[MissoulaGov] Committee Update 10-17-07

Robert Struckman robert at newwest.net
Thu Oct 18 11:14:53 MDT 2007

Hi Bob,

I agree with Jim. Bob, please don't allow enmity over partisan
squabbles sully this excellent forum. And I know you don't think
these emails are private. Any public emails - ANY - are public, not
private, including all the back-and-forth on this forum. That is as
it should be. Your committee updates are a valuable service to the
Missoula community. I, for one, read them avidly and appreciate for
providing the grist for these informative and thoughtful online
discussions. You're a stand-up guy for delivering your frank
assessments of the goings-on. So... thanks. Keep it up. Don't hold back.

All the best,
Bob Struckman

On Oct 18, 2007, at 10:49 AM, Jim McGrath wrote:

> 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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Robert Struckman
(406) 829-1725
robert at newwest.net

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