[MissoulaGov] committee update 12-12-07

Bob Jaffe bjaffe at ci.missoula.mt.us
Wed Dec 12 22:20:20 MST 2007


In public safety we finished up the chicken discussion. There wasn't much
more to say about the whole thing so Jerry made the motion to move it to the
floor with the amendment that there should be $15 annual licensing. Jon
Wilkins tried to amend the motion to include a provision that adjacent
neighbors had to give permission for someone to have chickens. The
amendment did not pass. We will discuss and vote on this on the floor on
Monday night. As long as no one is absent it should pass.

In conservation we set the public hearing for the new parks fee schedule.
Most everything is going up about 10%. The parks department and conservation
lands people also presented Jerry Ballas with some gifts in honor of his
leadership and service to the parks during his years on council.

The whole two hour PAZ meeting was dedicated to the Sonata Park subdivision
off of Duncan Road. My vote on this is going to come down to how literal I
think growth policies should be read. A number of issues have been raised
and addressed. There is a fear that the underground pipeline will explode.
This pipeline runs through plenty of subdivisions and communities. It runs
right across the Rattlesnake valley. It runs through the Clark Fork Terrace
subdivision that we just approved.

Concerns were raised that there is some kind of geological fault and
unstable soils on this hillside. We conditioned the subdivision on a
geotechnical study being approved by the engineering department. If there
are geotechnical problems this study should identify them and make
appropriate recommendations for mitigation.

There are concerns about additional traffic. Duncan road north of Lolo St.
currently sees 1700 trips per day. The road can handle way more than that.
It gets a lot of pedestrian traffic so bike and pedestrian improvements will
be needed at some point.

Some feel that there shouldn't be more homes up near the open space. That
goes for every subdivision that is on the fringe of town. Everyone hates to
see former open space turn into subdivisions but saying no for that reason
isn't really a legal option.

The one issue I struggle with is that this neighborhood organized itself and
developed a neighborhood comprehensive plan in 1995 that calls for very low
density development on this hillside. That plan was approved and adopted
into the growth policy by the city council. Pretty much every neighborhood
that has seen growth can attest that comp. plans are a general guide and are
not taken literally in every chapter and verse.

My understanding is that the legal protest limit has been met on this
project so it will take eight votes to pass the zoning. Without the Zoning
the subdivision cannot go forward as proposed.

We scheduled another session for Friday 9-11 to try to finish this up so we
can vote on it Monday night.

In A&F we honored Jack Reidy for his many years of service and passed a
motion to name the council conference room after him.

In Public Works we bought some trucks and a forklift. We also discussed the
interlocal agreement with the county over the construction on Miller creek
road. They are wanting the agreement to be re-worked so they can more or
less step out of the deal and let the city take over the project even though
some of it is on county land. There were two parts that raised some
interest. One clause ceded the county's right to use eminent domain to the
city for this project. It is highly unlikely that this will come into play
on this project but it should be provided for in the agreement. A question
was raised over the legality of the city having extra-jurisdictional eminent
domain authority.

The other issue had to do with a deal where the prior owner of the Maloney
Ranch property gifted $250,000 to the county at the time when the property
was sold for development. The gift was earmarked for a bridge into lower
miller creek. There was a letter in our packet from the guy that said it was
for a bridge and if a bridge could not be built by 2020 then it could be
used for other infrastructure improvements. This money (with interest now
$340,000) is part of the financing package for the planned improvements. The
rationale is that at this point, the way things are going, it is highly
unlikely that a second access bridge can be constructed by 2020. So
therefore the money is free to use now on other infrastructure projects. No
reason to actually wait until 2020. The man who made the gift has passed
away but there is a letter from his daughter that says it is OK to use the
money in this way.

This raised all sorts of red flags. We wanted our legal council to weigh in
on this to confirm that it is legit. Mr. Haines also took great offence to
this plan as it was symbolic of abandoning the effort to construct the

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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