Archive for September 25th, 2007

by jhwygirl

Ward 2 incumbent Don Nicholson, towards the end of yesterday’s council meeting, asked all council members to take a good look at the work that Ward 3’s Bob Jaffe has done on amending the deferral resolution for the proposed Hillview SID.

Jaffe has proposed changes that are aimed at reducing the possibility of the SID fees creating a situation where larger undeveloped tracts would succumb to the pressure of development.

Some owners of larger undeveloped tracts – the Craigheads come to mind – said that they would be faced with a choice of either paying what they felt were extraordinary fees or selling the property (resulting in likely development.)

Jaffe’s proposed changes include the addition of common area lots 10 acres or more in size to the criteria for eligibility.

It eliminates the requirement of the payment of the deferral when the buyer accepts the deferral upon signature. Previously, the deferral was not transferrable – if a property owner had obtained a deferral, upon sale payment was due.

It also allows for reconstruction of an exisiting structure for owners that have a deferral. So in the event of a fire, for example, the home could be reconstructed without having to pay the SID.

Further, Jaffee’s proposal also has an accommodation for minor changes to property boundaries, keeping, again, the deferral intact.

Bob Jaffe has been a good problem-solver on council – his questions exhibit his desire to understand the issues.

Don Nicholson has shown himself, also, on occasion willing to compromise and seek solutions rather than to “just say no” to every possible proposal. Yesterday’s comments illustrate that.

I say good for both of them. Missoula needs more of exactly this type of ‘get ‘er done’ attitutude.

by jhwygirl

The City is proposing changes to its impact fees by adding a transportation impact fee and reducing other ones. The parks impact fee, for example, is proposed to be cut by 55%.

The newly proposed transportation impact fee, on the other hand, is half of what the economic consultants determined the rate should be.

Half. So that half that isn’t getting paid for by development will be paid for by you.

Ward 1 candidate Jason Weiner pointed this out to council Monday night, telling council that government shouldn’t be in the business of subsidizing development.

Kudos to Jason Weiner.

Meanwhile, Chamber of Commerce representative Gary Bakke called for Council to do a study on the impact that the fees will have upon business.

Maybe the Chamber should do its own study? It seems that they not only want the taxpayers to subsidize businesses impact on the transportation infrastructure, but they want the taxpayers to subsidize a study to determine the impacts of the impact fee on them. Lovely.

And besides that, aren’t impact fees instituted to alleviate the impact that the fee payer (in this case business) has on the assigned infrastructure (in this case transportation)? Hell – if that’s the case, I want the City to do a study on the impact the impact fee is going to have on my bank account.

Comparatively speaking, the Missoula’s proposed fees are lower than most other communities in the ‘hood. For example – a 20,000 square foot office buidling’s impact fees here would be $43,600, whereas that same building’s fee in Bozeman would be $82,562 – or in Belgrade $63,482.

In another example, a commercial building of 20,000 square feet, Missoula’s fee would be $79,160, while in Bozeman the fee is $138,727 and in Belegrade its $163,808.

A single-family 1,700 square foot home would pay a fee of $3,038, where in Bozeman it would be $7,160. In Billings the fee $3,222. The current impact fee in Missoula for a 1,700 square foot home is $2,226.

I spent some time in Bozeman back in July. New construction and business itself seemed to be boomin’ to me. I saw plenty of new subdivision crops popping up from Belgrade on through to Bozeman (admittedly, I didn’t go beyond, having turned south – so I ponder what lied to the east)….and town was filled with sparkling new businesses and commercial structures-in-process.

And if my memory serves me correctly, the roads were in pretty darn good shape as I drove through the old neighborhood.

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