Baxter Lane Development Approved

The Gallatin County Commission approved a 73-acre development between Baxter Lane and Tillyfour Road, pictured here on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022.

Support Local Journalism


Subscribe


The Gallatin County Commission unanimously approved a developer’s request to move forward with a 73-acre development near Four Corners.

Developers Phoenix Holdings and MGVR Land cleared the first major hurdle in building their proposed rental community on Baxter Lane. The developers intend to build 31 residential four-plexes, which would provide 124 residential rental units.

The property is sandwiched between two subdivisions — the 305-lot Black Bull subdivision to the east and the 96-lot Creekside Meadow subdivision to the west.

Gallatin County Senior Planner Katherine Daly said that the bulk of the public comment received before the commission’s meeting Tuesday raised concerns about increased traffic from the proposed development.

Daly said developments of the Baxter project’s size are required to have at least two access points for vehicles. The developers proposed three access points: an existing point on Baxter Lane, a north to south connection between Baxter Lane and Tillyfour Road and an unbuilt third access.

Kurt Thomson, site development manager for Stahly Engineering, spoke on behalf of the developers. He said that the traffic impact study that they ran showed that the largest traffic increase would be on Baxter Lane.

The traffic impact study indicated that there would be an increase in traffic on both roads — 540 more cars per day on Baxter Lane and 140 more cars per day on Tillyfour Road.

“The access is the most critical piece here, and the most contentious,” Thomson said.

Some people took issue with that bump in traffic on Tillyfour Road, or the possible increase in traffic through neighboring developments like the Black Bull subdivision.

A common issue was the lack of sidewalks in neighboring developments and possible safety risks people walking along the road could face with more cars coming from the proposed development.

“I don’t really understand why there would ever be an access to go on to Tillyfour and direct traffic through a residential neighborhood with no sidewalks and children there,” said Rick Weiner, a resident of Tillyfour Road.

The commission could not prevent traffic increases on Tillyfour, or vehicles traveling through neighboring subdivisions to get to major roadways.

However, they did add a condition to update the developer’s traffic study to take into consideration another development that was recently approved at the intersection of Jackrabbit Lane and Baxter Lane.

Commissioner Joe Skinner said that connections to undeveloped and developed land was there for a reason: circulating traffic.

“As these communities urbanize and develop, you want people to be able to circulate,” Skinner said.

Another condition was added to address concerns over the proximity of the building to the Beck-Border Ditch, which runs through the southeastern corner of the property.

Mike Gaffke, owner of Gaffke Ranch, which sits across from the proposed development, wanted to widen the 35-foot setback the developers suggested in their application.

He suggested a 50 foot setback from the centerline of the ditch so that heavy equipment would have an easier time accessing the waterway to clean it should development occur near the Beck-Border Ditch.

Sarah Chitsaz, co-founder of Phoenix Holdings, agreed to that suggested condition and the modification to the traffic impact study. She said that development is not planned for the southeastern corner of the property.

“There are currently no plans for construction on the southeastern portion of the land, we plan on leaving that vacant for now,” Chitsaz said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the acreage of the development in the headline. 

Support Local Journalism

To see what else is happening in Gallatin County subscribe to the online paper.

Alex Miller is the county and state government reporter and can be reached at amiller@dailychronicle.com or by phone at 406-582-2648.

Support quality local journalism. Become a subscriber.

Subscribers get full, survey-free access to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle's award-winning coverage both on our website and in our e-edition, a digital replica of the print edition.