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Court blocks most work on Beattie Street Trailhead project in Helena

Posted at 3:59 PM, Apr 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-13 21:04:38-04

A Lewis and Clark County court has temporarily halted most work on the Beattie Street Trailhead project in Helena, after two neighboring residents filed legal action.

A First District Court judge granted a temporary restraining order, requiring the city to stop construction in the area adjacent to the property owned by Nicholas Sovner and Cheri Thornton. Contractors had begun work at the site last week.

The project would create 18 paved parking spots and add additional facilities at the trailhead.

Sovner and Thornton say they made a land exchange with the city, providing land that the city could use to expand parking at the trailhead. They said they made the deal based on the city agreeing not to develop another piece of land immediately adjacent to their home. They argue the new work is being done on that land, so it goes against the agreement.

The court granted the plaintiffs’ request for a restraining order on Thursday, ordering work to stop on the property adjoining Sovner and Thornton’s land until a hearing on April 22. However, the court then modified the order on Friday, allowing the city to perform some work to secure the site and put in measures to control erosion, stormwater runoff and traffic.

The Beattie Street Trailhead project has been in discussion for several years. It has drawn opposition from several nearby residents, who have raised concerns about how it will impact the neighborhood.

The city has budgeted $450,000 for the project.