Archive for June 22nd, 2009

by jhwygirl

Aww, what the hay, right? I’ll go live here when they start public comment. I expect this will be a long meeting, and probably with little council discussion with this meeting with regards to the zoning rewrite (unless they’re all willing to go home after midnight – if they’re luck!). That means most of this will be the public comment.

I’ll update as they get to it….

Roger Millar, Director of Planning & Grants, begins with a “I’ve been advised to be short and then duck,” and a powerpoint. I’m sure that’ll be available for a link…so I’m gonna save my energy.

Mayor Engen offers some information and advice on public comment. Lots of people. Gonna take a while. Hopefully he polls those in support and those not – those not wishing to, per se, speak…and clear that room out a little. I’m sure there’s scores in there that would want to just raise their hands “yea” or “nay” and head on out for dinner….

Public comment opens:
Ross Best – comments on state law and how it applies to the ordinance. Best notes that the ordinance needs to be adopted twice, per state law. It needs to be the exact same document. Can’t be changed between the first preliminary adoption and the final adoption.
Don Simmons – He and his wife in support. “What is going on is good.”
Nancy Wilson – representing ASUM Transportation. ASUM T supports the ordinance. Policy changes support more transit-oriented development and a walkable community. We can’t afford more roads and infrastructure. We need to be as efficient as possible.
Alex Taft – lives in University district. Supports new code.
Olivia Reutia – Director of ASUM off-campus renter center. Supports the ordinance. Believes that the ordinance creates baseline solutions that work for renters, students and homeowners.
Brent Campbell – President of WGM. Urges support of new ordinance. Existing ordinance is broken. New one is long overdue. Will make business environment more predictable with a better code. He hears constantly peoples concerns about weighing through the quagmire that is our zoning code. He makes money doing that for clients, but that isn’t right.
Emily May – VP of the Associated Students of the University of Montana. There to support the changes. Students do lots of good things for Missoula. Wants to encourage the city to do something that brings more affordable housing.
Jay Krielick – Board President of FireSafe Montana. Working to form a FireSafe Council. Urges the council to support the Natural Resource/Wildland Fire portion of the ordinance. Fire threat is real, and education and support is needed. Integrating social issues into resource management needs to be done to save lives and protect private property rights.
Janet Scott – Lives on S 4th St. West. City needs more smaller houses on smaller lots. Many single and childless people. Small houses use less energy and provide affordable housing. Can be very attractive. We also need more ADU’s. They help meet the demand for affordable housing – both for renters and owners. It would help me, for example, stay in my home. Helps prevent those “bad renters.” The regs are written well. Less traffic and air pollution. Less cost for services. Easier use of public transportation.
Lori Davidson – Missoula Housing Authority. Access to affordable housing is a community-wide responsibility. Stable affordable housing is the basis for a stable community. Speaking on behalf of renters. Lots of ’em out there. Most of them dream of ownership. Housing prices are still high, even in the economic downturn. Still an unrealistic dream. Need to start thinking differently. Need to welcome all kinds of homes. We’re spoiled in the west to think that we can go out forever – that there will be land forever. Need to focus our efforts on the future. Zoning rewrite gives us the opportunity to address these issues. It doesn’t have everything I wanted. I live in the B zone – and I call that the perfect zone. ADUs are common place. It’s a healthy mix of housing options. I’m willing to compromise because doing nothing is not an option.
Jan Holm – Was on advisory group that worked on this. Some of the things she recommended are in this document. Her view is different than that which has been heard. Wants to talk about ADUs. These are controversial. Many people fear things: neighborhood council meetings – planning board meetings. People are concerned about ADUs becoming a replacement for PNCs. Alley houses. More rentals. No limit to number of occupants. No owner-occupied stipulation. Have been put only in single-family neighborhoods. People are overwhelmingly against ADUs and asks that they be removed from the table for 2 years.
Lane Cottington – Board member of SAVE. Here to comment on sign portion of ordinance. Has 6 suggestions – all illuminated signs be turned off at night. Small loophole about window signs about measurement. Section on variances needs to be strengthened and clarified. Mini billboards should be banned. Billboard section is confusing and poorly written. Should make it clear that they are banned. Electronic signs – dynamic displays – this new tech has been creeping in – in proposed ordinance, flashing and blinking is prohibited, except for dynamic displays. Doesn’t make sense. Enforcement is going to grow to be a nightmare. Ban new electronic signs and restrict current ones to static images. There’s a message about a 8-second message. Proposes a 60-second static image. Sign ordinance ensures a level playing field.
Fern Hart Lives up the Rattlesnake. We need to appreciate the planning board. This is long hard uninteresting work (draws laughter). We might have some mistakes in this, and I’ve made mistakes, and they will be corrected. This is an excellent piece of work. I support this.
Tim Scheuwieleller – doesn’t know his zone. Supports new ordinance and clarifying the way for us to plan. Understands the concern and is happy about the platform of the new ordinance that is easy to use and understand where we are going and how we are going to plan.
Jim Parker – RLD4 zone. Looks forward to becoming a RT10. Supports new ordinance. Outreach and public investment has been magnificent. Credits OPG. Citizens have been made aware of the process. Can’t please everyone but everyone has had a chance to be pleased. Approachable document and forward thinking. Builds in flexibility and allows for predictability. Speaks to affordability and environment. Asks that wind energy options be put back into the document. Design standards are overdue. Need to put back in ADUs. Used to be a right. Seniors can stay in their homes. Or they can live closer to their own families in their back yards. Pedestrian overlays are good. Appreciates the clustering and conservations portions. Will protect water and air quality.
Dick Barrett – HD93 Appearing as board member for SAVE. Wants to address one aspect of controlling signs. For 39 years was an professor of economics at UM. Understands concerns that restricting signs discourages business – at the same time, he suggests looking at other communities around the U.S. that have banned electronic signs and you will not see a negative effect on the business community. The reason is that we are playing a zero-sum game. There’s a certain amount of business that’s going to be done – but if a sign gets someone new business it’s simply because it’s taking business away from another. We’re just passing the pie around – a zero-sum game. In pure self-defense, the people that don’t have an electronic sign are going to have to get one and the rest of us are going to have to live with it. It is a cost to the local economy as a result of this escalation.
Heather McMillan – Here to support and sat on citizen advisory committee. While not all of the tools she wanted to see are included, she supports it.
Linda Frey – Ordinance violates the most basic tenant. Imposed by social engineering. We’ve asked the wrong questions. Kept from public at large. Not driven by beautifying the city, nor of safeguarding property values. All about increasing density. Admittedly there are problems with the current. We have given too many exemptions. Has there been adequate public input. The presentations were misleating, and orwellian overtoned. Most council didn’t attend…”and on other occasions some listened to the public with the same air as that of a psychiatric nurse tolerating a rambunctious patient.” Says language is confusing. Doesn’t like overlay. Always thought carte blanche was always interesting when given to a women – but not to a city. This is a rezoning. Beware the law of unintended consequences. Will expedite urban sprawl. Smart growth is anything but. “It violates the tacit agreement between those who bought in this area and expected the neighborhood to look somewhat as it did. Many who chose to live in Missoula do NOT want to reach out and touch someone, except, as the Mayor knows, via cell phones. If this passes, goodbye Garden City, for the gardens will be lost.” We will cry “foul” as well as f-o-w-l, for all the chickens will be packing up. Let everyone vote on it.
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