[MissoulaGov] Committee Update 4-25-07

Bob Jaffe bjaffe at ci.missoula.mt.us
Wed Apr 25 22:54:58 MDT 2007


I missed the bulk of Public Safety this morning because it was the big day
to ride bikes to Paxson for Bike Walk Bus week. I caught the last item
which looked like the interesting one. Don seems to be getting worried that
he will have a heart attack and it will take the fire department so long to
get way up grant creek that he won't make it. He has brought it up a number
of times and made a referral for us to discuss purchasing the land at the 7R
parking lot at the base of Grant Creek for a satellite fire station. The
Fire Department explained that their goal is a four minute response time 90
% of the time. They hit four minutes for most of the calls in lower grant
creek and about eight or ten minutes in the upper part of the city limits
where Don lives.

A representative of the ambulance company was there to let us know that they
were leasing space out on Stockyard road near Reserve street. They would be
transferring one ambulance out there and respond to calls from the new
location for calls west of Scott street. Don was very happy to hear this.
They said they would report back to us after they had tried it for a while
and had some data on response times.


We approved the contract with Abbotswood Design Group for the design and
engineering of the new Pineview Park. We have worked with them in the past
and the Parks department is very happy with their work. They will also be
providing construction management services. This raised a concern from John
Hendrickson. He has been promoting the idea that we should not allow the
architectural and engineering firms that design a project be in charge of
construction management.

During the aquatics project there were a number of change orders. Keep in
mind that when it was all done they amounted to less than 3% of the project.

>From what I understand this is a good number especially considering the

challenging circumstances of that project. But all last year we had the
parks department presenting change orders for one thing or another. A few
of those change orders sounded a whole lot like mistakes or omissions on the
part of the architects. But since the architects were also the construction
managers it was unlikely they were going to determine that they themselves
were at fault and eat the extra cost. So they would determine that the city
was responsible for the change and it would show up at council.

But it is more complicated than that. For the most part it is impossible to
pull off a project like this without missing a few things. You should expect
the architect and engineers to not to miss much. But if you are trying to
save money you don't have the kind of preliminary review that guarantees
that there are no mistakes. You do a reasonably good job of planning and
just expect that you will find a few things along the way you will have to
deal with.

The administration has embraced the idea that there should be some kind of
third party oversight on our large multi-million dollar construction
projects. But that is not the same thing as removing the designers from
construction management.

The vote to approve the contract passed but with some no votes and passes.
We should hear more on this during committee reports at the council meeting.

Our next item, appropriately, was to approve the remaining change orders
from the aquatics project. The unsettled items had been negotiated down from
about $90,000 to $44,000. We approved the settlement.


A while back we approved a subdivision called the Gables that was being
built by Jared Langley. It is out between the river and 3rd west of Hiberta.
It was very contentious. We ended up approving the annexation and
subdivision but could not get the votes to approve the zoning since it was
successfully protested (requires 2/3). So now Jared is coming back saying
that since construction costs have gone up so much since then his plan does
not pencil and he now wants to do a Planned Unit Development (PUD) with
something like 56 units. This raises a few alarm bells. The time line to
get this project through the pipeline doesn't seem any longer than any
others to me. Does that mean that we will be seeing more projects come in
saying they now need more density to make it work? Or is this site just
extraordinarily challenging? Either way it is likely the neighbors will
successfully raise a protest and it will take a 2/3 vote to pass which it
probably doesn't have. Since 5 of your city council people decided to vote
against the zoning on this project he can use the prospect of turning it
into storage units as an incentive for us to approve his project. I suppose
he could turn it into a pig farm. That would fit the "rural character" of
the neighborhood.

Then we looked into the matter of a number of residential properties along
the base of mount Jumbo being zoned as park land. This was some kind of
oversight from way back when that we need to fix. We were unable to get it
done by when time ran out so we will look at that again next time.


We determined that yes indeed the Riverfront Triangle is in a state of
blight. The blight determination allows MRA to proceed in setting up a new
tax increment district. During the lunch break Jack shared with me some of
his fond memories of the riverfront triangle. Back in the day that used to
be the city dump. Where the Western Montana Clinic building is there used to
be tons of old car bodies piled up. Someone let loose some white rats and
they took over the place. There used to be swarms of white rats with little
red eyes in there. As kids they used to go shoot them with BB guns. The
Hobos used to camp out along the river. They used to go hang out and eat
Hobo Stew. Their moms would get mad at them for going down there. I imagine
I would be a bit unnerved if my kids were hanging around the transient camps
by the river.

In public works we discussed a plan to set up a three year pilot project to
make a Miller Creek bus route. A few of the developers up there were willing
to put in the bulk of the money to get it going . There are some rural
transportation funds available and the city and county are being asked to
kick in $5,000 per year. The details are still being worked out but it
sounds like it may work out well.

We also approved a deal to supersize the sewer pipe going out to the Wye. A
couple of developers were kicking in about $3,000,000. There would be an Sid
to cover about $10,000,000. The city was going in on about another $300,000
to cover expected future demand outside the SID area. As those areas come
on board we will be paid back. The SID at this point has something like an
80% sign on by the property owners. The administration is still working on
the interlocal agreement with the county to determine how the delayed
annexation will work.

Our last meeting was committee of the whole where we got a presentation
about the south campus plan. I had a first grade play to go to so I missed
it. If anyone who was there wants to comment on it that would be

Thanks for your interest,

Bob Jaffe

Missoula City Council, Ward 3

<mailto:bjaffe at ci.missoula.mt.us> bjaffe at ci.missoula.mt.us


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