[MissoulaGov] committee update 6-6-07

Jim McGrath jmcgrath at missoulahousing.org
Thu Jun 7 08:02:20 MDT 2007

Why don't we tow them outside the city limits? ;-)


From: missoulagov-bounces at cmslists.com
[mailto:missoulagov-bounces at cmslists.com] On Behalf Of Bob Jaffe
Sent: Thursday, June 07, 2007 7:56 AM
To: 'Janet Donahue'
Cc: missoulagov at cmslists.com
Subject: Re: [MissoulaGov] committee update 6-6-07


I should clarify something. I had this same question during the meeting.
There is a difference between the abandoned vehicle program and the junk
vehicle program. If you own the car you can call the junk vehicle
program run by the health department and they will come haul it away.
The abandoned vehicle program is more complicated because they have to
track down the owner and inventory the contents of the car and so on.
They are essentially seizing someone's property without their


From: Janet Donahue [mailto:janetdonahue at msn.com]
Sent: Thursday, June 07, 2007 7:23 AM
To: bjaffe at ci.missoula.mt.us
Subject: Re: [MissoulaGov] committee update 6-6-07

Hi Bob, I was interested in reading about the abandoned vehicle issue.
That is housed in the City/County Health Department, I believe. I'm a
bit confused about how the County has the ability to tell the City it
will no longer offer the service when the City helps pay to fund the
service and has for as long as I can remember....

Thanks, Janet

----- Original Message -----

From: Bob Jaffe <mailto:bjaffe at ci.missoula.mt.us>

To: missoulagov at cmslists.com

Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2007 11:21 PM

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:


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

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 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

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


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