By Andy Roubik, Corvallis
For many years, one of the chief forms of community involvement in the Bitterroot has been rallying to fight the next outrageous subdivision. There have been many, many measures and proposals put forward over the years to restrain greedy developers so that our valley could retain its ever dwindling attributes. At each turn, we’ve been foiled by deep pocketed would-be speculators and developers. The general tactic used has been to misconstrue the facts in ways that make us feel as though our property rights are in jeopardy. They are very clever. It has worked. I think their greatest coup was when they linked streamside setbacks with zoning. They were able to convince large numbers of sportsmen to vote against their own best interests. After all, riparian areas are the most valuable and productive areas for wildlife reproduction.
Once again, it’s time for community involvement here in our beautiful valley. Due to the lack of any zoning or even a growth policy, we will likely have a new town next to Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge, draining its foul pesticides, herbicides, auto fluids, septic and pharmaceutical residuals into the jewel of our valley. The Legacy Ranch subdivision is not wanted in this valley. No one has spoken in favor of this travesty except for the developer’s representative despite large crowds in all of the meetings.
Living in Corvallis for nearly 20 years, I have seen my share of poor developments. In the 90’s, the Misty Vale Dairy was subdivided. This was a large development but it is dwarfed by the Legacy proposal. How has this affected my property and my life? I’ve had dogs on my land, many dogs, sheep killed, chickens harrassed, horses chased. Neighbors have had to deepen their wells. The developer did not offer to pay. I’ve had to lower my well pump and now have a monthly chore to change a sediment filter. Again, the developer did not offer compensation. Our narrow county roads are not meant for pedestrians, however, residents will walk. To my dismay, I almost took out a family of 5 walking abreast in the middle of Oil Well Road, below a rise. That would have devastated many lives. These roads are not designed for pedestrian use. These and many other issues are in store for people living near this new “Legacy Town.” The wider community will see a degraded refuge and river and a more dangerous East Side Highway. We will also be subsidizing development because of the pitiful amount of money the developer has proposed to give the schools. No money has been offered to the Sheriff’s department.
All of these problems could have been alleviated if we had some reasonable zoning or a growth plan. Please consider this if we ever again have an opportunity to support planning. A little planning goes a long way.
In the meantime, it is time for community action. Please write a letter, call the Commissioners, send an email AND come to the meetings:
Ravalli County Commissioners 375-6500, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Planning board meeting on Wednesday, April 17 at 2 pm in the Commissioners’ meeting room
Commissioners’ meeting on Thursday, April 25, 9 am – 3 pm at the Commissioners’ meeting room or later that same night from 6 pm to 9 pm at the Lone Rock School in Stevensville.
Let your voice be heard.