Live Blogging City Council – Zoning Rewrite

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.

Kieth Lousein – Interesting to hear the part on the sign ordinance. Most of it has gone down the tubes. We’re still looking at billboards. PLEASE consider responding to requests to ban electronic signs – scintillating signs. PLEASE get rid of those things. The old code needs to be overhauled. Applauds Roger Millar and staff. Appreciates what everyone has been up against. When hearings first opened on this ordinance, most objections came from ADUs. Long lines throughout the long public process. Get rid of ADU part.
Michael Mayor -Lives in university district. Concerned about ADUs. Many objections have been largely ignored. This is a rezoning and will lead to crowding. Fundamentally changes the neighborhoods. Cars cram the alley. No provisions have been made. Time to deal with uncertainty is now, not later. Ten years ago the definition of a family was changed because it conflicted with the state constitution. At that time we were’ promised residents of the university district that there would be new regulations within one year. Its now 10 years. We’re still waiting.
Harold Holm – Lives in Rattlesnake. Been working at this a long time. Old document had lots of inconsistencies. Wasn’t done right in the first place. Things have to be resolved. A lot of the public participation has been thwarted because of the long meetings. Pretty soon many people didn’t show up. Wants to see the hillside standards improved. Didn’t get ’em with the hillside standards. We can do better than that. Biggest concerns is conservation development. PNCs are gone. Glad. Improvement. Don’t want to replace it with something that looks like that. Are we really going to slow down sprawl? ADU is the biggest issue. Doesn’t provide predictability. Only in single-family areas. These things are exempt from your own definition. No owner occupancy required. Could end up with two rentals, improving someone’s income flow, I guess. What happens when an area becomes totally undaunted with rentals? Privacy is an issue. Do people in single-family areas want to see a bunch of rentals? May devalue property. Should be put on hold like his wife suggested. Closes with “By and large, our present problem is one of attitudes and implements. We are remodeling the Al Hamra with a steam shovel and we are proud of our yardage. We shall hardly relinquish the shovel, which, after all, has many good points. We are in need of gentler and more objective criteria for its successful use.”
Wendy Nitamen – Lives near Bonner Park. Probably B zone. Wanted to say thanks for the good work that has been done..and reminds me why I love to live here. Here as SAVE person – also worked for a nonprofit to preserve open space. This community is well-known for the energy put into protecting the visual environment….but the visual makeup is equally significant role in who we are. Please consider the 6 revisions – especially the electronic signs. We aren’t Vegas. There’s direct flights – it only takes a couple of hours. Let’s make the right decision now that serves the whole community rather than just a few. Will be very hard to take back dynamic displays. It’s all about the choices we make today.
Judy Smith – Lives in B zone, alley house, built in ’30’s. Some folks on advisory issues were not willing to let past issues stay past. Plenty don’t want this to go forward because they couldn’t get what they wanted. I didn’t get what I wanted either, but I’m a firm believer that we need to get something done. Do need to build consensus, identify common values. Concerned that rewrite doesn’t address the high cost of housing. Wanted specific list of how many affordable homes would be built as a part of this rewrite. Most interesting tools were taken out: zero lot line and ADUs by right. ADUs should be with us. New ordinance is easier to use. Comprehensive. Has pedestrian overlays. Goes to agricultural land. Parking can be shared. Wanted an affordable housing overlay and has every intention to come back and ask for it. “The future together has to be shared values.”
Patty Kent – Director of Housing and Development for Western Montana Health Center. Have been working on affordable housing for the last 15 years. About the ordinance: Just Do It. About ADUs – is renting and ADU in Bozeman because of her job. These work. Promotes affordability. For renter and the homeowner. Urges support. Northside and Westside neighborhoods asked for them.
Paul Hubbert – representing Food and Agricultural Coalition. Wants to point attention to definition of agriculture is now consistent with subdivision regs. Important. Encouraging to feel a comprehensive vision.
Denver HendersonLives in Ward 5. Encourages board to pass ordinance. Urges council to consider addressing absentee landlords. No competition in the market. No incentive for landlords to keep property up to code.
Jeff Couch – Wants to talk about northside westide neighborhood. ADUs Lots have been said. Title 20 is right on the money. Couple of things I work towards: transportation and equality. New board member of Bike Walk Alliance. Other is affordable housing. Believes ordinance helps us with both of these ideas. Size and scope is amazing. Can’t remember the last time a citizen had this much of an ability to comment in public. Laval did great job of getting news out.
Ellie Boldman Hill – There for historic east side neighborhoods. Is an attorney. Invested in historic property downtown. Realizes that the current zoning code is broken and doesn’t make sense. Zero protection for historic neighborhoods. Has worked with UM’s Land Use Clinic to develop standards and is pleased that Title 20 is consistent with those recommendations. I work for Poverello. No body knows better how important a thorough public process is – and knows that no matter how much public process, some people would like to see Poverello in Frenchtown. Appreciates the work that OPG did to solicit public opinion. Please adopt ordinance.
Mike Fellows – Missoula Libertarian. Believes in property owners. Most people haven’t read them. Not too happy the city will micromanage the number of trees a citizen will have. Marxist type of regiment. Why should I have to go down to city hall for every improvement. Everything is more expensive here because of zoning. Eagle Hardware didn’t come here because of zoning.
John Torma Urges support for updated regulations. Worked for 5 years trying to administer these regs. Knows firsthand that long overdue. Addresses ADUs – owner occupancy is not a requirement. Always thought that was an elemental necessity. If this has been removed, then I object. I think owner occupied is a community good. Owner occupied is critical to success. Already part of our urban fabric. I live university neighborhood – they’re all over the place and if you look at property values, they’re not a problem. Will remove the non-conforming status that they now suffer. Increasingly difficult for young families to own their own homes. Aging populations deserve a large range of housing options. Staying in homes is the most preferable option. Seniors can stay in their homes longer. Important to understand the relationship between housing density and transportation. ADUs bring about a modest increase in density. Urges council to adopt appropriate design standards and allow them to be approved administratively.
