Rural Living in Flathead County - Access

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with 406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty RRE-BRO-LIC-75443

Are you moving to the rural Kalispell Montana area? Or do you already live in the Flathead Valley but are interested in moving to a less crowded area? Do you want privacy and wildlife? If yes, there are many things to consider, including purchasing decisions, access issues, service delivery, agriculture and the right to farm, mother nature and wildlife. This second post about rural living in Flathead County covers potential land access issues.

 

Rural Living in Flathead CountyFlathead County Planning and Zoning prepared a very good document for both natives and newcomers to the area. They've given me approval to share here. The second chapter deals with access to your property.

 

And I quote:

 

Access

 

The fact that you can drive to your property today doesn't necessarily mean that you, your guests, and emergency service providers will be able to reach you in February. Just another reason to make friends with the logger down the road with the heavy equipment. In the meantime, please remember:

 

  • Emergency response times cannot be guaranteed. Under some extreme conditions, response may be extremely slow or not at all if weather or conditions render your access impassable.

 

  • Legal access is not the same as physical access. If your access crosses the property of others, consult a legal professional to clearly understand what your easement authorizes.

 

  • It is wise to determine whether or not your road was properly engineered and constructed. Even with proper construction, annual road maintenance will be needed, which can require renting or owning special equipment.

 

  • In extreme weather even county-maintained roads can become impassable. You may need a four-wheel drive vehicle with chains on all four wheels to travel during these occasions. Don't expect to see the county snowplow on your road first thing every morning!

 

  • You can expect to experience maintenance problems with your road, even if it is county-maintained. Flathead County encompasses 5,098 square miles. Within that area are 1,200 miles of county-maintained roads.

 

  • Dust is an unpleasant fact of life for most rural residents. If you want to make enemies quickly, move to the country off an unpaved road, then call the Road and Bridge Department after the first dry, dusty day and demand to know when your road will be paved.

 

  • If your road is unpaved, it is unlikely Flathead County will pave it in the near future. Check carefully with the Road and Bridge Department when any statement is made by the seller or seller's representative that indicates paving is planned.

 

  • Flathead County will repair and maintain county roads, however subdivision or private roads are the responsibility of the homeowner's or road user's association. This can be particularly costly after flooding or other natural disasters.

 

  • Don't expect your neighbors to join a petition asking for improved service or paving of a rural road. Rural people cherish their independence and willingness to go it alone. They may not jump at the chance to pave the road and make it easier for more folks to move in.

 

  • School buses travel only on maintained county roads that are designated school bus routes by the school district. You may need to drive your children to the nearest county road or even all the way to school.

 

Rural Living in Flathead County

As indicated by Flathead County Planning and Zoning, the above are important access factors to take into consideration if you are thinking of moving to any area outside of a town or city. My personal home is only a 15 minute drive from the center of the city of Kalispell and it is located on a county-maintained dirt road. The first half mile or so is on a hill that gets little sun and it is often icy or snow packed during the winter. The county trucks do come around 9 or 10am on many workdays and plow or apply sand. On weekends they don't. So there are days when travel is tricky. A four-wheel drive is a must.

 

Also, the road does "grow" potholes and dips on a regular basis. There are several culverts under the road and the dirt surrounding them collapses somewhat. Drivers must beware until the county fixes the issues (which they do!).

 

Some other thoughts. The school bus does not come up our road. Because the road is miles long, all parents drive their children to the beginning of the road. And school rarely closes. So parents who live on our road have to traverse the icy/snowy road daily. That's part of life in rural Montana!

 

So I echo the words in the Flathead County booklet. If you want to live on a dirt road, some planning and preparation is needed to be able to get in and out regardless of weather. In my opinion, it's totally worth it to be in an area where a flock of turkeys, herd of deer, lone grouse, or all sorts of other animals can slow down your commute.

 

If you are interested in purchasing land or an existing home in rural areas of the Flathead Valley, I'd be happy to make sure you have the information you need to select the property or home that works for you. The same is true if you want to move into a city or town. I'm available to assist with those properties as well. Just call me at 406-270-3667 or email me at kat@thehousekat.com.

 

Part three of this series will address service delivery issues associated with rural property. Until then, enjoy!

 

Click here for more information on the Kalispell or Bigfork areas.

 

Originally posted at thehousekat.com.

 

Posted by

 

Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat

Licensed Broker, CBR®

 

Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp

P.O. Box 10458

Kalispell, MT 59904

 

email: kat@thehousekat.com

www.thehousekat.com

 

406-270-3667 (MT)

 

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Rainmaker
4,824,355
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Kat,

The excerpts from the Flathead County Planning and Zoning you shared are an excellent guideline to understand if someone plans to live near a dirt road.  It made me realize how much we take for granted.  A

Feb 25, 2020 08:40 AM #1
Rainmaker
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Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Hi Kat... again, great information. Of course, I have to wonder just how congested life is in Flathead Valley area in general... I suppose it's all relative.

