Recently I have noticed heavy coverage in local news about the Flatiron residential planning and most recently the Legacy Ranch residential development.
In 1979 when my wife and I built our retirement home on Blodgett Creek, as immigrants from California we obtained Montana tags for our vehicles as soon as possible. Driving with California plates invited some hostility from “real Montana residents.” This ill feeling has disappeared because there are more immigrants than “real Montana residents.” This very beautiful and friendly valley has continued to grow and become a destination for transfer funds supporting a solid and sustainable economy.
This movement of monies allowing growth here will not stop and there is no reason it should. The idealistic concepts of maintaining “open space”, i.e. no development, cannot stand up to reality. NIMBY thinking is the driving force underlying the self-serving utterances of those extolling “open space” in opposition to large well planned residential developments. Money talks and transfer funds will sooner or later prevail.
There is nothing wrong with residential development. Take a drive through the Stonegate Subdivision in Hamilton. The very attractive and well planned homes are a positive addition. Then remember the real ideas of a wrecking yard next door or a jalopy racetrack in the neighborhood. Without land development planning, zoning or whatever you call it, we have discovered it is just a matter of when some aberration appears. There is no such thing as “open land.” Every square foot of the Bitterroot Valley will get some kind of “improvement.”
Once upon a time a long time ago I tried to interest the Ravalli County authorities with an idea for developing scientific research and development enclaves or parks up and down the Valley. Anyone who has attempted such an audacious action with one-on-one meetings with County authorities will understand the “say what?” response I experienced. Obviously I bombed out.
The small minds in county government do small thinking and end up with small results. Case in point – The Commissioners are on the sneaky track headed for airport expansion. The double runway airport will over-fly Flatiron at low altitude on every aircraft operation. How’s that for reasonable thinking? Relate this to the truth that airport expansion is not justified, is too expensive and will require special security and firefighting/crash/rescue capability twenty-four hours a day. The federal government is the first to remind us that the County owns the airport and the land. The County Commission can vote the airport out of existence and provide more “open land.”
How about the raw sewage dump I understand is located on the eastern side of the Valley? Is that dump site still functioning? There is a very odoriferous neighbor that is sure to remain open land.