A minor subdivision proposal has raised concerns with some Jeffers residents.
The South Jeffers Minor Subdivision would be a five-lot development on the south side of the small pastoral community of Jeffers and is being proposed by David Smith, an area native and landowner in the area. The subdivision is in the preliminary stages of the application process with Madison County.
However, some residents are concerned the development may not fit the small town setting of the area.
“I’m just trying to bring to light that there are objections and there are people who are very concerned about this,” said Leigh Fosnot, owner of the Jeffers Inn.
Fosnot has penned a letter to the Madison County Commissioners and planning department outlining some of her concerns.
However, the planning department has yet to receive an official application from Smith, said Leona Stredwick, Madison County planning technician.
All the county has seen so far is a pre-application, which is general idea of what Smith wants to do, but not the development plan in any detail, Stredwick said.
“At this point, this project isn’t even an official application,” she said.
The pre-application process gives the planning department and the county planning board a chance to bring up any potential issues with the land or concerns they might have with the potential development. The idea is to give developers a heads up if there are any issues, which could range from wildlife habitat concerns to emergency response times.
“Before they spend too much money on an official application, this is the tool they have to say ‘Is this really viable,’” Stredwick said.
The pre-application submitted by Stahly Engineering and Associates out of Bozeman on behalf of Smith includes a map of potential lot sites, all of which would be along the county road into Jeffers. Three lots would be located on the east side of the road and two on the west side.
Dave Albert, Smith’s representative with Stahly Engineering, did not return calls seeking comments on the subdivision.
Stredwick didn’t know when a full application for the subdivision would be submitted to the county, but once it is, the county has about 80 days to process the application and make a decision on whether or not to approve it. During those 80 days, the application will be reviewed by the planning department, which will then make a recommendation to the planning board. The planning board will hold a public meeting to discuss the subdivision and then make a recommendation on whether or not the county commissioners should approve it. The final decision on whether or not to approve the application will be up to the commissioners.
The subdivision application will address a wide variety of things including impacts on agriculture and county services, any potential water or septic issues and compliance with the county growth policy.
Last week a meeting was held at the Jeffers Inn to discuss the proposed subdivision and both Smith and Albert attended, Fosnot said. The meeting seemed to only re-enforce her misgivings with the project.
“They have the right to develop their land, that’s not the issue here,” she said. “At this time, my major concern is that there has been no land use designation … How do I know he’s not already hooked up with a developer who’s going to build a four story condo development in there.”
Another public meeting is scheduled for May 25 at 5:30 at the Madison Valley Public Library.