A public hearing before the Ravalli County Planning Board is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday on a proposed 36-lot subdivision southwest of Corvallis.
The Farm View Estates subdivision would include three commercial lots along Woodside Cutoff Road near the Corvallis Fire Station, and 33 single-family homes in what’s now a 75-acre parcel of agricultural land. Ravalli County planning staff are recommending conditional approval of the subdivision.
This past Wednesday, about a dozen people, including members of the planning board and park board, met with landowner Richard Patterson about the proposal.
This is Patterson’s first time going through the subdivision process. He grew up in the area, and works in the construction business, but has a lifetime love of farming and ranching. He purchased about 160 acres in the area with the hope of putting the subdivision on 14 acres, then putting an agricultural conservation easement on the rest of the land so it will remain as open space for farming and ranching.
“We’ll lose a little bit of farmland here, but it will be open elsewhere,” he said, waving his arm toward an area where cattle were grazing next to some tilled land. “We won’t lose any production; we’ll work the same amount of ground. That’s the key thing.
“The subdivision is to offset the costs.”
The only entrance to the property would be just east of the Corvallis Fire Station. The three commercial lots are separated from the residential area by the Willow Creek Drainage Ditch.
One 29-foot-wide paved road, which would be part of a 60-foot-wide public utility easement, would circle the residential subdivision, with homes on either side of the road. Part of that paved area includes a 5-foot-wide non-motorized path. The developed area would be adjacent to the existing Marketplace subdivision to the east, and homes would be hooked up to the Corvallis Sewer District’s facilities.
Individual wells would service the home, but water for lawns and other non-potable uses would be provided via an agreement with the Corvallis Canal and Water Co. This use of surface irrigation rights makes the subdivision fall within the constraints of being in a closed basin, according to a letter from the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC).
“Because of the surface water rights and irrigation, DNRC estimates each house will take .28 acre-feet; with 36 lots, that’s 9.99 acre-feet, and you have to stay under 10 acre-feet,” said Planning Department Director Terry Nelson. “So you just have to take into consideration the potable water.” An acre-foot is the amount of water it would take to cover one acre with a foot of water.
The subdivision is expected to add 11 students to the Corvallis School System, and Patterson proposes to pay $500 per new lot upon the sale of each lot in mitigation fees to the Corvallis School District. He noted that the homeowners also will pay taxes, further helping the community.
Patterson also proposes to contribute $250 per lot to the county’s public safety services to offset impacts to law enforcement services, and $900 per lot to the Corvallis Rural Fire Department to mitigate the subdivision’s impact on those services.
Once fully built, the subdivision is expected to generate an additional 256 daily trips to the area’s road network, which the planning staff calls a “potentially significant adverse impact.”
Patterson is working with the Montana Department of Transportation to offset those impacts, according to Nelson.
Since the land already is in agricultural use, the subdivision isn’t expected to have much of an impact on wildlife or wildlife habitat, according to the staff report.
The subdivision is slated to go before the county commission on Dec. 20.