Planners, under the direction of KLJ, have spent most of the past year developing a plan under which an industrial park will be developed in Lockwood through the taxing mechanism of a TEDD. Yellowstone County Commissioners approved that plan last week.
The TEDD is a tax increment finance district in which future new tax revenues are applied to infrastructure development within the district boundaries. Next steps in the plan include appointing an Advisory Board and to begin an application process for grants to fund additional planning and development.
Commissioners were informed that there are now property owners outside of the TEDD who would like to go through the process of being incorporated into the TEDD. That will require a different process and may include required zone changes.
The Master Plan takes a broad approach in planning for transportation, rail, utilities, and flood protection. It includes areas beyond TEDD borders, because the build -out of those systems will impact all the developable land in the area.
Research in developing the Master Plan revealed that Lockwood water and sewer systems are currently inadequate to serve the extended area. The plan assumes that TEDD wastewater will be routed to the Firth Lift Station where they will be pumped to the sewer trunk main system, where they will continue by gravity flow through the trunk mains to discharge into the Main Lift Station, to be pumped across the East Bridge, to discharge to the City of Billings treatment plant.
That TEDD is outside the Lockwood Water and Sewer District (LWSD) and would have to be included in the district to get water and sewer services. LWSD would need to get permission from the City of Billings to expand their boundary, because their current agreement with the city to treat its wastewater is restricted to current district boundaries. Any sewer and water infrastructure for the new development would be turned over to LWSD to operate as part of their sewer system.
While in the short term, LWSD has adequate water rights to serve the district’s needs and perhaps to some extent that of the TEDD, in the long term the district must obtain more water rights to meet future needs.
The plan looked at three options for flood control: incremental fill, mass fill, or a levy system along TEDD boundaries which would remove all fringe areas from the flood plain. The Master Plan concludes that the TEDD will most likely be developed using incremental fill.
Development of the Master Plan involved close coordination with the Montana Department of Transportation in its plans to build a Bypass. The plan proposes an intersection along the Bypass north of the proposed BNSF overpass bridge, as the primary access to the core of the TEDD. In addition, the potential new bypass intersection north of American Steel, east of Coulson Road would provide additional access for future potential development on the east side of the Lockwood TEDD.
In terms of rail development, the plan recommends extending Lockwood and Pacific Steel sidings to where the MRL mainline curves westward, create an additional siding on the west side of the mainline, and to create spurs off MRL mainline.
The Master Plan states that the current alignment and design for the Bypass assume only one additional rail line underneath the Coulson Road/MRL Railroad Bridge. It suggests that MDT consider the future need for three rail lines under the bridge, for a total of four lines. MRL is receptive to that recommendation.
The document recommends that the Advisory Board include representatives of Lockwood Water and Sewer District, Lockwood Schools, Lockwood Fire District, Lockwood Pedestrian Safety District, TEDD Property Owners, representation of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (Policy Coordinating Committee), Montana Department of Transportation (ex-officio), Montana Rail Link (ex- officio).