By Patrick Winderl/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
An area farmer is planning an 11-lot residential subdivision along Beaver Creek Highway south of Havre.
A proposal by Jody Manuel to the City-County Planning Board to subdivide a 15-acre parcel recieved inital approval during a hearing last week, Hill County planner Clay Vincent said Wednesday.
The subdivision is the largest proposed to the planning board since a proposal several years ago to build a 12-lot subdivision in southeast Havre, Vincent said.
The proposed subdivision is 6 miles south of Havre, slightly east of State Highway 234. The lots, which are between 1 and 2 acres in size, would be situated in a U-shaped pattern that opens to the highway.
Manuel, who also owns a number of rental units in Havre, said he intends to sell the lots or build homes to the buyer's specifications. If it is approved by the County Commission, the subdivision will be the first Manuel has built.
"I just wanted to try something different," he said Wednesday.
Manuel earlier this year began construction on a house on one of the proposed lots. Construction of a gravel road within the subdivision began following approval by the planning board, Manuel said.
Few zoning restrictions apply to the property because it is outside the Havre city limits, Vincent said. County ordinances will dictate some aspects of the project, including the distances between water wells and septic drainage fields, he added.
"You can't drill a well within 150 feet of a drainage field," he said.
City water and sewage service do not extend to the area. Lot owners will have to drill their own wells or enter water usage agreements with other well owners, Vincent said.
The cost of developing wells will vary with each lot, Manuel said, depending on how deep each well is dug. The water level at the first well drilled at the proposed site is encouraging, he added.
"We drilled a well at the lot we're building on and hit good water at 89 feet," he said. "So hopefully it covers that whole area."
Manuel said he will likely require lot owners to enter into covenants that will govern structures, vehicles, land usage, and animals within the subdivision. The exact covenants have not been drafted, he added.
Notice of the proposed subdivision was sent to nearby property owners, as required by Montana law, Vincent said. No one opposed the plan during last week's hearing, he added.
The planning board voted to recommend that the County Commission approve the plan. The commission does not have to follow the recommendations of the board, Vincent said.
"They can approve it, reject it, or approve it with conditions," he said. "There are a number of factors they take into consideration."
Vincent said he could not recall an instance when the commission has rejected the board's recommendation.
A date for the commissioners' hearing has not been set, but is normally done within 60 days of the proposal being approved by the planning board, he said.