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Plum Creek eyes 548-acre development near Bull Lake

| February 6, 2007 11:00 PM

By GWEN ALBERS Western News Reporter

Plum Creek plans to build a 548-acre housing development in the Bull Lake area.

A public hearing on the subdivision will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 8, at Kootenai Senior Center in Troy.

Plum Creek Land Co. would like to divide the property 20 miles south of Troy into 25 lots ranging from 20 to 28 acres, said David Greer, the division's development manager in Montana. The entrance for the proposed Noggle Creek subdivision would be on Montana Highway 56 across from Bull Lake Rod & Gun Club.

The proposed development is south of 1,000 acres Plum Creek sold a few years ago to Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, Greer said.

If the subdivision is approved by Lincoln and Sanders county commissioners, construction of roads and other infrastructure would begin this summer, he said. That could take six months to complete.

Prices for lots have not been set.

"We have no clue," Greer said. "We're going to pave all the internal roads and have a nice entrance area."

"Once we see the conditions the commissioners might put on, we will assess it," he continued. "We haven't tried to market it yet, but think this is probably going to be a mix of seasonal and permanent homes."

The development will be limited to single-family homes with a minimum 1,200 square feet of living area, he said.

"We also want to allow wildlife to move through the area," Greer said.

Fences for gardens would be allowed, however, perimeter fencing would not.

Lincoln County planning director Mary Klinkam said she has received no opposition to the development.

A group of Bull Lake residents attempting to reduce the 70 mph speed limit on Highway 56 does have concerns.

"I'm not against the subdivision as such," said resident Betty Sikes. "The proposed Noggle Creek Subdivision would increase traffic on this section of road."

Several residents in September asked county commissioners to have the state do a traffic study from the county line at the south end of the lake to Dorr Skeels Campground at the north end.

The speed limit is 70 mph except for a short 55-mph stretch around the Halfway House bar. The group is hoping for a speed limit of 55 mph along the length of the lake, where traffic can be especially congested in the summer.

The Montana Department of Transportation plans to do a traffic study this summer along Highway 56.

"It's on our docket," said Stu Neumann, a traffic technician in Helena. "When weather permits, we'll be out there with our stuff."

The hearing in Troy will be for Lincoln and Sanders counties, since the 548 acres lies in both, Klinkam said.

Plum Creek has agreed to include the development in the Bull Lake Fire District. It will give the volunteer fire department $500 for each lot in the district.