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Darby slated to become high-end resort town

A 30-million-dollar resort is under development in Darby Montana, current population 801.

The KPAX-News article linked below includes a video previously aired on their Channel 8 television show.

Proposed Darby resort subject of heated debate (includes video)

“Developer Brooks Pace says he wants to build a $30 million luxury resort in Darby.”

Brooks, founder and president of The Dammeron Corporation, says he moved to Darby a year ago to get away from the excessive development of his prior home in Dammeron Valley Utah. I understand that. Bare lots there are now selling for $100,000 with modest 1,200-sq-ft homes well over half-a-million bucks.

The “develop-able land” he picked up in Darby was an ex-sawmill, recently known as an unafordable EPA Superfund Site. It had been an impossible nut to crack as no developer nor government agency could figure out how to afford cleaning up several acres of toxic pollution that went deep underground into the aquifer and outward from there.

According to official reports, New technology was applied. Pace hired trucks and tractors to haul away the top 6 inches of soil over the entire site and *POOF* the whole problem went away.

Myself, I am not believing the technology he applied is all that new.

I also doubt he was gambling with the purchase of the property, or contracting for the “cleanup”. I find it highly unlikely he put a ton of money in without a lot of confidence in the outcome.

On a related note, in the KPAX video, he seemed quite cavalier about the possibility that the Darby town council might derail his multi-million-dollar scheme. He looked to me like a guy who already knows the decision they will make next Tuesday.

How could he be so confident??? I think your answer is a relative to the world’s oldest profession.

At this juncture, I want you to understand that the very rich are not like you and me. Are you hyper-wealthy? Yeah, me neither. We are not wired that way. We have a different morality and different motivations than people driven to gather great financial wealth about themselves. Do not make the mistake of applying your own sense of right and wrong to those so very different from yourself.

It will bring JOBS

Ah yes, the enterprise argument. Up and down The Bitterroot are oceans of “HELP WANTED” signs – now – today – without a new resort. Obviously those vaunted JOBS are not in short supply.

A quick look at other high-roller communities such as McCall or Sun Valley Idaho finds the resort workers have to commute 50 miles or more each way from their affordable housing to their jobs serving the rich and famous. While this might be a boon for housing prices in Sula or Victor Montana it is unlikely to create anything but unafordable high-end housing in Darby.

But Darby home values will go up. Ah so, who wins that one??? Those who sell to move somewhere else (more rural?), those who collect property taxes on market value homes and land, plus those who get a percentage-based commission on every sale in the escalating real estate market.

Who loses? Pensioners hoping to stay in the homes they worked for and happily occupied for decades. Anyone hoping to afford Darby dwellings for reasonable prices. Renters thinking they might be able to live near their jobs. Community members who appreciated the mix of upper, middle and modest-income people in their neighborhoods.

People who enjoyed small-town Darby are the big losers. It will be gone forever. Inviting a transient population of 400 or so to rotate through the resort lodgings adds 50% to the current Darby population, traffic and infrastructure load.

On the infrastructure load note, Darby’s town freshwater and sewage systems are already marginal. Adding 50% to their loads will force massive, uber-expensive replacements. What has been a pressing problem for town councils will suddenly become crisis-level urgent.

The local shops, pubs and restaurants that we commoners enjoyed will be displaced by high-end versions we cannot afford to enjoy.

Must be nice to trash a place, move on to the next one, then the next and so on without remorse or pangs of conscience.

Very few of us have that particular luxury.

Perhaps we don’t want it.


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