[MissoulaGov] committee update 12-12-07

Jim McGrath jmcgrath at missoulahousing.org
Thu Dec 13 08:12:10 MST 2007


Here comes my usual on the Rattlesnake.

I find it ironic that the Council pencil whips approval for the largest
subdivision in history and then get bogged down in a small subdivision
with little impact in the Rattlesnake.

I agree that the main rub is comp plan compliance. However, don't get me
started on the politic economy of growth policy compliance. The City
Council fervently defends the rattlesnake with it's high end homes and
condos but prefers to defend large business interests over lower income

You guys should assess a Rattlesnake-using-city-time fee!

Happy holidays!


From: missoulagov-bounces at cmslists.com
[mailto:missoulagov-bounces at cmslists.com] On Behalf Of Bob Jaffe
Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2007 10:20 PM
To: missoulagov at cmslists.com
Subject: [MissoulaGov] committee update 12-12-07


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

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

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 bridge.

Thanks for your interest,

Bob Jaffe

Missoula City Council, Ward 3

bjaffe at ci.missoula.mt.us


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