Long awaited annexation plans for Riverside are finally moving forward.
Annexation for Riverside Country Club, homes moving forward By Nora Shelly Bozeman Daily Chronicle Staff Writer Dec 18, 2021
A long-anticipated annexation of dozens of homes and some of the Riverside Country Club north of Bozeman is moving forward.Residents submitted a petition for annexation to the city, which is a step in getting their homes on the city’s wastewater system.
According to city documents, the annexation petition is for about 57 acres, including 125 homes and four commercial buildings.The move has been in the works for years. Riverside was informed by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality in 2011 that its wastewater system was deficient and required corrections.
The district requested in 2014 to connect to the city’s wastewater system. Commissioners decided the properties would have to be annexed into the city in order to connect to the utility.Discussions on the matter picked up again in 2018, and the next year the commission adopted a resolution laying out what the district would have to do to be annexed.One of those conditions in the 2019 resolution is that it must submit a petition for annexation. The district did so, with about 62% of votes in favor, according to Gene Gaines, the sewer and water district’s board president.
“It’s been a very long process,” Gaines said. “We work with the city, they’ve been very cooperative and it just is a very time-consuming process.”
Gaines said of the 132 votes taken, 82 were to annex. City staff is reviewing the annexation petition, and commissioners are scheduled to take a vote on the annexation in February.The city can annex properties without a 100% vote from residents, according to commission documents.Gaines said he uses the city’s services as soon as he makes a left turn onto Springhill Road, but noted not all of his neighbors agree.
“I’m using the city virtually everyday, and it does not bother me a bit to pay my fair share for taxes,” Gaines said. “There are a number of people who moved into this development because they preferred to live in the county and not the city for any number of reasons … (but) the majority of our residents felt that it was essential that we clear up the violations with the Department of Environmental Quality.”
Among the affirmative votes was the Riverside Country Club. Doug Hagen, the club’s director of operations, said some of the property will stay in the county. About five acres surrounding the clubhouse — and its sewer hook-ups — will be annexed, as will land around the two other buildings connected to the sewer on the club’s property. Hagen said he expects the club’s taxes will increase due to the annexation.“It’s obviously an additional expense, but at the same time there’s not really much of an option, I don’t think we have much of a choice,” Hagen said.City commissioners also approved an interlocal agreement this week laying out how the city may take over the district’s wastewater collection facilities and start treating and disposing of waste from the district.The agreement will only take full effect if the commission adopts the annexation.There are also plans to establish a tax district for Riverside residents to pay for the project, called a special improvement district.The district will essentially tax the residents for the cost of hooking them up to the city’s wastewater utility, and the city does not expect any tax cost to current city residents.
If the annexation goes through, city staff is expecting it could take two to three years for the work to be completed.David King, manager of the Riverside Water and Sewer District, said the district will remain on its existing water system. He said a new wastewater plant would cost about $10 million, and noted how close the city’s wastewater facility is to them — it sits just south of the district off of Springhill Road.
“When that district was formed over 30 years ago, they were way out in the countryside, and now the city of Bozeman has come up to our boundary,” King said. “The wastewater plant is basically across the street.”