Candy Matthews-Jenkins Moved here in 1971. When we drove in and saw the city line I saw trees. And more trees. And the UM buildings. And now if I drive down Broadway, I see a 3 story building blotting out the valley. I see a huge bank building blotting out the valley. I don’t see trees anymore. And that’s what will happen if this ordinance is approved. Are we catering to a fluctuating population or are we catering to people that move here and raise families. Montana is my choice. Missoula is my choice. I can’t keep a clean home because the traffic in my alley. No such thing as affordable housing. There are good jobs to buy housing. What you are creating here is an inner city. A Montana slum. I’m really sorry to see this happen. We are making way for people that are coming to take advantage of our affordable housing. This is going to destroy Missoula. When we hold the public hearing, the public speaks first – not the departments, not the nonprofits. When I ran for Mayor, the salary was $50,000. I said I wasn’t going to take that money. People don’t need allocades for doing their jobs.
Sarah Busey Lives up Rattlesnake. Member of SAVE. Agrees with all the things that have been said about the sign ordinance. Thoroughly enjoyed Tuscon with it’s lack of signs. As a former member of the BOA. There is a recommendation to delete authority to that board regarding signs, to strike it. I support this. State law requires hardship. Your language is saying “unreasonable.”
Linda Smith Lives in B district. Found document amazingly comprehensive. Read ADU section and feels benefits far outweigh negatives. There was interest and support at planning board. Should be more readily available and not with further restrictions of overlay. Wind energy needs to be put back. Move forward.
Cynthia Wilkin Lives on westside. Recent homeowner. Wanted to support support. Likes ADUs – reflects values of committee. First time at city council meeting.
John WolvertonFranklin to Fort Ward 6. C zone, but across the fence, and pet neighbor’s dog, it’s B. Interesting situation there on Caitlin (Engen – Don’t tell the dog.) Very public and open process. Two items. Supports recommendations of SAVE regarding sign ordinance. Other is ADUs. Should be by right. I wouldn’t of qualified for my mortgage without the ADu that came with it. There are 3 more nearby. Need to use whatever tools we have to take advantage of existing infrastructure.
Ryan Morton Missoula Building Industry Association. Learned that developers are not the roots of all evil, but apparently UM students are. Last week our board voted unanimously to support this ordinance. Amazed him. They were wiling to compromise on many issues. Been to most meetings. When it comes down to it, we’re the most affected, and we wanted to hear from everyone. Would like to continue to work with neighborhoods. Hillside height needs to continue with grade. Two unit townhomes and duplexes – basically the same building, but one has a lot line and one doesn’t. Strike standards for two unit townhomes. Affordable housing is a very real issue for me. Students shouldn’t be demonized. Has been working constantly to open a dialogue, and the silence is noticeable. There’s fear, and zoning is not a nuclear bomb, it’s not going to destroy us and it’s not going to make us a slum.
Matt Singer As someone who lives in a small house on a small lot…it reflects my values. Doesn’t need to vote on this – can take it with my chance to vote on YOU. If ratified by voters it’ll be tougher to correct mistakes.
Ruth Passes around recommendations. Missoula Organization of Realtors supports zoning rewrite. Old ordinance doesn’t work, doesn’t take community forward. Much more about Title 20 that we like.
Will Snodgrass In order to understand where zoning is going, only need to look at what the legislature gutted. Old legislation said we were supposed to lessen congestion in the street. Don’t have to provide adequate light and air. “New language reads like something from a third world prison.”
Joe Parchin Town Pump. Here to urge council to take recommendations of board on message signs. Wants council to help him keep his business healthy. Kalispell has 13% unemployment. Most cost-effective form of marketing. Newspapers cost too much. Everyone TiVos, so can’t use that. Important to grab a share of market. Don’t believe they are a distraction. Are an ATTRACTION to the business. Asking council to listen to facts. Message centers are not hazard. Bring in business. Not looking at putting them everywhere. Everythings says they’ll be on busy streets.
Lee Clemens Former BOA member. Attended many of the meetings. Notices hearing is titled “repeal” 19 and adopt Title 20. 19 does protect the city, and it hasn’t been bastardized with various zoning morphes along the way. They did introduce PNCs and then got rid of ’em, but now replaced by R3. During the numerous hearings they eventually dwindled down to maybe 12 people. Many who spoke questioning title 20 were basically shuttled off to the side. By the time it was over, PAZ had a presentation before the last planning board meeting. Careful consideration was not taken. All we dealt with the focus areas – the problems We didn’t deal with everything. Whole lot of things missing. Open space. Historic downtown. Never even brought before the planning board. Need to go through the issues. The low issues. No impact evaluation done. If you are living up the Rattlesnake, what are the impacts if there is a fire? Huge effects from ADUs. Height? 35 feet? Enormous house. Higher than Lewis and Clark student housing buildings. All of the zoning districts need public input. Kick it back to planning board. No reason to ram this thing through. Get people from the neighborhoods. Interesting tonight that we have a diametrically opposed group from special interest as opposed to those that attended other meetings. Nugent claims this isn’t a rezoning. Forget that – send this out to each resident…just the page that pertains to them. To every person in every district. Send it out, let them respond. There are 100s of protest petitions. I’ve got ’em. There are lots of ’em. Put it out to the people and let ’em respond. That would be far better. ADUs are NOT popular. They are a bombshell. Only other recourse is a legal challenge.
Brian Walter Grant Creek. Just about to go to sleep. Served on advisory committee. One of 5 or 6 without special interest ties. Rewrite has become more than a simple rewrite. Will break down single family neighborhoods and bring higher taxes. A definite loss in the zoning protections that people anticipated when purchasing their homes. Value will be decreased. Has urged council to develop analysis to determine quality of life impact. We haven’t a ghost of a chance to fund the infrastructure required. It will all have to be funded locally. Let’s not bite off more than we can chew. Bite the bullet and identify the infrastructure costs. Roads, sewer, water, electrical supply. Can we get the water rights? Now is the time to evaluate that properly. Has provided a list of items of concern: Bed and Breakfasts. Changes in home business. Change in height. Casinos and nightclubs. Council needs to look into the impacts of casinos in this community. Drunken drivers because the pass out free booze. PUD overlays. Modify or delete these things.
