Planning for the Future, Smart Growth and….Uhh…Carol Minjares, Candidate for HD 97 & Jeff Patterson, Candidate for Missoula BCC

by jhwygirl

The Missoulian has a common-sense editorial in Sunday’s paper, chastising Bonner Milltown Community Council (BMCC) for turning down a $75,000 grant for smart growth the the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Earlier this month, the BMCC withdrew its support of application for the grant – while refusing to take public comment from the 40+ people present, including Director of Missoula Office of Planning & Grants’ Roger Millar. One member, Gary Matson, resigned.

Withdrawal was based on a BMCC subcommittee’s recommendation.

Jeff Patterson, candidate for Missoula County Board of County Commission and member of the BMCC submcommittee, described Roger Millar and the group of 40+ people that attended the meeting as “mob of people” solicited by Matson “who have not been educated on what it is we are pursuing.”

Yeah, if Planning Director Roger Millar hasn’t been edumicated yet, he sure has been now, right Jeff Patterson?

Jeff Patterson, you might recall, was on the short list of Republicans to replace Barbara Evans and has filed for the current county commission race as a Democrat. He’s also an often hypercritical participant in the Milltown Redevelopment Working Group.

Fellow Republican and candidate for HD-97 Carol Minjares jumped on that local republican anti-smart growth bandwagon immediately – calling Millar “disingenuous” and defining city planners as anti-property rights:

It is the passion of the city planners, the ones who restrict future property rights based on flawed models and faulty data.

uh-huh. Nice. Let’s just keep it growth as usual and see where that gets us in traffic and air quality and taxes for basic services. And if there are any perspective pig farmers out there, I highly recommend you propose moving your facilities next to her property and see where she lands on property rights then. If she’s really a hypocrite, she hates planners but lives in a zoned part of the county..

One wonders what point she was trying to make with this post, titled Downtown Planning: Geniuses at Work – because she quickly digresses into criticizing real estate investment downtown – investment is a bad thing? – and bemoaning the number of poorly run condo projects downtown – and poorly run condo associations are the blame of planners?


Gotta love those Missoula Republicans – at least they’re consistent.

  1. I have yet to hear anyone in Missoula on the anti-smart growth side express a coherent position or any actual arguments. The BMCC folks keep repeating how uniformed they are about the nature of smart growth. I attended the council meeting the following Monday to see if any explanation would be given for blocking the grant. Nothing at all, except for coining the term “smarter growth” in response. Well, there are easy ways to get informed, and the dialog would be much more fruitful as a consequence.

    It’s not at all a matter of deciding between private property rights and government regulation. The status quo is certainly just as regulatory as anything smart growth proponents are suggesting. In my opinion, it’s a decision between good design and bad design. It’s conversation over how our physical space could reflect our shared values and be sustainable in future economic conditions.

  2. DriveFastTakeChances

    BMCC could learn a thing or two by observing the Missoula city govt at work.
    First never ever call the public to a meeting unless you have already staked out your “official” position on an issue. This position should be worked out behind closed doors with staff and consultants. Once the position is worked out, hand pick a group of 12-14 citizens to form the citizen advisory group. This way you can have the minimum, but legal public input, while in reality never really notifying the public until after you are way beyond the planning part of the process.
    Have a city staff member facilitate the public input via the citizen advisory group. This little scheme helps guide the hand picked citizens along the city staff’s chosen path. Then–and only after you have public support for the idea (remember this is not the public at large-just the hand picked advisory group), staff is on board-then take it to the open public meeting. This way–anyone who shows up at the “open-public meeting” to share a concern, to protest, or have a different point of view, will look like an obstructionist or a nut-job.

  3. Ayn Rand

    This is a quote. Hmmmmmm

    “Smart Growth” Policies Hurt

    by Ryan Balis

    “In November 2004, Bozeman, Montana residents passed a $10 million taxpayer-funded “land trust” bond in an effort to help halt “sprawl” in the fast-growing but traditionally small college town. County officials use the fund to bait local ranchers into forfeiting development rights on their estates – in effect, creating a green development buffer. In an area awash with open space, this buffer cuts off affordable housing to many residents who now are forced to move to the lower-cost and distant countryside and to commute into town.”

  4. goof houlihan

    Ayn that guy is full of so much bullshit. The now twenty million dollar open space bond issues haven’t affected affordable housing a dime. There’s no cause and effect there.

    Excess government regulation in town, well, now, that IS an issue.

  5. goof houlihan

    There is no “development buffer”. Most of the development rights are linear…along rivers or creeks or in critical habitat, or far from towns where large acreages can be accumulated.

    There’s no “Boulder colorado-like” greenbelt. The land around Bozeman is just too expensive to make sense for the program, and it’s ideal to focus development near the urban areas so it makes no sense to do otherwise.

  6. Ayn Rand

    so goofy your only retort is to demean the author? Good reponse since you disagree with “smart growth”.

  7. goof houlihan

    No, I think my response was to point out the ways the author was clueless.

