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Kalispell development proposal includes 3,000 homesPosted on Nov. 6

Kalispell development proposal includes 3,000 homesPosted on Nov. 6

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KALISPELL - A longtime Flathead Valley farm family is partnering with an Arizona company on a 640-acre development that would include up to 3,000 homes just west of the new Glacier High School.

The project could create as many lots as were approved in all of Flathead County in 2004 and 2005 combined, officials said.

Developers said they plan to request annexation into Kalispell and connect the project to municipal water and sewer services.

The proposed Stillwater Meadows development includes single-family homes, townhouses and condominiums, as well as parks, trails and a 15-acre commercial area. Another 15 acres or so will be donated for a future school.

The Grosswiler family has owned the land for more than a century.

"My grandparents originally homesteaded immediately north of there and then bought the 160 acres immediately to the south in 1900," said Catherine Baier, whose parents, Paul and Starling Grosswiler, also farmed and operated a dairy on the land. "It's hard to sell off property that's been in the family that long, but we can't continue farming anymore. At least this way, we have some say in how it develops and how it looks."

Rather than sell the land outright, the Grosswilers have teamed with the Aspen Group, a Phoenix-based real estate company that has developed a variety of projects over the last 15 years.

"We spent about a year interviewing different developers," Baier said. "We chose the Aspen Group after we saw their project in Bozeman. It was very community-oriented, with nice landscaping, parks and trails, and a unified architectural style. It wasn't straight streets and houses all the same. It was a very attractive development."

Stillwater Meadows is still awaiting approval from the Kalispell Planning Office. However, 300 to 400 lots already have been sold, said Don Meyers, founder and chief executive officer of the Aspen Group.

Kalispell Planning Director Tom Jentz said planning and developing such a large area at one time creates opportunities that typically aren't available with smaller projects.

"Historically our dilemma with the 5-, 10-, 15-acre subdivision has been that you never get the regional parks, the roads, the larger facilities that are needed," he said. "You deal with growth in small increments and never get something that's big enough to work."

Besides Stillwater Meadows, the Aspen Group is working on an 84-acre, 181-lot subdivision at Meadow Lake Resort in Columbia Falls. It also has plans for an upscale, 13-acre mixed-use project in Whitefish at the North Valley Hospital site.

"We believe in that area," Meyers said. "Were banking on the future being bright for the Flathead."

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