Jeff Paget Represents himself. Not even sure he represents his wife’s opinion (laughter). Only tangentally involved. Concerned about ADus. Two issues of affordability and aging parents – thinks those are good things, but when talking about providing affordable housing, where does that come from? My property’s value? What if it extracts value? As far as aging parents, I don’t think I’ve have any objection to people living in them – the problem isn’t granny – it’s noisy people who cause problems for quality of life for neighbors. Once granny dies and son or daughter moves out, who owns it then? Who’s going to take care of this ADU? I think right now that I have to agree that this is a contentious issue.
David Footh Unique citizen. UM professor. Against ADUs. If you have an ADU, it’s going to increase the value of the property to an investor and you are going to increase the affordable housing problem. Seems that this is a rezone and not a rewrite. Issue has been addressed by city attorney and what he said was that it hinges on substantive changes in use. Clearly there are many. We’ve added new uses. Is a library being removed a substantive use? Is adding a wireless community co-located antenna a substantive us? We need to address what is a substantive change. Get an outside opinion. Why is this a rewrite and not a rezone? Only 5 citizens spoke tonight – everyone else represented a special interest group. How can we possibly engage in a sensible discussion if people don’t know what zone they live in. Let’s send out to everyone affected by the zoning. Send them their page.
Earl Allen Marketing coordinate for HiNoon and Diamond Jim’s casinos. Also programs a dynamic display and the corner of Mount and Russell. Heard some things said about the signs. I don’t think SAVE represents the entire Missoulians, nor all the folks that come into town to trade here. I don’t buy the zero-sum game pie argument. It’s a very dynamic thing, competing for business. The Wilma sign is a vast improvement. My sign, I have 3 businesses and I run 3 businesses on that sign. This arms race idea, that we’ll look like Vegas. There’s limits in place in this document. It’s limited to arterials. Even the 60 second hold time – that doesn’t work for me. I only have two lines. I don’t buy that there’ll be glaring lights all over town. I see it as a freedom speech issue. I’m not an economist. I went to journalism school. When I hear a group recommend to outlaw something, I have a problem with that. When you control the time, you are violation free speech.
Linda Lennox Epcon Sign Company. One of those evil sign people. I’ve been an evil sign person for 50 years. I’ve made my living no other way. Underneath that evil sign persona, is a citizen of Missoula – lived here all my life. Live in zone R-2, Ward 3. Like to say that I have feelings about what happens in Missoula. I take exception to that makes me a bad citizen. I’m a good neighbor. Big presumption is that everybody hate dynamic displays. I know a lot of people do not hate these. I like to see good looking designed signs. Needs to look vital. Can’t relate at all to banning electronic signs. Under current ordinance signs can’t get higher and brighter. Brightness has been downsized. There are controls in place. We conceded. Commercial corridors have been made smaller. Contained where they should be. I like the rewrite. Been on the advisory board and I want to support the new rewrite. There are things I don’t like, ADUs. I have a big back yard. I’m one of those single people. It’s my greenspace. I like the idea of ADUs. Needs to be a solution from keeping them from becoming rentals. Please to see a continuation for more meetings.
Gary Bakke Was on citizens advisory committee. Wanted representation of the business community. Wanted to speak to sign ordinance. Invited people to come to the chamber to talk about what was drafted. Worked for 10 hours on compromise. Some were very much for it. Came to a medium point, drafted language. Wants to speak to digital displays. Hours of operation. Takes many signs and makes them turn off on holidays, one hour before and one hour after. There are major investments in digital displays. Who uses them? UM? State of Montana? Even the City of Missoula. Need them to get them out on important issues. Will law make you turn them off? What is a hour of operation? It puts a disadvantage to some. Who’s going to patrol? How are you going to know when I open my store. Brings very difficult issues to regulate.
Dr. John Snively R1 district. Like to echo concerns regarding ADUs. His read is that the ordinance is that there is no limitation as to who can own the unit that an ADU sits upon. No way for the city to ensure that the main house is owner occupied. As ADUs are built out in single family districts, they will become multi-family districts. I’ll be brief. It says that currently no provision for ADUs exist, though ADUs exist in the city. Use rezoning on spot cases to allow ADUs. Rather than overlay.
Dennis Trufold Lived in Missoula 37 years. Serves with Lewis and Clark neighborhood. Supports minority on council that the document is a rezoning. Agrees that ADUs need to be removed. Has concerns about zoning czar. Lots of hot button and issues related to PNCs, but things that happened to me an my neighborhood were directly related to how I was treated by OPG. Title 19 isn’t broken – it was abused and gerrymandered over the years. Not interpreted well. Many tools were added to infill and that created problems. It’s those problems that led us here. I don’t think we have the best product if the citizen doesn’t understand what it means to them individually.
It is now 11:45
Kelly Urban Member of planning board. Newest member. Thinks it exciting to see turnout tonight. On the sign issue. I went back and forth and I’m still going back and forth. Good luck with that one. SAVE wasn’t there that night. We predominately had sign people at our meeting. Know that.
Celeste River Fairviews area. Haven’t been to many meetings lately. My husband submitted a number of comments, including to city council. I think they’re good comments. I’m interested that one person from planning board showed up. I wonder if different entities of the city inform each other what went on at each other’s meetings. I’m concerned for my neighbors. The oldest hillside development in Missoula. People feeling really good about their view. If it gets changed back to 35 feet, to their property values. I’m concerned that people have no concept of what 35 feet will mean to them. That’s high. 30 feet is high, really. Should we be protecting rights to vaulted ceilings? How do we get people to really understand the dynamics of these changes. I know that cities change and people are moving here from other places and have experienced crowding. It is going to happen. This process – you know that I know that Title 19 is a mess. I don’t understand this thing from MOR about side-yard setbacks. I want my people in Fairviews neighborhood to understand this. There is nothing in this document on hillside design standards. We’ve lots of hillside neighborhoods. I signed a petition to slow this down because plenty of people don’t understand this. It is so complicated.