    Smart growth too many times is simply and excuse for “no growth” and stupid ideas like “no new subdivisions” and “no new annexations” and “road congestion is good”.

    But my thinking that way doesn’t mean that the author you cited isn’t just plain wrong. He is. The open space bond issue really has done well and not caused the consequences he cites.

  8. County officials use the fund to bait local ranchers into forfeiting development rights on their estates – in effect, creating a green development buffer.

    A very clear example of how the author was clueless.

    No one “baits” anyone into a conservation easement. It’s ludicrous to suggest it.

    I’m sick of hearing this kind of right-wing crap. People sign on to conservation easements willingly – they know full well what in the hell they are signing, and if they claim to have been duped, well, then, frankly, they’re just idiots.

    Ever seen a conservation easement? They’re very specific, and not written to “hide” anything. In other words, pretty plain language.

  9. Whoa, I’m late to the party!

    Outside of Patterson’s comments, I’ve never read any kind of critique of Smart Growth in Missoula. It’s all been go-go, ain’t it wonderful, aren’t we smart for wanting Smart Growth. It’s been a very ones-sided conversation to date.

    I am suspicious of all comprehensive plans. What you’re doing is heading off fair dissent long in advance, so your projects can be presented as a pre-approved fait accompli.

  10. Are you confusing comprehensive plans as zoning documents? Comp plans can not be used as regulatory documents.

    Besides that, they’re required per state law.

    I’m more than a little perplexed about your last paragraph.

    Other than that, I understand what you are saying about Smart Growth, but I also know the other side of the reality out there -that very few people participate in the planning processes that occur – and when they do, it is after-the-fact, or in the 11th hour. That’s awfully unfair and unwise, to all.

    The Broadway Road Diet is a classic example…all those businesses that didn’t attend one meeting, yet went on to raise hell and sign petitions and claim they were treated unfairly. Examples like that are a dime-a-dozen here in both the city and the county.

    Well, maybe not the county – they haven’t done much ‘real’ planning, save for the ongoing Seeley Lake thing. The rest of the county stuff is merely ‘reactive’ – approval of subdivision and winging all kinds of issues on a case-by-case, subdivision-by-subdivision basis.

  11. goof houlihan

    jhwygirl, it’s so “right wing”, offering fair value for fair value in a free exchange.

    Which is why I am amazed everytime I read or hear someone from the right argue against it.

    Zoning might be construed as a “taking” of a rancher or farmer’s land value, and “creating a class of serfs who must permanently farm the land they own”. A modern feudal system, if you will. But the open space bond money is a voluntary free exchange, the essence of capitalism.

    And it has had none of the unintended consequences the author claimed.

    I’m very proud of the two Gallatin County open space bond issues.

  12. goof houlihan

    BTW, that Broadway road diet sucks. It takes more to do a road diet successfully than just repainting the lines on the road. Where are the pedestrian refuge zones, bulbouts, and restricted or closed accesses?

    I’m just sayin, doin it badly really doesn’t help the cause.

  13. I took it to mean – like I’ve even heard republican legislatures say in natural resource committee meetings – that conservation easements are ‘tools’ that ‘take advantage’ (or the “taking development rights”) that Ayn was referring.

    And if I understand your open bond program, Gallatin is buying a lot of conservation easements with that $. Is that right?

    I would agree – the Broadway Road Diet could be better – but Carol and a whole bunch of other critics prefer a 4 lane superhighway v something that is pedestrian and small business friendly.

    I agree with everything you said – plus, I want to see a green strip in the center – with irrigation to keep real plants, instead of invasive weeds, alive.

    Until some decent changes are made on W. Broadway – and there is a hell of a lot of potential there, given a good bit of the river is still visible – W. Broadway is going to remain a dumpish looking dead part of town – with cars zooming by the few businesses that struggle out there.

    Putting a 4 lane highway isn’t going to help them, but there are plenty of planning critics that thing differently about that.

  14. goof houlihan

    I thought you’d agree. Just wanted to reinforce that I’m not against “complete streets”, just the idea that we should intentionally increase congestion in an attempt to force that single mother out of her car and increase her commute time to the day care and the job at the university to an hour and a half. A person driving Broadway might think…that was the purpose. heh heh

    Yes, the bond money is getting spent on huge tracts of critical lands and agricultural land, even some recreational access, and of course, the county’s 100 acre park.

  15. Speaking of moms and commutes, a lot of parents at my kids’ school commute by bike, but that’s not really an option for me, because Russell St lies between me and the school.

    Otherwise, this is the commute.

    (And let’s not hear the “time” argument; if you live in town, the difference between biking and driving is minimal. In some cases, without the traffic, lights, and parking, biking is quicker.)

    The last thing we need is 4-lane superhighways carving up the city into closed neighborhoods accessible only by car. That’s go to increase congestion, too.

    Do smaller, bike friendly streets lead to less congestion? Esp. in the days of $4 (and climbing) gas?

    That’s probably a better question for Nairn.

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