Proposed new subdivision in hands of Columbus City Council

Thursday, September 15, 2022
Proposed new subdivision in hands of Columbus City Council

SCN map graphic by Drea Howard

The future of a proposed developed subdivision that would be annexed into the city of Columbus is in the hands of the Columbus City Council.

The proposed subdivision is called Pioneer Landing and would be located on the west side of the city.

It was brought to the Columbus City Council at the Sept. 6 meeting by Stillwater County contract planner Forrest Mandeville, with two of the developers, Chylo and Caleb Laszloffy in attendance. Mandeville explained that the Joint City-County Planning Board had approved the plat application with 31 conditions.

A public hearing was held in July during which a lot of public comments were received, said Mandeville.

The City Council will make a decision Oct. 3.


The Pioneer Landing Subdivision is a Planned Urban Development (PUD) that would involve approximately 70 acres of land, on the north side of Centennial Road. As proposed, it would be annexed into the city limits and would be served by city water and sewer services.

It would consist of 62 townhouse lots (4.15 acres), 83 single-family lots (19.07 acres), three commercial lots (6.7 acres) and 12 open space lots (26.83 acres). Roads and alleys will take up 12.8 acres. Twelve open space lots consisting of 26.83 acres are planned for parks.

Development would occur in three phases but platted under a single subdivision filing. It is within the zoning jurisdiction of the city and is zoned as Residential Estates (RE) and Agriculture Open Space (AOS).

Both of those city-zoning districts allow PUDs, as does state law.


The developer/Gaston Engineering spent approximately two months working through a comprehensive preliminary plat approval application for the subdivision approved by the joint City-County Planning Board.

Among issues addressed were grading and drainage plans, existing and planned improvements, construction timing, financing, a weed plan, fire fighting water provisions with a letter from the Columbus Fire Department, legal and physical access, documentation of water, mineral and development rights ownership and use, a statement of rural emergency services availability and response time, park requirements, name of natural gas, electric and telephone providers, mailbox and addressing provisions, a rural special Improvement district for maintenance (RSID-M) and a community impact report.

The list of contacts to be consulted included the school superintendent, water and sewer, fire department, ambulance, utilities, law enforcement, the road superintendent, MDT, GIS, solid waste, weed supervisor, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, the post office, Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and the ditch company.

In other words, a comprehensive plan.


During that two months, the City-County Planning Board reviewed effects of the proposed subdivision to agriculture, agricultural water user facilities, the Columbus Police Department, Columbus Fire Rescue, Columbus schools, city water and sewer capacity, natural environment and wildlife.

Some of its findings are as follows:

•The subdivision “should” have minimal impacts on agriculture water user facilities. The board recommends the developer to transfer water rights to a single entity, such as a property owners’ association, for administration and use within the subdivision.

Or, in the alternative, to sever surface water rights from the land. Also recommend were easements for irrigation ditches and a large enough culvert on Bayou Drive/Tempest Drive to handle the flow of the ditch to the east of the property.

•The City of Columbus reported that it has capacity to serve the subdivision with water and sewer services. The developer will be financially responsible for the installation of the water and sewer extensions. Once installed, those will become city-owned infrastructure.

•Columbus Police will serve as law enforcement for the area if annexed and fire protection will be provided by Columbus Fire Rescue. At the request of Columbus Fire Chief Rich Cowger, alleys providing access to the townhomes will be large enough to accommodate a ladder truck. Cowger also requested that the open spaces on the north side of the subdivision be accessible for a wildland fire truck.

•The subdivision would be accessible from Centennial Road and Bayou Road. Centennial Road is paved and Bayou Road is currently a private gravel road. Bayou Road would be renamed Tempest Drive and also be paved.

•A Traffic Impact Study was required and concluded that a full buildout of the subdivision could potentially generate 1,550 vehicles per day. The study also recommended an all-way stop at the intersection of Quarry Road and Centennial Road. Sidewalks and curb and gutter are also proposed along the internal subdivision roads, along with landscaped vegetation between the curb and sidewalk. Gravel trails are also planned throughout the subdivision. Parks could also contain basketball courts, tennis courts and playgrounds.

The developer has proposed a Property Owners’ Association to be responsible for road and park maintenance. However, the city would rather have that fall to it to ensure “a degree of maintenance.”

•Solid waste will be managed through the existing city garbage pickup.

•Educational services will be provided by the Columbus School District. An assumption of 2.46 people per household in this 145-house subdivision could hold 357 people and approximately 60 school-aged children.

•The Columbus postmaster has confirmed its ability to provide delivery to the subdivision, but recommended Central Box Units.

•2021 taxes paid on the pre-subdivided land totaled $286.93. The 145 residential lots could generate between $900 and $2,000 per lot, per year in taxes. That was total $130,500 to $290,000 per year. Commercial lots could potentially generate another $10,000 in taxes.

The City-County Planning Boards assessment of the subdivision impact on local services is as follows: “Pioneer Landing Subdivision, A P.U.D., will have minimal impacts on local services if conditions are required to ensure the trails and roads are constructed per the submitted plans; water, sewer, stormwater drainage, and solid waste services are approved by the City and DEQ, as appropriate; that annexation into the City is accomplished prior to final plat and an annexation plan entered in to; that mail box locations are coordinated with the post office; that maintenance for public infrastructure is ensured; and that costs for new and expanded infrastructure will be borne by the developer and the City protected in case such infrastructure is not completed prior to final plat.”

The board made several recommended conditions that include the final plat and plans being in “substantial compliance” with what was submitted involving trails, roads, parks, DEQ and city approved water, sewer, stormwater drainage and solid waste disposal plans. The subdivision must also be annexed into the city and follow all recommendations or requirements set forth for postal purposes and road and street improvements.


There us a floodplain associated with Keyser Creek that is designated as open space/park land. The only development in the floodplain are trails. Noxious weed control will be important and mitigated through a Weed Management Plan.