[MissoulaGov] Committee update 3-29-11

Bob Jaffe BJaffe at ci.missoula.mt.us
Wed Mar 30 23:34:15 MDT 2011

This morning we started with sidewalks and sewers. A deal has been worked out with property owners to get sidewalks in a couple of more chunks of Brooks street. We are getting sidewalks on the block with the Muffler Bandit/pot shop/auto lot. We will also get them on the block with the Quiznos. The deal involves vacating unneeded right of way in trade for the sidewalk easements.
We also discussed a proposal to put in sidewalks on a few sections along east Broadway heading out to East Missoula and a section on Latimer street. The Latimer property owner came in to protest. It is a large commercial lot. She said that when they developed it almost 20 years ago the county planning office made them put in a fence and trees and other landscaping. They spent $20,000. Now we are coming in and telling them they have to spend $20,000 again to tear it out and put in sidewalks.
Lyn and other members were concerned that maybe there was some way to make this more reasonable. Doug from Engineering explained that this is exactly what they did by allowing a curbside sidewalk that would not interfere with the fence and trees and only have minimal impact on the established landscaping. The bottom line is that when you develop a commercial property you are required to put in landscaping and sidewalk. It’s not either or.

MUD, or Missoula Urban Demonstration is looking to build a new building for their tool library next to Home Resource. This promises to be a great project. But as part of their demonstration thing they want to do it without water or sewer. The folks at Engineering and Health, to put it mildly, are concerned. There are some conflicts between local engineering codes and state building codes that need to be sorted out. I’m in favor of allowing for some kind of experimental demonstration project but feel strongly that the building should be plumbed for traditional hookups. If things don’t work out we don’t want to force them to excavate and tear up their walls for plumbing. We will continue to discuss this in future weeks.

We had an interesting presentation in Conservation regarding a survey that was done to figure out what people in the city and county think about our park facilities. The primary message was that people really like trails. The other thing I couldn’t help notice is that 80% of people in the city said they would be willing to pay $10-$19 more per year for maintenance of our park facilities. This survey was done after the institution of the park maintenance district. Granted, that question was asked in the context of a bunch of other questions about all the stuff they love about parks. They may have gotten a different percentage if it was asked along with a bunch of questions about school budgets, fire stations and police stations. But 80% is a big number.

In PAZ we made a minor zoning change to allow for a Buffalo Wild Wings in the Home Depot parking lot. We also looked at our first major subdivision in recent memory. This is a six lot project on the north side of 39th just west of Paxson. The project has a few road design challenges but in general is not too controversial. No neighbors came to the meeting.

In COW we took a look at the ward boundaries. Based on US Supreme Court decisions we are tasked with keeping the wards within 5% of each other. Our city attorney tells us it should be 3%. So now that we have the census numbers we are looking at what adjustments need to be made. Last time we worked off the estimates from Dave Dewing, the map guy at OPG. He would make calculations based off prior census numbers and building permit data. It turns out that in ward 2 he was only off by something like 5 people from the actual census. There are a few different ways we can shuffle the map to get it to work. We set a public hearing for later in April.

We were originally planning to hear the initial presentation of the Mayor’s budget this afternoon but postponed that meeting so a number of us could go to Marty Baker’s memorial service. Marty was married to Lori Davidson, the directory of our housing authority. Marty and I were really just acquaintances from various fund raisers over the last few years but based on the eulogy and Mike Barton’s ‘eulogy rebuttal” he sounded like quite the character. I wish I had made the opportunity to know him better. When I go to these things, especially for an extreme personality like Marty who lived life to its fullest, I'm reminded of how short our time is and how important it is to make the most of it.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Lori. I hope she is well during what must be a difficult time.

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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