For the second time in six months, the Columbia Falls Planning Board said “no” to developer James Barnett and his hopes for a development known as River Highlands.
After his original subdivision idea was shot down by the Planning Board in August 2022, Barnett returned this month with a new proposal for a parcel just east of the U.S. 2 bridge over the Flathead River. Instead of the initial 455 homes, Barnett came back with 343 units split between 83 detached single-family homes, 98 attached single-family townhomes and 162 apartments.
The property encompasses 49 acres, with a total density of 6.9 units per acre.
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Like before, Barnett proposed moving River Road farther east and installing a traffic signal at the intersection with U.S. 2.
Despite the proposed changes, the Planning Board and Columbia Falls citizens still vehemently opposed the project.
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Three hundred people showed up to the first meeting in August, and only one spoke in favor of River Highlands. Turnout was still robust, although slightly diminished, at the Planning Board’s