The Churchill-Amsterdam neighborhood planning group will discuss a host of infrastructure concerns facing the farming community in the coming weeks, County Planner Warren Vaughan said.
The first issue up for discussion on Monday will address the sewage lagoons, Vaughan said. Thomas, Dean and Hoskins Engineering representative Dave Crawford will discuss capacity issues of the system among others.
During a September 2007 planning meeting, sewage district chairman Hank Dyskterhouse told the committee the facility serves about 275 customers.
But a subdivision in the pre-planning stage, Churchill Northeast, could push the lagoons over the edge, Vaughan said. TD&H did the original work on the facility which was built in 1977.
“Crawford has the specs on the lagoon and he is going to talk about specifics,” he said adding that an engineer from the development will also be present.
Based on the number of current hook-ups coupled with high-use facilities like the rest home and Manhattan Christian School, the lagoons could be at capacity, Crawford said. That doesn’t include Churchill Northeast.
“Without a flow meter, we don’t know for sure if the lagoons are at the limit, but it looks like we are pretty close,” he said.
Other meetings in coming weeks will address a central water facility and subdivision planning, Vaughan said.
In other planning news, the committee is still seeking input from large land owners in the area, steering committee chairman Walt Sales said. Of the three neighborhood plans in the works, the Churchill-Amsterdam project has the largest boundary, Vaughan said. The borders encompasses roughly 70-square miles.
As it stands, the Churchill neighborhood boundary will be Grainbelt Road to the west; Norris Road to the south; the Belgrade planning jurisdiction to the east and the Manhattan planning jurisdiction line to the north. The Manhattan doughnut is a township line that roughly runs just south of White Road.
The Belgrade doughnut is a jagged line as the crow flies that runs south from Thorpe Road to Highline Road, then stair-steps west along Cameron Bridge Road to Bitterroot Road.
Everyone within the boundary will be included in the effort which, ultimately, will be zoned under the plan, Sales said. But landowners have been somewhat quiet about the process.
“We’re not hearing much,” he said.
While county officials march towards drafting county-wide zoning regulations, the neighborhood process would allow more local control, Sales said.
“I just feel we are going to be better off doing this ourselves compared to the county doing it,” he said of zoning. “If the county and its leaders changes down the road, we won’t be pushed in that direction.”
County Commissioner Joe Skinner agreed and said rural landowners should get involved.
“This is so critical for them because it may be some of the biggest decisions they make for their operation,” he said. “It’s going to happen either way, with or without them, something is going to happen. I would sure rather have all of their input now than wait until the eleventh hour when everything is said and done.”
The boundary is slated to go before the county commission in September for formal approval, Vaughan said.
Planning documents can be found on the county Website at gallatin.mt.gov at the “What’s New?” link under the planning department or call 582-3130. The meeting will be held Monday at the Amsterdam Fire Station at 7 p.m.