Last Friday, July 31, Ravalli District Court Judge James Haynes ruled against county commissioners on their approval of a 600 unit subdivision called Legacy Ranch that would have been built near the Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge. Ravalli County Commissioner Jeff Burrows said the decision will impact many subdivisions in Ravalli County and will force county planners to go back to the drawing board.

"There were a couple things that at the surface seemed to conflict with state statute, but it's the way we were trying to apply our subdivision ranks consistently with how we've done it in the past," Burrows said. "For example, it was that you can't approve a preliminary plat further than three years out. Basically statue reads the approval cannot be enforced for more than three calendar years."

Burrows said the Legacy Ranch decision could impact planning across the state.

"I'm not sure that this decision isn't going to have a statewide effect because I know there's other counties who use this phasing process in their subdivision approval," Burrows said. "I'm not sure this isn't going to change how not only Ravalli County, but counties statewide use subdivision approvals."

At this point, Burrows said Ravalli County Commissioners have no immediate plans to appeal the ruling, but may decide differently after they meet this month and learn how the land developer plans to respond.