Engen looking at a pretty empty room calling for public comment.
Thanks everyone……(looking for a closure of public hearing.) Calls for reconvening at 11:40.

He closes the public hearing.

Jaffee returns it to committee.

Comments from council:
Pam Walzer explains that she didn’t attend public meetings on the zoning rewrite because she didn’t want to unduly influence the planning board. Didn’t attend It wasn’t due to lack of interest or concern. Also notes that today is an anniversary of the last time the Cayuga River in Ohio burned. Believes strongly in the clean water act. We have an obligation to stop point-source pollution Please see Pam’s full clarification and reiteration of her comments below.
John Hendrickson for those in Scott Street neighborhood. MDOT has consented to add the railings back on the sidewalk. Will announce it next week. Couple quick things on zoning: We said it last week, I’ll continue to say it – it’s never been my intention to scuttle Title 20. We need a rewrite, but the notification has me bugged. My ? to council is “Why not?”
Jon Wilkins – this Thursday is 33rd wedding anniversary to a very lovely wife. I know she isn’t watching, because she promised not to watch. I really relate to what the sign lady said and how she relates that she is the big meanie. Reading editorials I guess I’m a liar and a fear monger. I take a different opinion than Pam Walzer – I spoke and I felt it was my duty to influence and voice my opinion…I still have an open mind. I think it’s a zoning rewrite. I don’t understand the height condition on Fairviews. I still want an unbiased opinion. If I were sick and I didn’t know, I’d get a second opinion. I think we still need to do it. I think holding that referral up, I would urge you all to call him to get that referral through. I got a gentleman on Mary Street that is going to make an apartment upstairs and downstairs. I asked everyone that called if they knew we were in the middle of a zoning rewrite? Most didn’t. I guess I’m going to have to get out and knock on doors to let people know. There’s problems in there. Still wants 20 to go through. Wants it as black and white as we can get. Hope you all have open minds.
Lyn Hellegaard – Not her intention to scrap this document. There are problems that need to be worked out. Wants to clear up flyer and the petition. Flyer was created by a group of citizens when it was going from the advisory to the planning board. The petition was developed as a response to Bob Jaffe’s listserve Feb. 14, when he stated “why should the minority be driving the outcome of the process? This is subject to change but at the moment I lean towards pressing for our objective and leave the elections that come a few months after the adoption of the code be the community’s confirmation of support or rejection for our line of thinking.” Many people of this community felt they needed to support a supermajority vote to force a conversation.
Dick Haines – Congratulations to Jon Wilkins, and tomorrow is my 48th, and he thanks his wife.
Renee Mitchell – Says Jon’s and Dick’s wives must be wonderful women. Couple things concern her. When the cleanup was proposed I wasn’t on council then, people talked about it being broken, inconsistent – and we probably could have hired a non-fiction write to talk with people to pinpoint what was broken and inconsistent. In associations that I’m affiliated with, we get rule books. They get updated, they get changed. For some reason, our zoning document seemed to stay in the dust and I have to agree with one of the citizens that the document (19) was manipulated. Let’s not slide in a bunch of stuff that this community has been fighting about for the last 10 years. Zoning isn’t unique to Missoula. In 1926, the city of Euclid, V Ambler Realty Company, in a SCOTUS, ruled that the city had the ability to separate uses for the public good – so for more than 80 years, cities have been designating single-use districts. We need to make changes, so we’ll go forward and I hope no one is in a big hurry. Couple other things – one are two citizens, one who made serious allegations about fraud (referring to Rattlesnake sewer). Thinks it needs to be looked into. The other was the one who talked about making sure the process was done legally. Hope we follow the law. Another thing that concerns me is that there was an organization in McCall about save our skyline…
Ed Childers – as far as the rezoning/rewrite – we’ve heard from city attorney, from our Director, from MBA, from another land use attorney – going out and looking to see what someone else says doesn’t make sense to me. I’m not going to put that on the agenda. There are other ways to deal with that and if you want to do that you go ahead. We had a whole lot of people do a whole lot testimony in front of us, and I thank you.
Marilyn Marler Wanted to thank everyone for comment. Heard a fair amount of support for the document and feels that we can work through it in the next couple of weeks. Would like to challenge some colleagues and try and get this work done.

