Draft Growth Policies ready for review and comment

The draft growth policies for Conrad, Valier and Pondera County, released last week for public review, are full of information.

The “Plan” part of each document is about 30 pages and includes the future vision for each jurisdiction, and the goals, strategies and objectives to help reach the vision over the long-term.  The appendices include detailed information and maps created just for this planning project.

According to the draft plans, both Conrad and Valier will work toward future development in a pattern consistent with traditional town-type densities and layout.

The proposed long-term goal for both is to develop within municipal limits before annexing or expanding city services beyond municipal limits.

The intent is that vacant lots within town will be used for new development and that lots with dilapidated/unused structures will be rehabilitated for new use or the lots made available for new construction.

Conrad, however, has few vacant lots for new residential development and the plan identifies potential future expansion areas outside current municipal limits.  The recently annexed land northeast of town is proposed as a commercial-industrial park with a portion set aside for the highway rest area.  The commercial-industrial park is intended to be an attractive, new location for major business offices, distribution centers and other larger commercial and light industrial uses.

Valier has considerable areas available for new development within town limits and it is anticipated that these in-town areas will be sufficient for new development for the next 20 years.  As a result of public comment on previous drafts, the planning board has proposed a new future land use plan that includes the airport as an existing and proposed use.

If and when there are no available in-town vacant lots, however, the town would like the opportunity to coordinate with the county to relocate the county-owned airport.

Valier would work closely with Pondera County and the Pondera County airport board to identify needs of the airport, citing criteria and funding sources for relocation.  Any decision to move the airport would have to be made by the county.

The documents, complete with all appendices, can be reviewed by accessing electronic copies at the Pondera Port Authority website at http://ponderaportauthority.com.

Paper copies of the drafts are available at the libraries in Conrad and Valier and at the clerks’ offices for the municipalities and the county.

Public hearings are scheduled for the end of the month – April 26, 7:30 p.m., City Hall for Conrad; April 27, 7:30 p.m. at the Court House for Pondera County, and April 28, 7 p.m. at the Valier library for Valier.

For more information, for the Conrad draft, contact Mayor Wendy Judisch or councilwoman Karla Breding. For the Pondera County draft, contact Clerk and Recorder Janis Hoppes.