July 11, 2023
July 11, 2023
Commissioners Scott Miller, Scott Blain, and Bill Bullock; and Administrative Officer Angela Newell were present.
8:30 Pledge of Allegiance.
Discussed the culvert replacement on Pryor Mountain Road. Will place a Resolution on the agenda to allocate Wind Impact Fees to pay for the project.
Discussed E. Pryor Road Bridge repairs from the 2022 flood; information needs to be provided to the State for reimbursement if the road is designated as a Major Collector and is not eligible under FEMA’s Public Assistance program.
9:00 Public Hearing Annexation of Eagle Point Estates into Herd District No. 1. Kristine Kelly, Constance Force, Nancy Hossfeld, Jeff Gardner, Marc Brainard, Tom Chicklo, Guy Osburn, Don Hartung, Doris Donohoe, Diane Hageman, and Deputy Clerk and Recorder Piney Helmuth were in attendance. Blain moved to open the Public Hearing to Annex Eagle Point Estates into Herd District No. 1; Bullock seconded; discussion of the previous public hearing not receiving the proper number of notices (2 instead of 3 as required under 81-4-310 MCA); motion carried. Marcus Branger HOA president, stated that he does not believe those that do not live in the subdivision should have an input on the annexation. Kristine Kelly, an Eagle Point Estates resident, noted sections of the Code of the West that state: that this is an open-range State, the importance of agriculture and that residents shouldn’t expect the Government to intervene in agriculture operations. Kelly also quoted a section of Montana Code regarding fencing responsibility when a herd district is created. Kelly stated she would like to see more cooperation, not more rules. Gardner echoed Kelly’s comments. Discussion of the history of fence repairs (or lack of), responsibility to fence, the acreage available to the adjoining livestock, and topography challenges to fence maintenance. Commissioners determine the boundaries are reasonably regular and symmetrical in shape in relation to the geographical features of the properties proposed for annexation. Blain moved to close the Public Hearing; Bullock seconded; motion carried.
Blain moved to grant the prayer of petition to annex Eagle Point Estates into Herd Dist. No. 1; Bullock seconded. Blain noted he has cattle, his land is split between the herd district and open range, and he works with neighbors to keep fences maintained. Bullock noted that he believes it is the landowners’ responsibility to keep things out of their property. Blain emphasized good fences make good neighbors and noted he has crawled on hands and knees to maintain fences on steep ground. Blain noted that although he appreciates the Code of the West and Montana’s Open Range history, there is also a mechanism under Montana law to create or annex property into a herd district. Miller believes cattle owners and neighbors need to work cooperatively and noted ultimately this is a civil issue; he does not like implementing government solutions for interpersonal issues. Blain stated most significant difference between open range and herd district is who pays for the damage to the animal or vehicle when a cow gets hit. Blain noted in the creation of a herd district will require subdivision fences to be brought up to code; it does not become Hossfeld’s responsibility to construct fences. Bullock reiterated that the dispute is a civil matter and the County has no interest in refereeing the issue. Public comments noted the disrepair of the Subdivision’s perimeter fence and requested a 30-day delay as they believe the petition was misleading in that it indicated it would become the cattle owner’s responsibility to fence their cattle in. Blain and Bullock voted in favor; Miller voted against.
9:55 Contract Planner Forrest Mandeville and Kate Stout of Red Lodge surveying met for the Mountain Meadows Subdivision Preliminary Plat Application. Mandeville reviewed Planning Board’s recommendation. Clerk and Recorder Macque Bohleen joined the meeting. Blain having reviewed and considered the application materials, project memorandum, public comments and all of the information presented, moved to approve of the Martin Meadows Subdivision, with the findings and conditions included in the project memorandum; Bullock seconded. Discussion of possible traffic impacts which are expected to be minimal as the 5-lot commercial subdivision is for businesses with less than 5 employees. Discussion that it would be difficult to place a residence in the subdivision as it would require a Department of Environmental Quality re-write.
Bullock noted the number of conditions recommended by the Planning Board is significant. Mandeville clarified that the hydrant and wetland issues make this subdivision untypical and believes many of the conditions are related to those issues. Blain asked about notice regarding the subdivision; Mandeville noted adjoining landowners were notified by mail and that few comments were received. Blain noted he does not believe it is a good place to build, but agrees that the conditions are manageable. Miller echoed Blain and Bullock’s concerns; asked about effects to ditch, and expressed concerns about building on what is essentially swamp land. Discussion of sage grouse habitat, not core habitat area. Stout noted Krizek has required additional groundwater monitoring as last year’s monitoring was so late in the season. Bohleen asked about enforcement of no residential use, Mandeville noted DEQ permitting, Development Permit, or Septic Permit could catch residential use. Motion carried.
10:30 Mandeville, Stout, and Bohleen met for the Fallen Tree Subdivision Final Plat. Blain moved to approve the final plat; Blain seconded; motion carried.
Bullock moved to approve Commissioner’s proceedings for May 18, 22, and 23; Blain seconded; motion carried.
10:40 Disaster and Emergency Services (DES) Coordinator Cyrina Allen met to discuss an emergency declaration for this spring’s flooding. The Declaration would help Bearcreek address the damages to its spring boxes. Bullock moved to approve Resolution 2023-21 to Declare an Emergency related to Spring Flooding; Blain seconded; motion carried.
10:50 Geospatial Information Systems Coordinator / Fire Warden Tom Kohley met for his monthly update. Kohley reviewed his written report (attached). Discussed grant for fuels mitigation at Red Lodge; Kohley noted similar projects in other areas of the county require more leg work for the required cost benefit analysis. Discussed Fire Boot eligibility – Bergum did not attend training this year but has historically been on the fire team. Discussion of Road Fire Crew SOP, and requirements to be on the team, requirement to attend, discussion of providing alternate time to provide training Kohley and Miller will discuss further.
11:15 Kohley, Red Lodge Rural Fire Chief Tom Kuntz, Deputy Chief Tim Ryan, Mary Cameron, and Diane Dimich met to discuss addressing for the City of Red Lodge. Kohley clarified that the discussion is about options to streamline addressing procedures; is not meant to correct addressing issues within the City of Red Lodge. Kuntz noted efforts a number of years ago to evaluate addressing in Red Lodge, 11th Street is designated as the center so house numbers start at 11th going north and south; as a result, the cross-numbered streets (East-West) do not align with block address numbering. Kuntz noted currently Red Lodge Fire initiates addressing in the City, but they mostly collect the fee and then go through Kohley for the formal address assignment and adding the address to the database. Kuntz believes it would streamline the process and have applicants go directly to Kohley. Discussion about Kohley already performing this function for the other municipalities; Commissioners asked about the capacity to take on Red Lodge. Kohley reviewed the process with other municipalities; noted Red Lodge volume is 2 or 3 addresses per month unless there is a significant development. Bullock believes it makes sense to centralize addressing but would like to keep addressing fee for Red Lodge at $100. Kohley’s concern is not with new address assignments, but the time that could be required to correct old issues. Kuntz noted they would contemplate subcontracting the new assignments with the County so the agreement would be between the Rural Fire District and Carbon County.
The Philips Gravel Pit Lease was postponed a week as the landowner was out of town.
11:35 Kohley circled back on his monthly update. Discussed providing shirts on fire team.
Bullock moved to close the meeting to discuss a personnel issue; Blain seconded; motion carried.
Respectfully submitted: Angela Newell, Administrative Officer