Helena approves controversial development

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Helena City Council approved rezoning property for a controversial 3,100-home subdivision that some residents fear will increase traffic congestion and over-burden the city’s infrastructure.

The Council voted 3-to-2 to rezone 1,530 acres of property owned by USS Real Estate to accommodate the proposed Hillsboro South subdivision.

The property is located between Shelby County 17 and Shelby County 91.

Mayor Charles &uot;Sonny&uot; Penhale broke a tie vote in place of councilmember Jerry Pate, who was absent from the meeting.

Councilmen Paul DeCarlo and Mathew Pope voted against the rezoning.

The Hillsboro South subdivision first came before the Helena City Council in January, but council members tabled a vote to rezone the property following citizens’ concerns.

The developer made some amendments, such as eliminating an apartment complex from the property.

The proposed subdivision’s density will be about two homes per acre.

Pope, who voted against the rezoning measure, said Helena will suffer increased traffic congestion and other problems from such a large development.

&uot;I just don’t think it’s something we’re ready for,&uot; Pope said. &uot;I don’t think we need to contribute to the problems we have in Helena already.&uot;

Pope said the Council makes too many concessions for developers.

&uot;We don’t need to give developers more than we should,&uot; Pope said. &uot;We can be a little pickier.&uot;

Construction on Hillsboro South could begin by the end of the year, following final approval of road, sewer and infrastructure plans for the property