The East Helena City Commission gave its preliminary approval for the Highland Meadows subdivision which will be located along Valley Drive between Prickly Pear Elementary School and the new East Helena High School (currently under construction). The 99.7-acre subdivision will contain 315 single-family-home lots ranging in size from 7,500 to 9,000 square feet.
The project developer is Highland Meadows LLC, a subsidiary of Billings-based Oakland & Company.
The project will be developed in seven phases, with one phase completed each year but may vary based on demand. The company hopes demand will be high with home prices in the range of $200,000 to $300,000. The developer also has plans for a homeowners association with its own covenants.
Nobody spoke against the subdivision at a city commission meeting and preliminary approval was granted. However, many questions and suggestions were directed toward the developer as the project moves toward final approval. Many of the questions centered on how snow will be plowed on the narrow boulevards and how open space will be used.
Several East Helenans suggested that a playground for children would be beneficial and the council agreed and modified the conditions to state that playground space should be constructed.
One concern is having the two major entries to the subdivision off Valley Drive and the subdivision is expected to increase the trips per day on Valley Drive by 3,021 once the project is complete. To help with the increased traffic, the developer agreed to pay the full amount of approximately $303,000 to improve the standard of Valley Drive during the first phase.
The subdivision is slated to be built on Dartman Field, which has been remediated to reduce lead contamination in the soil to an acceptable level. The final report from the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to be delivered in the next few weeks.
The developer hopes to begin the project’s first phase in 2020 with full completion by 2026.