feet lower in elevation than surrounding area to the east, and provide 200 feet of horizontal setback from surrounding land use, “making the facility less noticeable visually and minimizing any drift from the spray irrigation system.”

Addressing public comments about how the storm-water runoff would be managed and how it would affect River Bend Drive, the state said it “has determined that no significant adverse impacts to the physical or human environment associated with the proposed storm-water drainage system would occur.”

DEQ prepared a draft environmental assessment and accepted public comments earlier this year, extending the comment period in March before finalizing the environmental assessment. Some neighbors voiced concerns about the lagoons, arguing that fenced or not, they could attract bears and other wildlife. The state determined that the proposed wastewater lagoon “would cause no significant adverse impact.”

The RV park and cabins were heavily opposed by neighbors when proposed more than a year ago, with most objections related to the additional traffic on River Bend Drive and neighborhood congestion and intrusion.

The first phase of the development will include 42 RV spaces and 25 cabins. The remaining 60 RV spaces would be built later.

The final environmental assessment with response to public comments can be viewed at http://deq.mt.gov/Public/ea Copies of the draft and final assessment can be viewed at DEQ’s Kalispell Regional Office, 655 Timberwolf, Suite No. 3. For more information about the application or the license process please contact the DEQ Subdivision program at 406-444-4224.

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

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