[MissoulaGov] committee update 6-6-07

Bob Jaffe bjaffe at ci.missoula.mt.us
Wed Jun 6 23:21:53 MDT 2007


Greetings,



In Conservation this morning we approved the purchase of 40 acres of open
space land mostly across the river from our Tower road property. I reported
on this a few weeks back when we first heard about it. A full description
of the property can be found here:

<ftp://www.ci.missoula.mt.us/Packets/Council/2007/2007-06-04/Referrals/2nd
CC Referral - Kelly Island.htm>
ftp://www.ci.missoula.mt.us/Packets/Council/2007/2007-06-04/Referrals/2nd%20
CC%20Referral%20-%20Kelly%20Island.htm

The current open space bond allows us to do some remediation on the property
when we purchase it. I asked Jackie to look into whether it would be wise to
include a little over the $20,000 purchase price to cover an initial
treatment for weeds. The way the deal is structured the property will be
the responsibility of FWP to maintain but that doesn't necessarily mean that
they will. Depending on what I hear I may make an amendment when we hear
this on the floor.



In PAZ we appointed Dennis Greeno to the Architect position on the Design
Review Board.

We also reviewed a three lot subdivision on River road called Great Spaces.
It is between River road and the driveway into the Ready Mix plant. We
haggled about the sidewalks for a while and ultimately approved the staff
recommendations. We allowed a curbside sidewalk along the north side of
River rd. instead of a boulevard sidewalk because of the location of the
ditch.



The next project we looked at was Flynn Ranch. This subdivision has a few
problems. Staff raised a number of issues related to the relationship to
historic features such as the old ranch buildings out there. They want to
retain a buffer to the buildings on the adjacent property and had hoped to
preserve the structures on the Flynn ranch property but the developer tore
them down during the negotiations. You're not supposed to modify your
property while it is going through subdivision review but I'm not sure if
that is actually a criminal violation. Some other issues raised had to do
with connectivity through the site and how the site addressed George Elmer
Drive, which is planned to be the main arterial through the area. Staff
recommended the subdivision be denied. Planning board also voted to deny. We
didn't have any time for discussion or public comment and will take it up
again for discussion.



The main issue we discussed in Public Works was Hillview Way. The whole road
is being reconstructed. It will cost something like $3,000,000 divided
amongst about 1,000 properties. There are a few issues:

The assessment method - Based 1/2 on property value and 1/2 on property
size. Or 2/3 on value and 1/3 on size. Mixing size and value tries to create
some equity between large undeveloped land and smaller more valuable
developed property.



Area of Assessment -The folks at the bottom of the hill along Simons dr. and
Polaris way and other streets didn't think they should be assessed the same
as folks way up on top of the hill. After all, they didn't really have to
use Hillview since they often times use High Park Way instead. Steve King
argued that the lower portion of the road was getting significant
improvements. It was not crowned properly so water didn't drain off of it;
substantial drainage facilities were being built higher up to preserve the
lower portion from all the run off; and it was being realigned at the bottom
to work better overall. I didn't really think these were the best arguments
because runoff is only an issue since there was all that road serving the
people up above. And if there weren't all those people higher up using the
road it wouldn't need to be realigned.

Ed pointed out that this was all similar to what went on with the 39th
street storm water project. People up the hill who were generating all the
run off didn't think they should be included in a utility project way at the
bottom of the hill. They sued and lost but the exercise greatly increased
the cost of the project. I don't know much about that history but it seems
like this time the people on the bottom of the hill are saying they
shouldn't bear the same proportion of responsibility as the developments up
the hill that are using so much more of that road.

I would favor a formula that had a multiplier worked in for how far up the
road your turnout was. Of course folks up top would hate that arrangement.



Forcing Development - The next issue is forcing development of current open
space land. There are a few large parcels of undeveloped land in the
assessment area. The largest assessment against one of those is $263,710.
Some of these people are planning to subdivide in the near future. But not
all of them. So does hitting someone with a bill like this push them to
develop land that is currently open space? He may once again be obligated
to correct me on Monday night, but I'm pretty sure Mr. Hendrickson was
concerned about this as well as Ed and Dick. Dick was suggesting some kind
of program where we pay the assessment through either the open space bond or
some other source and then when the property finally subdivides we assess
the individual lots at the same formula everyone else had to pay at. We
could recoup the investment with interest and charge them at the fair rate.
We then avoid driving the open space to development and also avoid the
inequity of someone paying the lower rate on undeveloped land and then
subsequently subdividing it. It sounds pretty complicated and I'm sure we
will hear a lot of reasons why this sort of thing can't work. But it did
sound like there would be broad support on council for some kind of solution
like this.

I thought we had some sort of rule about deferring payment until sale on
large assessments. I can't find the ordinance right now to confirm the
language to see if it could apply to this project.



An item of interest from A&F was the discussion of modifying the
Neighborhood Council ordinance. We changed it to clarify that if a council
wants to modify its boundaries or divide, the community forum should
research the matter and make a recommendation to city council for a
decision. There was also a discussion of changing the way the money gets
distributed to the different councils. Some are much larger than others.
Some ideas went around like each council gets a flat amount and then a per
capita amount. We figured we could address this in the budget when we get to
neighborhood councils and it didn't have to be part of the ordinance.



In BCOW we heard the preliminary requests from the police. One item of
interest was a new program to deal with abandoned vehicles. The county just
let us know they would no longer be offering this service inside of city
limits. I think they must have forgotten that we make up 60% of the county
and pay most of the taxes that fund their department. But our department
was looking at creating its own program to make up for the loss. It will
cost something like $40,000/yr after the revenue from fees and sales. I
wonder how much we would have to pay the county to get them to keep doing
it. It seems wasteful to have both of us running the same program.

The police also want a new drug officer to specialize in pharmaceuticals.
This will cost about $80,000/yr. They decided there was not enough money so
they didn't bother putting the request for a park officer on the list.



That's about it for now.



Thanks for your interest,





Bob Jaffe

Missoula City Council, Ward 3

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

406-728-1052

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