By Sarah Pridgeon
The County Commissioners have approved the preliminary plat for the Dry Creek Subdivision, though road construction concerns still need to be addressed for the final plat and its overall benefits were called into question.
The new lots will be adjacent to the D. Stewart Carlson subdivision, five miles from Moorcroft. Existing residents expressed concerns about the impact on roads at last month’s session and approval was delayed for Tim Lyons of Growth and Development and Todd Rand, engineer on behalf of the county, to review updates to the plat.
Commissioner Jeanne Whalen questioned what benefit the subdivision will have for current and future residents, a paramount concern for the commissioners that is outlined on the first page of the county’s subdivision resolution.
“I’d like to know how the subdivision is going to promote convenience, order and prosperity. As far as what you have on the plat, there’s no public disposal garbage, no public sewer system, no public maintenance of the streets and what you would call your subdivision bylaws are ancient,” Whalen said.
“How is your subdivision, since you’re not going to offer any of this to people buying, going to promote the general welfare of the current and future residents of this county?”
Developer Randy Levanen responded that it will increase tax revenue for the county, but Whalen wondered if the increase would offset the extra demand on county services such as road maintenance. She suggested the subdivisions need an improvement district to ensure the area is properly maintained; without this, she explained, residents may come to the county expecting these services despite what it says on the plat.
“It should be your responsibility. I would really like to see the developers have better covenants so that more of the burden falls on you than on the county,” she added.
Rand found in his engineering report that many initial concerns had been addressed, but several remain. He recommended certain issues be highlighted on the plat or in disclosure statements for potential residents.
For example, he suggested including precautions for septic tanks. A Natural Resource District report identified the nearby Trail Creek as a direct tributary into the Belle Fourche River in a segment that already has high counts of fecal coliform and E. coli.
CCNRD stressed that landowners will need to sensibly position water wells and septic systems so as to avoid impacting human health and water quality. The district also noted that the lots are located on soils that are unfavorable to septic tank absorption fields and generally require major soil reclamation, special design and expensive installation.
Rand recommended that a copy of the entire report be made available to any prospective lot purchaser, along with limitations on water flow.
The preliminary traffic report showed that the new lots will not stretch the capacity of the gravel access road but a second access must be placed at the north line of the lot of at least 18 feet in width. The commissioners noted that they will take precautions later in the process to ensure the roads are built to standard.
The commissioners approved the preliminary plat contingent upon the developer meeting the conditions of the engineer. A final review will be scheduled once the final plat has been submitted.