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Despite concern from nearby landowners, the Gallatin County Commission has unanimously approved the preliminary plat for a five-home subdivision on one of the last vacant lots near the intersection of Sourdough Road and East Kagy Boulevard.

The Sourdough Hillside subdivision will cover a 15-acre property about 0.75 miles south of the intersection. The homes will be accessed from Sourdough Road and will not require new roads. Much of the property is hilly, posing some challenges to development, but construction will occur in flatter areas closer to Sourdough Road, according to a report from the Gallatin County Planning Department.

In a public meeting Tuesday, a handful of neighbors raised concerns about increased traffic, the impact on wildlife and potential harm to their wells.

Brian Kenney, who lives near the proposed subdivision, said he is worried about how the wells and septic tanks for the new subdivision could affect his well. He also said Sourdough Road is unsafe and urged the county to improve the road before approving more houses there.

Bruce Anderson, another neighbor, also raised concerns about Sourdough Road, saying it was over capacity 14 years ago and hasn’t been upgraded as Bozeman has grown.

“This is death by inches to add five more families,” Anderson said. “... Until you resolve that intersection and the rest of Sourdough, I personally find more development unacceptable.”

Rep. Denise Hayman, D-Bozeman, lives nearby. She said the combination of wildlife, vehicles, bikers and pedestrians has made the area unsafe.

“We are already living in a vehicle nightmare at that intersection,” Hayman said. “I would propose that this subdivision is the tipping point, and then, you’re going to have another minor subdivision and then another small one and then something that is barely tenable will be virtually impossible.”

In 2006, a developer proposed building eight homes on the lot but withdrew the application before the county commissioners considered it. Hayman said the room was packed during a meeting about the previously proposed development, but because the new project includes fewer homes and, therefore, required fewer county notices, not as many people may be aware of the project.

“I am concerned that this feels like an end run,” she said.

The developer, Allied Engineering Services, pledged to help pay for road improvements to Sourdough Road if and when such improvements are made. To limit the effect on wildlife, Allied Engineering said the development will be low-density, buildings will be near the road and properties will likely include wildlife-friendly fencing.

In terms of well concerns, the company said it will comply with all state and local regulations in installing and maintaining the wells and septic tanks in the subdivision.

County commissioners acknowledged the traffic problems on Sourdough Road but said it’s up to law enforcement to enforce traffic laws. The commissioners also said the right-of-way included in the preliminary plat for the new subdivision is large enough for expansion of Sourdough Road in the future.

Commissioners ultimately approved the preliminary plat because they said it complied with county regulations and state law.

“I do absolutely agree that Sourdough is not the road it used to be,” said Commissioner Scott MacFarlane. “I do have a concern that three more accesses on this road is not ideal, … but I don’t feel I can deny this subdivision because they have three accesses on the road. That seems to be characteristic of the area.”

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Perrin Stein can be reached at or at 582-2648.

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