[MissoulaGov] committee update 6-6-07

Jim McGrath jmcgrath at missoulahousing.org
Thu Jun 7 08:01:25 MDT 2007

Thanks Bob as always. What a service!

I think Dick has a good idea -except for the part about using open space
funds. The deferment thing you may be thinking of was a deferred loan
program for low-income seniors. You may have expanded it.

Basically, you should be able to set it up similar to the sewer hook-up
fee. I may be remembering wrong -or you may have changed it-but it used
to be that when we put in sewer, we assessed bare land low but charged
when it was developed (sort of a per pipe charge). Ed probably can be
more accurate. Perhaps you could assess by parcel, by number of
accesses, i.e. demand, as well as by size and value.

Good luck.


From: missoulagov-bounces at cmslists.com
[mailto:missoulagov-bounces at cmslists.com] On Behalf Of Bob Jaffe
Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2007 11:22 PM
To: missoulagov at cmslists.com
Subject: [MissoulaGov] committee update 6-6-07


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:

nd CC Referral - Kelly Island.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

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

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

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

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


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