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Planning board approves Target Range subdivision

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Dairy Subdivision

A map shows the Dairy Subdivision property in blue. 

The Missoula Consolidated Planning Board unanimously approved a new subdivision in Target Range during a meeting Tuesday evening.

The six present members of the board acted in concert to approve the Dairy Major Subdivision located on North Avenue, east of The Trough.

Under the current plans for the subdivision, 14 residential lots would go into the former dairy operation site.

“I don’t believe there’s too much controversy surrounding this one,” said board member Sean McCoy.

Developer Tai Tam LLC brought forward the application through representative Professional Consultants Incorporated.

The subject property encompasses approximately 10 acres.

The subdivision would be located on former agricultural land where cattle used to graze, and County Senior Planner Tim Worley said the land has prime farmland soils. State statute, however, prevents the planning board from giving subdivision approval or disapproval based on the presence of farmland soil.

This state requirement irked some members of the planning board during the discussion Tuesday.

“I’m always sad to see ag land go, but I’m a farmer and that’s my shtick,” said McCoy.

The property is zoned to allow for two homes per acre and the proposed density is 1.41 homes per acre.

New county zoning takes effect July 1, which would designate the subject property as Rural Residential and Small Agricultural land. Under the new zoning, minimum lot sizes would be 0.5 acres.

Public commenters who submitted feedback to the planning board voiced concerns about increased traffic, vehicle and pedestrian conflicts and wildlife displacement.

Despite these issues, members of the board were universally supportive of the proposal.

“Reading the comments from the neighbors, I totally hear what they’re saying and feel their pain, but it is the reality we’re living in right now that things are going to change,” said board member Sierra Farmer.

“I think this is an appropriate place for this kind of development,” said board member Dori Gilels, although she urged developers to think about conserving water and energy with their plans.

“It fits the pattern for the area and the plan for the area,” added board member Dave Loomis.

The board voted 6-0 in favor of the subdivision, with members Rick Hall, Tung Pham, Ellie Costello and Shane Morrissey absent.

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