I’m outta here. It’s 12:30 and Colbert is on, for crying out loud! If I’ve mispelled names, I apologized. Correct me, but be nice.

I strived for accuracy, but certainly, if anyone has any complaints, please be civil and understand there was a sincere effort towards that accuracy. I’ve got it on tape, so I can correct anything someone calls out.

Anyone who spoke from prepared comments is free to submit them to me (email under the ABOUT page over there on the left). I’ll gladly reprint in a full blog post.

  1. petetalbot

    Best coverage of this issue I’ve seen yet. Keep up the good work, jhwygirl.

  2. Stick with it, j-girl, there’s gonna be long nights ahead.

    (btw, I see the affordable housing mafia was out in force. I wouldn’t want to be a councilor that gets in their way.)

    • Lizard

      ooh, affordable housing mafia, sounds juicy. who are they? and do they “whack” people who stand in their way?

  3. goof houlihan

    “tolerating a rambunctious patience”

    I like that phrase.

    AUDs destroy neighborhoods particularly in college towns. The duplexification of single family homes turns them from owner occupied homes with garages, to “income properties” doubling the density of the neighborhood and choking the street with renter’s automobiles.

    • “rambunctious patient” not “patience”.

      I’ve corrected.

      A product of speed typing, not a lack of understanding the English language.

      Or maybe just tired.

    • Getting to ADUs – if they could only be occupied providing the non-accessory unit – the primary unit – were owner-occupied, would that appease?

      It does for me. Without owner occupancy on the primary unit, we are – as one of the people commenting stated – creating investment properties.

      I’d also be curious how to address the people who might condominiumize the two units. That won’t help affordability (long term) either…

      Honestly, I can’t understand the logic behind making condos of individual units on a lot. A co-op situation is one thing, but condo-izing just doesn’t seem right on many levels. I mean, legally, the owner only owns the air space and not the walls and land – and what person would buy a condo like that one two drastically different structures? How in hell are insurance companies even insuring that stuff?

  4. goof houlihan

    ADU’s I mean. AUDs of course, are the opposite of SBDs.

  5. goof houlihan

    Condo or duplex, it jams two dwelling units, legally capable of holding as many people as can be physically crammed into each unit, into what formerly was a lot with one family, defined by consanguinity and affinity, in a neighborhood designed to hold one family per lot, with room to park their one or perhaps two cars on the lot, with space for children to have catch with their parent.

    It has to be envy and greed that is so intent on trashing our beautiful urban neighborhoods. No wonder people flee to the county.

    The arguments for historic preservation are persuasive, imo.

  6. Heidi Kendall

    Wow, thanks for this enormous effort. It is wonderful to see 4&20 back in its old reasonable, thoughtful form. Great job.

    • petetalbot

      As opposed to its new, unreasonable, thoughtless form? Any specifics?

      • It’s possible that Heidi was referring, too, to some of my other body of work also, Pete.

        That being said, Pete – if we (you and I and problembear), as writers putting stuff out there on the inner tubes, can’t survive a swipe of criticism from the very people doing the heavy lifting analyzing and helping to implement local policy (all without pay), then we need to quit putting stuff out there.

        Peace, my friend.

        Now..back to the zoning rewrite and clarification….

        • agree with heidi on this one, j-girl. real nice job of reporting. when it comes to local stuff you shine brightly and make us proud….your stuff puts rubber to the road in the phrase think global act local.

        • Heidi Kendall

          Just sayin’ I like what jhwygirl’s doing here. It’s hard work. Benefits others. Tears no one down. A beautiful thing.

          • Ellie Hill

            Ditto from me.
            Well done, J-Girl. Thanks for doing this. As always, your local coverage is hugely appreciated.

  7. Mel

    As a wanna be slumlord I would like to be able to build an ADU anywhere I please but if this rezone is the best we can get then I am not going to protest.
    I am currently in the market for small single family homes with alley access and a garage that I can convert to a student rental. The existing home should be one story so that I can tear the roof off and build two more stories so I can fit in a dozen or so kids at $500 per month. I’d like to pay a current value of $150,000 but if this rezone happens I can go as high as $300,000 , maybe a half million. 18 renters at $500 each=$9,000 per month) and that’s not counting the illegal basement “bonus” units. If the neighbors are also greedy and will support my scheme I will support them down the road when they wanna be a slumlord too. If they don’t want to participate , I’ll just buy em out once they don’t have anywhere near their home to park and the tenants dog packs ruin their life.
    I was at one time against the rezone but have decided to join the pro density urban land planners and will be embracing the document and all that it allows.

  8. petetalbot

    Envy and greed, goof? More like affordability, availability and practicality.

    I just don’t see speculators buying pricey university area properties so they can build an ADU that might generate some rental income.

    And if ADUs make it into the rewrite, do you think that they’ll spring up in every yard overnight, like mushrooms after a hard rain? Will all the homeowners start converting their garages or building in their backyards? I doubt it.

