By Michael Howell
It’s been a long time coming, but after languishing over six years in a holding pattern, the Legacy Ranch subdivision is once again up for review. The Ravalli County Planning Board is currently soliciting agency comments and a Planning Board meeting has been scheduled to review the proposal on Wednesday, March 6 at 7 p.m. at the county administration building. A public hearing before the Board of County Commissioners is scheduled for April 29, at 9 a.m.
The Legacy Ranch is a proposed 509-lot, 15 phase, major subdivision on 368 acres. It is located off the Eastside Highway between Porter Hill and Dry Gulch Roads between Stevensville and Florence. The property is located within the Stevensville and Lone Rock School Districts and the Three Mile Rural Fire District. The 509 lots are proposed to be a combination of single-family, multi-family, and mixed-use development.
According to information supplied by the Planning Department, it has the potential to add an estimated 320 children to the school districts. Based upon the Traffic Impact Study conducted for the subdivision, the development will add an additional 9,271 trips per day to the road system; 5,714 of those residential, 3,105 commercial, and 452 recreational.
A larger version of the proposal, involving 582 lots, some of which were located on the west side of the highway adjacent to the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge, was originally submitted back in 2006. That proposal has since been scaled back and no development is proposed on the west side of the highway in the latest proposal.
The subdivision proposal was caught up in a major lawsuit back in 2006-2007 when several subdivision developers sued the county for not processing their proposals in the timeline required by state law and an interim zoning regulation was passed by the voters that would preclude the developments. That lawsuit was settled in 2007 and the proposed subdivisions were allowed to continue. But following the crash in the housing market, many of those proposals, though still active, fell into a slow motion process churning in the Planning Department for years. Some, like the Legacy Ranch proposal, are just now emerging for further review.