MISSOULA, Mont. – The Missoula golfing community is shocked after a local promoter proposed to transform the Larchmont golf course into a housing estate.
On Monday, the WGM group offered to swap land with the county and build 2,000 homes on the golf course site.
In the proposal, the developers at WGM said they would do a land swap and give the county 157 acres of land near Larchmont, off Highway 93 to build a new golf course. In return, they would get the 153 acres of land owned by the county.
The proposed land is in a floodplain, so it is not possible to build housing there.
At the meeting, the developers said the construction of Larchmont would help address the current housing crisis. However, Larchmont’s advisory board voted unanimously against.
Larchmont Golf Course general manager Bill Galiher has made it clear that they are against the proposal.
“We’re not ready to move. It takes a long time. We’ve been here a long time. It’s a really good golf course and a nice property and the place they want us to relocate is in the floodplain,” Galiher said.
He said they agree that more affordable housing is needed, but Larchmont is not the place to do it.
County commissioners were also not convinced by the idea, including Josh Slotnick, who said he would need a lot more information before considering it.
“In my mind, we only have these two things; a bold idea attempting to solve a very real crisis, and this long established community gem. I need more work than those two things, and I would like us to think through the process to come up with more details, ”Slotnick said.
As of this writing, most public comments are also against the idea.
The proposed land for a new golf course is where the current safe and temporary outdoor shelter is located. But county officials said they were working to find a new location for the shelter as part of their Operation Shelter plan.
County officials made it clear at Monday’s meeting that it is still very early in the process and that they give WGM responsibility for engaging the golfing community.
Over the next two weeks, county officials will develop a work plan to see if this is even something they have time for. But anyway, they said it would take at least a year to make a decision because there are still a lot of unanswered questions.