    ADUs have been around Missoula for years. There are some good examples and some crummy ones. Why not codify the way they should be done?

    Plus, a town can write owner-occupancy language, and employ design standards and parking regulations, that should mitigate your concerns.

    • Ryan Morton, MBIA

      ADU’s would be an overlay in the current form and require a map amendment to the zoning. It’s basically the same as upzoning but with design standards making the second structure truly accessory. Otherwise, the property owner could just upzone without any design standards.

      Anyhow, I’ve posted so much stuff demystifying the ADU section all over the place. I think I’m done now.

      Oh, and if it wins more community support, let’s just rid of the section. Upzoning property is better than ADU overlays…right?

      • You think that your playing both sides of the fence is lost on people Ryan?

        It’s not on me, just so you know.

        You like to feed those on once side of the fence, while passing plates on over to the other side. All while smiling and looking very friendly.

        People get it.

      • Come to think of it Ryan – didn’t your organization officially take the position that this document is not a rezoning? Didn’t your org offer legal some sort of legal opinion?

        • Ryan Morton, MBIA

          Uh yeah. How is it that I play both sides of the fence exactly? I’m not sure I understand what you’re getting at. An ADU overlay is a rezoning under the proposed ordinance (all overlays require a rezoning BTW). The rewrite itself is not. Figured you’d understand that, but I guess not.

        • Ryan Morton, MBIA

          Oh, sorry. I forgot to smile.


    • goof houlihan

      More like envy and greed, Pete, as I said. Envy, because everybody should be able to live next to campus, right?

      Greed, because putting an income stream on a property increases it’s value by some function of the income stream, and uses up and makes money on the commons of on street parking and neighbor privacy.

      These historic neighborhoods (that is, anything built before, well, we might call it 1960) are worth protecting. The urban single family home lifestyle is worth protecting. Levittown was a good thing…and is now historically protected.

      It’s the destruction of the urban single family neighborhood that contributes to the flight of families to the ‘burbs.

  9. petetalbot

    Again, jhwygirl, great job. One correction: the libertarian, Mike “Bellows,” should be Mike Fellows, although Bellows might be more apropos.

  10. Mel

    WOW …jhwygrl….no offense intended but…
    Please read Ryan’s post again, as you may be a bit confused. He is correct regarding the language of ADU’s and how the doc would work. Maybe you’re tired but your swipe at him sounds mean. In some circles Ryan might also be called a “consensus builder” and although I don’t agree with his positions most of the time he has been consistent in his efforts to operate with integrity. If you run off this very reasonable guy from the conversation and the folks that support him by playing at petty Missoula politics you are doing our community a great disservice.
    And to Ryan..keep your chin up. We all “Get It”.

    • Who’s playing in petty Missoula politics – me or the guy who’s feeding the “it’s a rezoning document and we’re going to sue you” crowd?

      Ryan is playing both sides of the fence. Trying to split his damage. He wants the document for good reason – the current one is crap. He’ll call ADU’s, though, rezonings, to appease those that don’t want the document. Splitting the damage – trying to keep the one side of council from splitting his camp all together.

      That ain’t consensus building.

      I still want to know the answer to my other question: Didn’t his org come out with an official statement saying that the document was NOT a rezoning?

      Or are you hinting – (“…most of the time he has been consistent in his efforts to operate with integrity.”) that there’s an amount of truth to what I say?

      • Ryan Morton, MBIA

        Ok. Clearly you’re uninformed about the ADU overlay. Read the section on overlays at, then get back to me. ADU’s as proposed would require a rezoning. Ask OPG. Ask the consultant. Ask anyone.

        Makes me question you’re ability to report.

        • Ryan Morton, MBIA

          From the updated list of noteworthy changes date 061709 at

          “Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) would be available as an option for homeowners through an overlay district.
          ADUs are smaller dwelling units separate from the principal dwelling on the parcel. They are located in interior
          apartments or in accessory structures like garages. Allowing ADUs in a neighborhood through the proposed
          overlay district approach would require a zoning map amendment that includes property-owner notification, right
          to protest and public hearings before the Planning Board and the City Council.”

        • Ryan Morton, MBIA

          Oops, where’s that smile?


          • Boy, I’m really not getting you with the smiley face thingy, other than it is just another example of you smiling to someone’s face while manipulating the scenes behind their back to your own personal benefit.

            I already said I get it. I’m not alone – but you are obviously blissfully unaware of your surrounds. Rarely is that a good thing out here in the west, Ryan.

            That being said, you are framing ADU’s in a black and white, do-’em-and-they-are-a-rezone versus don’t-do-’em context.

            There’s more to what you are calling “rezoning” – and since you are absolutely so smart and the only expert on this subject, I’ll let you figure this one out.

            But I will give you a hint though…one of the answers to the bigger picture can be found in Roger Millar’s opening comments last night.

            I won’t smile, just to ensure that you don’t confuse my intent.

          • Ryan Morton, MBIA

            You really don’t get it. You’re as bad as the opponents to ADU’s. Ask Roger Millar if ADU overlays would require an zoning request. Just ask. I dare you.

          • You have nothing to add, Ryan?

          • Ryan Morton, MBIA

            No. You clearly were uninformed. That hasn’t changed.

            Although, ADU’s will no longer be an overlay after yesterday’s PAZ. They will now be allowed by right in multifamily zones. So if the rewrite passes, ADU’s will not require a rezone in multifamily zones. It will require a rezone if you’re currently in a single dwelling unit zone.

