A landowner in litigation with Missoula County over a stalled subdivision sees his acreage as possible open space, instead of home sites.
The Gleneagle subdivision has been stalled for decades. Bankruptcy and other litigation has frozen Gleneagle, and sufficient infrastructure has never been installed.
Mark Denton's land makes up part of the subdivision. Denton said 20 years ago the county approached him to make a trade.
"170 acres up here," said Denton, as he gestured toward the gorgeous hillside up Grant Creek. "The county approached me to make a trade with them, where I would trade my property and put it into a conservation easement and they would give me 17 acres."
Denton said under the trade 20 years ago, he could build 27 houses on the landscape.
But to this day the 17 acres is still undeveloped.
"The county refuses to honor their 1993 agreement with me to put the infrastructure on my property," said Denton.
But one day after meeting with a mediator, Denton said he has an idea. The county could fully compensate him for his land value at 1993 levels, said Denton, and keep the land as is, as open space.
"It would be great for Missoula," said Denton, the elk herd will benefit and there wouldn't be houses on the ridgeways.
The county said it cannot comment on details discussed in mediation. It said there are no plans to continue with mediation, although it is keeping the door open for further dialog.
Chief Administrative Officer Dale Bickell said the county made a tentative settlement with a bankruptcy estate.
"However we weren't able to come to terms with the other two parties, although we're hopeful we can continue dialog and still try to facilitate a way to get infrastructure into that subdivision.
Besides Denton, the mediator met with an attorney representing 15 Gleneagle landowners.