[MissoulaGov] Committee Update 3-2-11

Tim Skufca tmskufca at gmail.com
Thu Mar 3 07:18:02 MST 2011


Bob, et al:
The conflict on Catlin is difficult only because there is a well organized
neighborhood voice opposed, vs. much to support upzoning. I was certainly in
the minority in my support for OPG's recommendation (as a Planning Board
member).

I judge the issues put before us on the Planning Board by reviewing the
project in light of the Ten Principals to Smart Growth. Every single
Principal was invoked here:

1. Create a range of housing opportunities and choices
2. Create walkable neighborhoods
3. Encourage community and stakeholder collaboration
4. Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of
place
5. Make development decisions predictable, fair and cost effective
6. Mix land uses
7. Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty and critical
environmental areas
8. Provide a variety of transportation choices
9. Strengthen and direct development towards existing communities
10. Take advantage of compact building design

I recently applied for an opening at Mountain Line and as I left the
building I realized that if I got the job I would not be able to use the bus
service to get to work because of the hours of operation. It's with DENSITY
that will allow extended hours of service. It's with DENSITY that the
pressure upon the farmlands on the periphery can be reduced , it's with
DENSITY that enables a neighborhood to be viable, livable, and walkable.
DENSITY is how an urban environment can build efficiently, with energy
consciousness.
One of the biggest concerns from the neighbors was based on how
difficult parking/traffic is already, mostly due to Sussex school events. It
is a bad precedence to allow the automobile to dictate our neighborhoods. We
should be wise enough to plan beyond the automobile in our urban core. Which
brings me to comment on Russel St: it is better to delay than to proceed
incorrectly. This corridor will have a tremendous affect on the livability
of the neighborgood. Let's do it right.

Tim Skufca





On Wed, Mar 2, 2011 at 9:43 PM, Bob Jaffe <BJaffe at ci.missoula.mt.us> wrote:


> Greetings,

>

>

>

> The main item for me today was the rezone request for 217 Catlin Street.

> http://www.ci.missoula.mt.us/DocumentView.aspx?DID=5591 This is the

> property across the street from the housing authority project on Catlin

> behind the Good Food Store. The parcel runs the full width of the block

> between Catlin and Garfield. The current zoning allows for 16 units per acre

> at a height of 35 feet. The developer is requesting to rezone the property

> to 43 units per acre at 45 feet. It is a 2+ acre parcel that could yield

> about 94 units at the proposed density. The developer’s stated intention is

> to build a complex of multi-family buildings with a total of 72 one bedroom

> units.

>

>

>

> As one may expect, the neighbors to the project are unhappy. They say that

> they welcome development of the parcel, but not at two or three times the

> currently allowed zoning. Unhappy is probably an understatement. Some of

> them are passionately displeased.

>

>

>

> This is the first controversial development proposal we have seen in quite

> some time. Possibly it’s a good omen for the economy.

>

>

>

> The issues are that we have various growth policies and transportation

> plans and visions for the future that all promote the virtues of infill and

> compact development near the urban core in proximity to services. But where

> is the limit? A few years ago we approved the UFDA plan (Urban Fringe

> Development A??). This document built off the premise that the historical

> growth in Missoula has been about 2% per year. So if we project out the next

> 20 years or so we figure we need so many additional units to be constructed.

> Then through some semi-scientific process figure out how many of those units

> should be absorbed in each section of town. Then we can look at the zoned

> potential of parcels that currently have an assessed land value that exceeds

> the assessed improvements value. This represents readily developable land.

>

>

>

> In this particular section, Russell to Reserve, the zoned potential of

> developable land can hold twice the number of units that we anticipate

> needing. So one may question why we would even consider allowing such a

> dramatic upzone when the current zoning supports adequate development for

> our long term growth plans.

> What we are being told is that even though the zoning density supports our

> growth plans, it does not support the cost of development. The developer’s

> representatives, Jamie Hoffman and Ken Jenkins, told us that you can not

> build at 16 units per acre and make money. Jamie said that of the nearly 30

> multi-family projects he has been involved in over the years only a few have

> been less than 20 units/acre. Generally they get built in commercial zones

> not encumbered by density limits.

>

>

>

> If this is indeed the case, then we have a bit of a problem. I know we have

> gone over this before but it has been a while. It would be nice if someone

> in the development community could do a little presentation on the economics

> of real estate development. Here are my wild ass guesses on this project:

> $400,000 for the land. I would hope there is some economy of scale when

> building something like this so lets say $90 per foot. 72 one bedroom units.

> Let’s guess 500 feet each. That comes to $3,640,000. Round it up to $4

> million with parking, landscaping, and whatever else may be involved.

>

>

>

> Then you figure brand new one bedroom units will rent for something like

> $600. So that works out to $518,400 per year in income at full occupancy.

> Take out $75,000 in management and maintenance and you get $443,400 in

> income per year. Does that pencil for a $4,000,000 investment? I’m not sure.

>

>

> When a developer looks at a project and says that doesn’t pencil, they must

> be using some rough numbers like I just did. It seems like this is the sort

> of thing we should be privy to as policy makers. From what we are being

> told, our policy is based on a reality that no longer exists in this

> community. I think we need to get to the bottom of this.

>

>

>

> The public hearing on the rezone will be Monday night.

>

>

>

> In other news, we heard an update from the fire department on all that they

> do. They have concerns about loss of grant money but all is well. We also

> approved a project to improve the pedestrian crossings into the University

> and had a lengthy discussion about proposals from the Bike Pedestrian board.

> The most actionable amongst them a request to form a subcommittee to develop

> options for how we will finance sidewalk projects in the future.

>

>

>

> Thanks for your interest,

>

>

> Bob Jaffe

> Missoula City Council Ward 3

> 1225 South 2nd West

> Missoula, MT 59801

> (406) 880-2052

>

>

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