[MissoulaGov] Committee Update 10-17-07

Jim McGrath jmcgrath at missoulahousing.org
Thu Oct 18 10:49:47 MDT 2007


Bob,



Re: "In PAZ things started to get interesting. We are looking at an
annexation, zoning, and subdivision for a 14 unit project on 3.4 acres
on the corner of 7th and Tower. That is probably all I can say without
running afoul of open meeting law and right to know laws so I will speak
generally about growth in the Orchard Homes area instead."

Huh?

The open meeting law requires that any debate on public matters be in
open meetings. It does not forbid councilmembers from conveying
information to the public. I assume everything you know about the
proposal was presented in a public forum (e.g. PAZ meeting, which has
minutes, or PAZ packet, which is available for public review.) What it
forbids is PRIVATE discussion between interested parties (e.g. secret
meetings with the developer).

Obviously, if you were to RECEIVE any comment, information, or
discussion in response to your blog, you would need to share it with all
councilmembers and the public.

Please do not restrain yourself from informing us about matters of
public interest before public committees in a false sense of propriety.



________________________________

From: missoulagov-bounces at cmslists.com
[mailto:missoulagov-bounces at cmslists.com] On Behalf Of Bob Jaffe
Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2007 8:35 AM
To: missoulagov at cmslists.com
Subject: [MissoulaGov] Committee Update 10-17-07



Greetings,

This morning we started with the long absent Economic Development
subcommittee.

At some point I was appointed to chair this subcommittee and have been
terribly remiss in pulling together a meeting. I organized this one
around a presentation of the new Tourism Business Improvement District.
The TBID is based on a new authorization from the legislature. It
allows the hotels in the community to charge a per room tax with 100% of
the revenue going to the local TBID to expend on promoting tourism.
Billings is ahead of us and just put theirs in place. Hopefully we will
have ours ready by the end of the year.

The presentation was made by Barb Nielan of the convention and visitors
bureau and Mary Muse from the Adams center at the University. We
learned that tourism in Missoula generates $283 million which accounts
for $3 million in bed taxes. The state is generous enough to return
$150,000 of that to our local community for the Missoula CVB to spend to
promote tourism here. The new proposal calls for a 75 cent tax per
occupied room night. We have about 3000 rooms in Missoula. They average
60% occupancy. So that ends up being about $500,000 per year.



I'm looking for suggestions for future Economic Development Subcommittee
topics. We hear some people complain a lot about Missoula not being a
business friendly city. I was thinking that maybe we could provide a
forum for people to come down and bitch about what the city does to
inhibit economic growth (providing that they do it in a constructive
way). I would like to see if we could identify any real issues and
identify policy changes we could work on to resolve them.



In Public Safety we discussed Transient problems downtown again. Don
wanted to take one more stab at getting support for a no panhandling
zone downtown. Officer Dick Lewis reiterated what chief Wickman told us
a few weeks ago. Fines and arrest are a lousy deterrent for destitute
street people. We don't want to take up precious jail space with them
and there is nowhere else to send them. Banning the activity in a
certain area may just drive them to other areas where they are harder to
keep an eye on.

Basically he was saying that the preference of the police department and
the administration is to set up a task force of the various stake
holders and work on some solutions. We really need some services and
places for people to go who are not sober enough for the Pov. This
process has some momentum behind it and sounds like it will move
forward.



In conservation we discussed a proposal to apply for a grant from the
Coca Cola company for recycling bins to place on Higgins Avenue. We are
looking at getting 25 of them. The problem is how to pay to get them
emptied. We currently contract with Allied Waste to empty the other
street trash pails. We need to check with them to see what they will
charge. Missoula Valley Recycle offered to do it for $5/ can /pickup. If
we do it each week that would be $260/year/can. We were thinking maybe
we could get businesses to sponsor a can and maybe get some advertising
rights on it. We voted to support the effort and the Greenhouse Gas
committee is looking into the details.

In PAZ things started to get interesting. We are looking at an
annexation, zoning, and subdivision for a 14 unit project on 3.4 acres
on the corner of 7th and Tower. That is probably all I can say without
running afoul of open meeting law and right to know laws so I will speak
generally about growth in the Orchard Homes area instead.

The area has important local agricultural assets.

But it is an obvious place for city growth.

The comprehensive plan has conflicting advice for the area. The map
shows two per acre maximum density but the plan calls for fringe areas
developing to urban densities when infrastructure becomes available.

The neighborhood is finally organizing itself and trying to initiate a
planning effort.

OPG is also initiating an urban fringe planning effort.

My sense is that the neighborhood has not been that willing to come to
terms with the fact that growth is coming. The planning processes of the
past have ended up just calling for things to pretty much stay as they
are. I'm hoping that since the bulldozers are in the neighborhood
people will be willing to engage in a planning process that acknowledges
present day realities and needs for growth. Planned growth will be
better than eating up the whole area three acres at a time.

I would like to see that planning process get ahead of the subdivisions.



In public works we considered an extension of the sewer service boundary
out at the Wye. The boundary currently runs along Waldo lane which is
to the west of 93 just past the Wye. There is a property owner adjacent
to the line who wants us to extend the boundary around his piece. A
number of council members expressed concern with expanding the sewer
service to unzoned land even further away from town with no clear plan
as to what was going to happen out there. The motion failed with only
Jack and I think one other person supporting it. This was a bit of a
surprise. I went into the discussion expecting to vote for it but was
swayed by the debate. There was definitely a more conservative attitude
in the room and a sentiment that we want to tighten up our ship on what
we are doing about growth.



Next we had a working session on Hillview Way again. We spent most of
the time talking about the SID deferral program. The discussion moved in
a new direction with a request to change the current proposal where the
large land owners have to pay when they sell or subdivide their
property, to one where the fee would be applied to new units when they
are built. It is all pretty much the same thing but the timing on when
the deferral gets paid is different. The hope was that this will make
it more palatable to the property owners since the payments will be
directly and proportionally tied to development rather than just sale of
the land. We'll see. I think we have a lot more work to do before this
thing is ready to go to a vote.



Thanks for your interest,



Bob Jaffe

Missoula City Council, Ward 3

bjaffe at ci.missoula.mt.us

406-728-1052

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