East Helena pre-approves 315-home subdivision

By Tyler Manning, excerpt from the Helena Independent Record, December 19, 2019.


The East Helena City Commission gave its preliminary approval for a major subdivision this week.

The Highland Meadows subdivision will be located along Valley Drive between Prickly Pear Elementary School and the new East Helena High School currently under construction. The 99.7-acre subdivision will contain 315 single-family-home lots ranging in size from 7,500 to 9,000 square feet.

The project developer is Highland Meadows LLC, a subsidiary of Billings-based Oakland & Company, which has built similar subdivisions in Belgrade and Billings. Owner Gary Oakland said the company has high hopes for this development and is looking forward to becoming part of the East Helena community.

Oakland said the company hopes to roll out the project over the course of seven phases, with one phase completed each year. Oakland said this will vary based on demand, and the company hopes demand will be high with home prices in the range of $200,000 to $300,000.

The project had many proponents during the meeting. Stahly Engineering’s Greg Wirth, working as an engineer on the project, said he believes the project will provide much-needed housing in the greater Helena market.

“It also sets an example on how to turn Superfund sites into something useful,” Wirth said.

The subdivision is slated to be built on Dartman Field, which has been remediated to reduce lead contamination in the soil to an acceptable level. Wirth said the final report from the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to be delivered in the next few weeks.

Molly Roby, with the Montana Environmental Trust Group, agreed with Wirth’s assessment.

“This is a showcase-worth opportunity for East Helena,” Roby said. “It shows that things can change.”

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