[MissoulaGov] committee update 12-12-07

Jim McGrath jmcgrath at missoulahousing.org
Thu Dec 13 10:46:01 MST 2007


The reason it remains unzoned, as I recall, because it was mutually
protested-- i.e. neighbors blocked owners zoning, and owners blocked
neighbors. Something like that. Neither proposal could get the super
majority of council.

The Rattlesnake is a sacred cow. Period. As you know, I supported
progressive planning efforts in that neighborhood (and others) and made
decisions on zoning based on plans for the most part. I also spent more
time on small subdivision deliberations in the Rattlesnake than any
other part of town, probably combined.

I'm being deliberately crusty. But I still challenge you to a real
political economy of planning. :-)

-----Original Message-----
From: Pete Talbot [mailto:petetalbot at montana.com]
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2007 10:37 AM
To: Jim McGrath
Cc: bjaffe at ci.missoula.mt.us; missoulagov at cmslists.com
Subject: Re: [MissoulaGov] committee update 12-12-07

Bob, Jim:
Ahh, a little reverse-elitism. Because the folks in the Rattlesnake live

in nice homes, and are a pain in the butt when it comes to growth and
planning issues: screw 'em.

I'm not sure why there wasn't more protest over the 600 unit Miller
Creek plan -- there should have been. Maybe it's because most everybody
up there is also a resident of a new, major subdivision, they don't feel

they have a right to complain; or maybe it's because the developers and
land owners up there were smart enough to advance a comp plan and zoning

that would allow for this sort of development; or maybe it's because
people up Miller Creek just don't give a damn about what their area
looks like; I don't know. Whatever ... I don't see that the lack of
protest on Miller Creek subdivisions should be used as a reason to
penalize the Duncan Dr. folks.

Here's the kicker: I think that the Duncan Dr. protesters are being a
little too restrictive in their demands. I'm not so much opposed to the
number of homes in the subdivision as to the way it's planned. If there
were some clustering close to the road, a dedicated open space easement
with public access higher up on the property (and maybe some thought to
an affordable housing component -- although that's a pipe dream), then I

might support Sonata Park. I agree that it won't put that much traffic
pressure on Duncan Dr., at least compared to the traffic miasma we'll be

seeing on Miller Cr. Rd.

I guess what fired me up enough to respond was the "Rattlesnake
residents are a bunch of whiners who care too much about where they
live" attitude. I was on the initial planning group for the unzoned
lands in the Rattlesnake, called for by Mayor Kemmis back in the early
1990's. We came up with a plan but it was shot down by council. I'm not
sure why the lands are still not zoned but to be allowing subdivisions
to go in without zoning is quite regrettable. And I'm guessing that the
City bears some responsibility here.

Oh yeah, having walked all over the Rattlesnake for many years now, I
can attest to the fact it isn't as wealthy an area as people seem to
think. There are a number of modest homes, duplexes, apartments, even
mobile homes, scattered around the valley. The fact that the housing
market has everything in the 'snake way overpriced isn't the fault of
the residents. Compared to the University Homeowners Association,
Rattlesnake residents are a pretty mellow crowd.

Finally, the Sonata Park doesn't really impact me -- I'm on the other
side of the creek -- but because of all the open space lands surrounding

the Rattlesnake, the valley is a special area. And it's used and viewed
by folks from all over our city. Please keep this in mind.
Pete Talbot

> Bob,


> 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 neighbors.


> 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


> Greetings,


> 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 bridge.


> Thanks for your interest,


> Bob Jaffe


> Missoula City Council, Ward 3


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


> 406-728-1052





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