            Things move quickly on the rewrite. Try to keep up.

          • Ryan Morton, MBIA

            Here’s my post from Jaffe’s Listserve. Hope it helps…

            On PAZ:

            I think what you accomplished on ADU’s was quite good. The overlay would have been just as onerous as an upzone (and likely more controversial). At least this way, when people do upzone to multifamily levels they get ADU’s by right. Perhaps in a couple of years we can progress to ADU’s as a conditional use in single family zones. I think what you did was a positive step both for getting ADU’s to become an acceptable part of the development
            landscape AND getting ADU opponents to vote for ADU’s in multifamily zones.
            The occupancy standards should help ease concerns as well. I think you
            should be very happy with what you accomplished in PAZ and hope that sort of work can be done on the remaining issues.

            Sometime change comes slowly. There’s nothing wrong with that. We’re not in an “Emergency ADU Deficit” or anything. It’s simply one tool of many to provide much needed affordable housing for rent (renters are not bad even if they are university students – for those of you out there who consider uni students to be like the plague).

            Small lot homes, townhomes and duplexes are also good tools for affordable housing that are still “in” the Rewrite. I’m really happy to see Missoula moving towards a nice mix of housing options. Keep up the good work!

            On the procedure debate:

            I agree that I’m sick of it, but it sounds like the one week waiting period
            eases some concerns. I think there’s nothing wrong with this procedure if
            it quiets the dissent. Please don’t fuel that fire by calling it out of order.

          • i probably shouldn’t get in the line of fire here but i just couldn’t resist this little gem…

            “Being a man given to oratory and high principles, he enjoyed the sound of his own vocabulary and the warmth of his own virtue.”
            – Sinclair Lewis, Babbit, Ch. 6

            and last, but not least….another excerpt….

            “Babbitt spoke well–and often–at these orgies of commercial righteousness about the “realtor’s function as a seer of the future development of the community, and as a prophetic engineer clearing the pathway for inevitable changes”–which meant that a real-estate broker could make money by guessing which way the town would grow. This guessing he called Vision.” – Sinclair Lewis. Babbit.

          • Ryan Morton, MBIA

            Sounds like you’re talking about yourself problembear.

          • JC

            You know, for a PR flak, you’re pretty rude and condescending. Pretty much helps wither away what credibility the MBIA has with the public when you treat people like you do here.

          • Ryan Morton, MBIA

            I feel the same way about ya’ll. I tried to give information about ADU’s and jhwygirl makes accusations about me…personally. What would you have me do? “PR flak” isn’t exactly polite either (or accurate as I work mostly on policy).

            Ad hominem doesn’t even begin to describe the attacks you, problembear, and jhwygirl do to people you disagree with. Point that judgmental finger back at yourselves for once and move on with your lives.


          • JC

            My words only represent me, an anonymous commenter at this site. I speak for no one but myself, and if I choose to be impolite or impolitic, I will do so.

            You, on the other hand, represent a nonprofit that plays a prominent role in our community. And I for one, am well aware of the role politics plays within the BIA structure, from the national level on down through the states, locals and to the member groups.

            You can can be as righteous as you want, and try and deflect criticism back on this site’s authors and commenters, but at the end of the day, you still have to be accountable to your member organizations, board and director. Not to mention maintain credibility in the public eye. I am only accountable to my anonymous self.

            You may call yourself the government affairs director at the MBIA. But your words speak more like a PR flak. You may pretend to be trying to educate the “uninformed” but in reality you are masking your (and the NAHB’s) real agenda behind your haughty Johnny-know-it-all routine.

          • Ryan Morton, MBIA

            What a cop out. “I can be rude because I don’t use my real name, but you have to be polite because you work for the MBIA.” Thanks for defining my personhood by my job. That’s so capitalist of you.

            Look, I’m going to be righteous when I’m right on an issue and people are anonymously attacking me. I feel no obligation to be diplomatic to anonymous bloggers who hate on me.

            If you have complaints about my representation of the MBIA, please forward them to our office.

          • JC

            You’re the one who is defining your personhood by your job, by hanging the MBIA shingle behind your name here.

            And if you find it easier to not “be diplomatic” to people here because of their desire to comment or blog anonymously, well that is your prerogative.

            SWIW its worth, I’m not hating on you as a person. I don’t know you personally, and for all I know you could be a great person.

            My comments derive from your comments as a spokesman for MBIA, and in as much as how you phrase them, I will reply in kind.

            But complain to the MBIA? Nah. Not my box of cookies. But your words and style do speak for themselves, and after all, it is a small community…

          • Ryan Morton, MBIA

            I’m much more mouthy in person actually. Ask anyone. Anyhow, thanks for the job advice.

  11. Pam Walzer

    Thanks for doig this. Not everyone has access to cable and MCAT, so jsut like Bob Jaffe’s list serve, your efforts provides more information to those interested than provided by the traditional media.

    I admit that I have not read all of your summaries of the statements made. It was a long night wioth many very thoughtful comments. Very heartening.

    Of course I did read your summary of MY “comments from council.” It seems to me that the abbreviated summary could use some elaboration, as one state sounds opposite of what I intended. Here is a longer version of what I said – with some editorial additions as to why.

    I wanted to explain my own lack of attendence at the Planning Board meetings.

