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New venue, old hurdles



Ryan Creek Meadows, the newly an-nounced outdoor venue east of Missoula, could face larger hurdles than attracting concert promoters. Development at the location has a history of generating backlash, and plans for an expansive subdivision there are currently hung up in Granite County District Court.

In 2007, Granite County commissioners denied landowner Toby Hansen's request to build a 500-lot subdivision along Interstate 90 near Beavertail Hill. Hansen countered the county's decision with a lawsuit and the subdivision's future awaits ruling from Judge Ray Dayton. The commission said there were several reasons for the denial, but would not comment further due to continued court proceedings.

Hansen says he still hopes to build the subdivision, which includes housing for first-time homebuyers and possible small-scale commercial development in the Ryan Creek neighborhood. He planned all along to use an amphitheater as a draw for potential homeowners.

Hansen's concert venue has yet to stir a public outcry among neighbors, even after the announcement of a second concert on September 23 with Michael Franti and Spearhead. Hansen's wife, Keli, went door-to-door in the area last week to address initial complaints and supply residents with her contact information. Keli says the dominant reaction was one of indifference, but resident Christine Oschell has a different take.

"I can't fault them for what they're doing," Oschell says, "but I'm not happy about it. They want to make it pretty big and there's only one road going in and out of here."

Oschell says her concerns over the venue are the same as her past concerns over a subdivision.

"I don't think it's appropriate," Oschell says. "The infrastructure isn't here."

More than anything, Oschell says she feels powerless in the development of Ryan Creek Meadows. She has nothing personal against the Hansens—Keli gave Oschell two free Mudvayne tickets—but Oschell still doesn't think the venue is a good idea.

"I don't think anyone really is [happy], but I don't think anybody really has any kind of outlet for it," she says.


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