Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) A boundary line adjustment approved by Missoula County will permit a local developer to build five duplexes and a small commercial project in association with an existing golf course west of Missoula.

King Ranch Golf Course, located off Mullan Road in Frenchtown, includes 12 recorded tracks covering 243 acres. The boundary line adjustment will result in 10 small residential tracts for the five duplexes and a 2-acre tract for commercial development.

The last remaining tract covers 239 acres, where the golf course currently sits.

County planner Jenny Dixon said most of the property is designated as open and resource, which recommends a zoning density of one dwelling unit per acre.

“A golf course is considered an agricultural use,” Dixon said. “Their proposal is a little more dense than the land-use recommendation in terms of how many homes they're looking to put on this property. But it's not necessarily a project killer.”

Much of the golf course sits in the floodplain and occupies most of the property. The lots eyed for residential and commercial development front Mullan Road and do not sit in the floodplain.

Dixon said the development sits in what the county identified in the 1970s as the Frenchtown “activity area.” Several phases of the project's residential development have already taken place.

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“They were intended to reinforce community focal points and limit capital expenditures by keeping things closer together,” she said. “The area they're proposing to do the boundary line relocation won't be on any part of the floodplain. The floodplain is only on the golf course.”

The residential portion of king ranch was approved by the county in 1990 and all three phases of the project were platted in 1996.

The county has been skeptical in the past over the purpose and intent of some boundary line relocation requests, seeing them at times as an attempt to escape subdivision review. But in this case, the request won easy approval.

“This is pretty far out of town. The impacts of people who live nearby are minimal. I don't have an issue with it, given the greater complex,” said Commissioner Josh Slotnick.