    [There have been multiple comments from other council members and a very few citizens that night that I/we were shirking our duties or that our/my lack of attendence indicated that the outcome of the zoning rewrite was a done deal]

    I said that I purposefully did NOT attend the Planning Board meetings on the zoning ordinance as I did not want to unduly influence the outcome. Ii wanted the Planning Board to come to their own conclusions to relay to us. My reasons for not attending was NOT due to lack of interest or concern. The way it was written sounds just like I don’t care:
    “Didn’t attend due to lack of interest or concern. ”

    [After all – what is the purpose of a volunteer advisory committee if persons on the governing body work to influence their process to steer the process towards one’s own agenda? That is my opinion but not one shared by at leaast one other council member – who has been trying to take some of us to task for our absences. Read Jon Wilkin’s comments above.]

    Oh – and that Jun 22 was the 40th anniversary [1969] of the last time the Cuyahoga River burned, which helped bring popular opinion around for the need for the Clean Water Act of 1972 – which was the beginning of regulations for our waste water treatment plant. I also spoke about controlling NON-POINT sources, which are septic systems, agricultural runoff and other such things which are polluting our aquifer and river.

    [The WWTP is a POINT source and such is highly regulated]

    • Thank you very much, Pam for that clarification.

      I was trying to close up shop for the night when comments from council began. You came up first, and said some important things that I figured I could try and get at before locking up the door (so to speak.)

      You are very right – “Didn’t attend due to lack of interest..” definitely comes off completely opposite of what you were conveying. I could go back and get it exact, but you’ve saved me that with your comment. I very much appreciate it.

      ~~And didn’t you get the coolest avatar evah?!?!?!?!?!

  12. Great coverage of this for those of us that couldn’t stick around for the whole thing.

    From listening to and reading many people’s comments on ADUs, it seems to me that people think their neighborhoods will suddenly sprout as many ADUs as will fit. Over a period of 30 or 40 years a neighborhood might fill in with ADUs as there are lots of reasons people wont be able to build right away (lack of financing, not wanting to give up yard space, don’t like ADUs, etc) and there are lots of barriers to speculators coming in and buying up a bunch of houses just to put up ADUs that generate more income.

    Secondly, I would like to address Linda Frey’s comments. I know that the opinion expressed by her represents the opinion of a very small number of individuals in this community, but the arguement she is making still bothers me.

    What is so different in the new zoning that its is somehow “social engineering” when the old zoning wasn’t? Zoning of any kind is expressly meant to set guidelines for the spatial distribution of our communities. Without zoning property owners would have unchecked rights of development, destroying any character a neighborhood would want protected since any type of land use could be placed anywhere, including, to go to extremes, a garbage dump next to a school. It is precisely the application of zoning that protects the character of neighborhoods made of mostly single family housing from unwanted land use.

    How we choose to organize our communities is a social question that must be answered through deep thought about our values and discussion that leads to comprimise. So yes, zoning is “social engineering” precisely because it involves a community of people coming together and making a decision about how we collectively want to see our town develop and grow.

    • Zoning has officially been around in Missoula since something like 1907 or 1913…from what I remember hearing once long ago.

      Zoning came to the U.S., in its rudimentary form, back in the days of the pilgrims….I’m talking first settlements up in Massachusetts in the very late 1600’s.

      There are people around here that act as if zoning is some fairly new hippy-skippy idea that is destroying their lives, meanwhile their very neighborhoods were built upon zoning and governmental controlled land use principles.

      I mean, a whole bunch of Missoula was subdivided – a whole bunch of it – well before 1900. Streets laid out, sidewalks, residential lots. That subdividing, in and of itself, is clearly controlled land use.

      What was it that one of the grannies over at Margaret & Helen said? Something to the effect that people should quit being so selfish. That the world is changing – take a look in your grandchildren’s eyes; talk to them – and realize that we need to build the world for them.

      People like Linda Frey want to stagnate themselves, like some movie, in some point in time that they are comfortable with and the hell with the rest of us.

  13. Ryan Morton, MBIA

    Ok… An attempt to clear the air.

    Yes, MBIA agrees that the Rewrite IS a rewrite not a rezone.

    Yes, ADU’s were written as a zoning overlay as part of the rewrite. Zoning overlays are basically map amendments. Since the ADU overlay would have been new, people would have had to request rezones in the post-rewrite world. That’s all I was suggesting. jhwygirl suggested this comment suggested the whole document was a rewrite and that I was playing “both sides” of “the issue”. “the issue” being whether the rewrite was a rezone. An ADU as an overlay requiring a map amendment does not suggest the whole document is a rezone. It only suggests that a portion of the document would have required an zoning overlay for ADUs. I think this was the crux of our misunderstanding.

    Yes, PAZ passed motions to rid the Rewrite of the overlay and make ADU’s a permitted use in most multifamily zones.

    None of this suggests that the whole document is a rezone nor does MBIA suggest the whole document is a rezone nor have I ever suggested the whole document is a rezone.

  14. seems like when i stick with my old humble plodding mule of advocating for the disadvantaged and the working middle class i do ok…

    but when i try to mount an arrogant high horse things can get spirited and a little out of hand….and i usually get thrown.

    like my old football coach once said…”i spend 99% of my time trying to re-teach you idiots the basics around here.”

    seems like i always have to relearn simple truths…

  1. 1 Meet the boy for Ward One « Bunk in the West

    […] Ah, but I’m not going to write about his hairdo, even if it is called a ‘faux hawk.’ I really should stop calling him ‘boy.’ However, no, I will not be calling him the “Queer-Marxist-Aquarius-MBIA Hired Geek.” […]

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