[MissoulaGov] Committee update 10-24-07

Paul Sopko psopko at peoplepc.com
Thu Oct 25 08:52:11 MDT 2007


During the discussion there were some comments about encouraging sprawl. Jon Wilkins said something to the effect that we shouldn't be complaining about sprawl because those of us that have supported infill have done more to create sprawl than anything else that has happened. This infill has caused people to flee the neighborhoods and build in the outskirts of town. Personally I think this argument is bunk. But I have heard it repeated a lot. Does anyone know if there is any data that supports or refutes this position?



How bout' school enrollment numbers? School enrollment has been steadily declining since the 1990's in the urban core while enrollments at schools in Frenchtown, Florence, Lolo & Hellgate Elementary have been steadily increasing. Of course, tying this to infill is a stretch so I'd define it as anecdotal evidence.



I think there is more anecdotal evidence to support Mr. Wilkins claim (infill in city = higher costs = more expensive = sprawl, infill = high density = people sprawl to get more space) but hard data is difficult to come by since the term "sprawl" is thrown around pretty loosely. Bob, I'm interested why you think Wilkins argument is nonsense. I think both sides of this debate make good cases in their favor.





Paul Sopko



----- Original Message -----
From: Bob Jaffe
To: missoulagov at cmslists.com
Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2007 9:53 PM
Subject: [MissoulaGov] Committee update 10-24-07


Greetings,

This morning we started out with conservation. We had a presentation regarding the pools. Here are a few tidbits. The excavation is complete for the new 50 meter pool. So no more risk of surprises underground. All is proceeding as planned.

Combined attendance at Spartan and McCormick pools in 2003 was 33,000.

Combined attendance for Currents and Splash in 07 are 170,000.

'06 was the pool operators dream. We didn't open the pool until June 21. So the contractor was still paying utilities during the first few weeks of the season when the weather isn't so good anyway. Then we had perfect outdoor pool weather all summer.

High temp 101

Days over 90:

June: 3

July: 19

Aug: 8

Sept: 2



Then in 07 it got even hotter.

High temp 107

Days over 90:

June: 18

July: 30

Aug: 14

Num days over 100 = 10



It turns out that when it gets over 99 degrees people don't like to hang out at an outdoor pool anymore. Especially when it is smoky. But fortunately we had Currents to hedge our bets because people did go to the indoor pool on the smoky days.



The swim lessons are extremely popular. The trend these days is to start teaching kids to swim much earlier. People call for lessons for their two year old children. The facility is also being rented after closing by the scuba and kayak groups. Soon pool time will be as valuable as ice time.



We also discussed allocation of open space bond money for the section of the Milwaukee trail between Russell and Reserve. Earlier in the year we contracted with WGM to research and contact land owners regarding easements for the trail. Phase two is to do appraisals and actually make deals. Then we will have to actually make the purchases. We are hoping it can be done for around $150,000.



In A&F we just renewed our contract with Allegiance to manage our health plan.



In Public Works we had a couple of unscheduled presentations. Steve Earl from Mountain Line told us about their new service to the airport. You can get out there 11 times a day. They also made a deal for long term parking at the parking garage downtown that is a better deal than what the airport offers.

We also heard about the status of the Arthur/5th/6th project. The Engineering department in conjunction with the university has drafted up a new proposal that is similar to the other new proposal the university was floating last winter. The ball is in MDT's court. They need to do engineering to see if it is feasible. If so there will be another public process to get feedback.

We also discussed the expansion of the wastewater treatment plant at the Wye again. The project looks like it may be making a comeback this time. In committee last week the council was very cold to the idea of expanding the service area to accommodate the development. This is on the corner of Waldo lane and Highway 93. It is just down the hill from the Wye going towards Evero. There is a ten acre lot where they want to do some kind of commercial development like a grocery store. The ground water out there is contaminated with phosphates from peoples septic systems. It is at the level on this site where they will not be able to develop without sewer. The sewer main will run down the street adjacent to the property.

They say that some day (5+ years) there will be a light at Waldo lane making the connection with the highway safer. As far as other essential services like water, fire, and police. who knows.

It passed in committee this time. I'm not really sure why we voted on it since we voted on it last week. It got sent back to committee on Monday night but I don't think that triggers a re-vote without a motion to reconsider.



During the discussion there were some comments about encouraging sprawl. Jon Wilkins said something to the effect that we shouldn't be complaining about sprawl because those of us that have supported infill have done more to create sprawl than anything else that has happened. This infill has caused people to flee the neighborhoods and build in the outskirts of town. Personally I think this argument is bunk. But I have heard it repeated a lot. Does anyone know if there is any data that supports or refutes this position?



Thanks for your interest,



Bob Jaffe

Missoula City Council, Ward 3

bjaffe at ci.missoula.mt.us

406-728-1052



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