The Flat Iron show is back in town. 450 acres, 389 houses, plus condos for another 162 residents, plus 4 commercial developments. These are “plans,” one can only imagine the final results, given the extreme transparency these “ol’ boys” operate with. Notice it makes no difference what you tell people, as long as you maximize the almighty dollar!
Mildenberger started the process with the quote, “I always just wanted to farm.” The next step is qualifying with state regulations, Knowing the ground water to be too high, from getting the tractor stuck, required drying up the land a year to get more “realistic” water monitoring results. It also helped that the neighbors’ 100 acres on the north was not under irrigation because of water rights litigation (that property has resumed irrigation now and state law requires new ground water monitoring of the Flat Iron.)
Next hire an engineering company and developer LLC, to make colorful plans of what everything will look like, or might be, or probably won’t. Just trust them to do what’s good for you. Remember Ken Madden’s Shiloh Developments’ weekly ads for the Flat Iron? Convince the City to annex and run the city sewer out to enable Mildenberger’s scheme. The taxpayer can maximize the developer’s dollar. State law prevents the City from annexing the Flat Iron, not a political decision.
Next do a better job of greasing the skids. First change, fire Roger DeHaan from the Health Boad and replace him with an engineer that works for Mildenberger. Roger DeHaan is an engineer with over 30 years experience in the valley. He pointed out to the Sanitarian’s Office that the neighbor’s property on the north side of the flat Iron had water levels too high to pass monitoring and that irrigation practices had changed. Next – replace the County Planner with the respected developer Terry Nelson, after all he knows how to take advantage of the system. Remember, trust the experts! In more important settings, this is known as corrosive special interest driven by greed. What next? Planning Board, on June 8, rejects the Flat Iron development, against the advice of Terry Nelson and 117 recommendations attached.
The development plans call for an on-site sewer plant that will pump uphill 24/7 an estimated 170,800 gallons of poop per day to the far east and then disperse the gray water next to the neighbors on one of the wettest areas. They will then contract to truck the sludge away for compost. (The painkillers flushed from these high-end developments should give your garden a real kick.)
Ground water at most sites monitored was less than 4 feet to the surface. The same scenario exists at the subdivision east of Stevensville that has major water problems. Are the Realtors that sell these lots going to be required to notify the buyers of the ground water problem? It’s a morality question.
This area is the last buffer between town and the farms that remain in the area to the east. Mildenberger has been given developments on two sides, including the Arrow Hill development, a gated community with a couple of residences in the past five years. It now grows record-size weed crops. Why not fill this development before starting another mess? The problem of stray dogs chasing cattle, along with water in crawl spaces, has not been a minor one. Neighbors also complain about the smell and flies of cattle.
Shiloh Development (sponsored by Ken Madden) includes Glacier Ranch development at Kalispell, Arrow Hill development at Hamilton and Flat Iron Ranch at Hamilton.
Glacier Ranch went into bankruptcy 2-1/2 years ago, leaving banks and contractors short into millions. Questions, why are they still loose and promoting another scheme? Is this long range careful planning? The engineers’ estimated costs will be about half of the eventual expenses incurred with the Golf Course and Tammany roads. Is the County going to condemn property at the intersections in order to make Brad Mildenberger’s dream a reality? Condos and commercial development out in the country is just what the doctor ordered. Who cares about the neighbors anyway; it’s not their land!
State law requires current ground water testing to be done. The “developers” say they will, but have not. Why are the Commissioners voting on this issue before the requirements are met? Is Mildenberger getting some kind of bailout? This scheme is a liability to everyone and designed to benefit a couple of citizens. Is housing more important that the impact to farming?
The final meeting for the public will be at the Commissioners’ meeting room on June 30. Plan to be there and voice your concern.