Feb 25, 2020 08:42 AM #2
Rainmaker
1,559,514
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Ron and Alexandra Seigel - I was disappointed when the local newpaper refused to deliver a paper to my mailbox. Other than that, being outside of town has not been a hardship for us!

Thank you Nina Hollander - during the Fall/Winter, it's not congested here at all. I drove home from a gardening class a few weeks ago - it was night, and snowing. The roads were crappy. But there were NO other cars, so I had the road to myself.

During tourist season though, this area gets crowded. 

Feb 25, 2020 08:51 AM #3
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Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

So did you buy yourself a big herking 4x4 when you moved west? The car of choice in our community is a Subaru 4x4 with a chainsaw in the back. (My 84 year old neighbor says that is her peace of mind.) 

We have a Tahoe...

Happy Tuesday Kat Palmiotti 

Feb 25, 2020 09:05 AM #4
Rainmaker
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Francine Viola
Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Olympia WA - Olympia, WA
REALTOR®, In Tune with your Real Estate Needs

Great eye-opening information for people looking to move out into the rural countryside but I would agree - so worth it!

Feb 25, 2020 11:11 AM #5
Rainmaker
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Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS - I moved out here with my AWD Subaru. My husband has a Toyota Tacoma that we use for plowing. And he just bought a 4x4 Chevy Suburban. So we're all set! A Tahoe would work!

Francine Viola - I bet there are a lot of rural spots in your part of Washington!

Feb 25, 2020 11:26 AM #6
Rainmaker
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Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Kat,  Once again a great blog to help people that are moving to rural area.  That new Suburban will be good to get around in.

 

Feb 25, 2020 12:44 PM #7
Rainmaker
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Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

I was yelling YES as rural MT would be a nice place to move to Kat Palmiotti. The last couple of summers have been too busy for my yearly visit to enjoy the Montana summer. 

Feb 25, 2020 04:26 PM #8
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Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Kat- you definitely are the expert in your area especially to help anyone moving to the area. When we moved to Northern VA, we had a lot to learn about living in an area where it snowed. 

Feb 25, 2020 05:43 PM #9
Rainmaker
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Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Kat - preparation is important and easy access seems to be just one aspect of living well in Flathead County,  Good advice.  

Feb 26, 2020 03:57 AM #10
Rainmaker
1,559,514
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Will Hamm - We're happy with all the vehicles so far!

Scott Godzyk - It's great to be busy, but vacations are wonderful also (I should talk - I don't remember the last "real" vacation I took!)

Kathy Streib - Snow does require a bit more planning, especially on a road that's not always accessible. 

Feb 26, 2020 05:44 AM #11
Rainmaker
1,559,514
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Michael Jacobs - People who want easy access live in town!

Feb 26, 2020 05:44 AM #12
Rainmaker
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Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty
Waves Realty - Melbourne, FL
Florida Space Coast Homes

This makes me happy (that I never need to worry about snow or plowing)  :)

Feb 26, 2020 11:57 AM #13
Rainmaker
1,559,514
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty - If you need to worry about snow or plowing, something has gone very wonky in the atmosphere!

Have a great day!

Feb 27, 2020 05:21 AM #14
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Great post, Kat. You have learned so much about the Kalispell area and know just the right issues that buyers need to be aware of.  You ARE the agent they need to be in touch with for their guidance with their buying decisions.

Jeff

Feb 28, 2020 08:31 PM #15
Rainmaker
1,559,514
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Thank you Jeff Dowler, CRS for your wonderful comment! Enjoy your weekend!

Feb 29, 2020 05:08 AM #16
Rainmaker
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Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
DFW FINE PROPERTIES - Flower Mound, TX
Selling Homes Changing Lives

This is a very wise post and one that can be updated and reposted for many years. Something I learned in Flower Mound, TX is make friends with P&Z. They have a wealth of knowledge and can share information people otherwise wouldn't know. I had clients interested in lot, remotely hidden from the main road. Many of these issues you described were not disclosed by the listing agent. One thing that would have been very helpful is, the reason why the house was never completed is because the owner's property was landlocked. All of this information you mentioned about the roads, maintenance, other properties, and especially when there are emergencies is true. The time to get that information is not after you buy land and start building. 

Consumers interested in buying land and building should contact Kat Palmiotti. She is someone who is always digging for information from the right sources. She is someone I trust.  

Mar 02, 2020 07:07 AM #17
Rainmaker
1,559,514
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP - Oh my, you are so right. The time to get all that information is not AFTER the property is owned! And thank you for your suggestion that buyers call me! And I like the use of the word "digging" when talking about land! :-)

Mar 02, 2020 09:50 AM #18
Rainmaker
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Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
DFW FINE PROPERTIES - Flower Mound, TX
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Kat Palmiotti - You're welcome. I believe you will be great for State of Montana.

Mar 02, 2020 10:15 AM #19
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