Yellowstone County Commissioners approved a zone change request on Barrett Road in the Heights, even though they received a recommendation for denial by the Zoning Commission. Commissioners Robyn Driscoll and John Ostlund supported the request, while Denis Pitman voted against a change that lifts a two-unit restriction on rentals and will allow the developer, Cal Kunkel, to build rentals of up to four units each on a property near Medicine Crow Middle School.
Dozens of people packed the commissioners’ board room to testify on the proposal, with many expressing concerns about the increased traffic and the potential of drawing undesirable tenants into the mostly residential area. Others supported the proposal, in large part because of the improvements it will bring to Barrett Road and that it will provide sidewalks. “It’s a no brainer,” said one Heights resident.
The property owner is William Schultz, who has farmed the property for years, but is no longer able to find people interested in leasing the 10.7 acre parcel for farming. In an arrangement with CK Land LLC, the business of Cal Kunkel, they are proposing a planned unit development to build no more than 96 2-plexes and 4-plexes to rent. The property is located east of Kiwanis Trail bike path and south of Barrett Road.
The property was previously zoned R-70 (Residential-7000). The zone change to Planned Development makes little change in what can be developed. The primary change is in allowing 4-plexes and not just 2-plexes. Originally, Kunkel’s request was to allow 6-plexes but he lowered that to 4-plexes upon getting feedback during public hearings. He also made commitments to build structures no more than one story high, and in a variety of colors and designs, to make the development more attractive, with off street parking and garages. He also committed to developing a one-acre park, including a dog park, and to broaden and pave Barrett Road and include a boulevard sidewalk all the way to Hawthorne Lane (more than what he is required to do).
Located outside the city limits, state laws require that the property be annexed into the city to be able to use city services before being built. The development will also have to conduct a traffic study under city ordinances and offer a plan to mitigate new traffic impacts.