Realtors Assess Need for Legacy Ranch - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Realtors Assess Need for Legacy Ranch

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Local realtors said there are about 280 residential property listings under $250,000 each in Ravalli County.

A local developer has plans to build a 509-lot subdivision in the Bitterroot Valley, and many are wondering where home buyers would choose to live.
Local realtors said they're unsure of the need for a large-scale subdivision like Legacy Ranch - to be built on farmland - but project managers said a planned neighborhood will actually keep more of the rural setting intact.

Bob Pauley, President of the Bitterroot Valley Board of Realtors, said they've been slowly selling more homes again.

Pauly said home buyers are usually on the hunt for a rural setting if they want to live in the Bitterroot Valley.

"For the most part, acre plus, so they have enough room to put in a garden or another shop, and a little buffer zone, so they're not right on top of their neighbor," Pauly explained.

Pauly said he's spent more than 20 years working in real estate, and he remembers only one other subdivision like Legacy Ranch - the 550-lot Flatiron Ranch proposal, which county commissioners approved in 2011.

"We don't normally see large subdivisions like that, like you might, you know, see in Williston, or something, where everybody's moving to," Pauly said.

Legacy Ranch project manager Jason Rice said like Flatiron Ranch, the construction of Legacy Ranch depends on the demands of home buyers.  

Rice said, "There's a good chance that nothing could ever happen here, if the market doesn't turn around."

Rice said his civil engineering firm, Territorial Landworks, represents the Legacy Ranch landowner, Sunnyside Orchards, LLC.

"Amazingly enough -- other than public opinion, which I completely understand and sympathize with -- there really haven't been the kind of problems you'd think," Rice explained.

Rice said subdivisions like Legacy Ranch can actually preserve more of a rural setting, if planned and constructed correctly.

"People will move to a place that's beautiful, and where you want to put them is the big question, because if you don't make a consolidated, uniform place for people to live, they'll just spread out and live wherever they can," Rice said.

Pauly said Ravalli County realtors have closed on 114 residential listings over the past six months, but he said he'll remain weary of a large-scale project like Legacy Ranch unless the market drastically improves.  

"You know, do I think the timing's right for something like that? You know, I would not want to be doing that right now," Pauly said.

Ravalli County Commissioners originally scheduled public hearings for the end of this month, before making their decision on approval.

They asked for a month-long extension last week, so they'd have more time to go over information.

Now, the public can share their comments with the board on June 3, in Hamilton and Lone Rock School.

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