Archive for the ‘Growth’ Category

by jhwygirl

In a recent post on affordable housing – a rising crisis we face here in Missoula – Vice-Chair of the Missoula GOP and former candidate for House District 97 (I remember those lovely blue signs around the neighborhood – the ones that didn’t mention her party affiliation) offers her solution to a 30-year old public school teacher who can’t afford the rent in the city where she works.

Clue: Get a husband with a job, then have the kids, and live somewhere other than The City.

Nice. Now there are about 10 different things wrong with that solution, but I’ll only snipe at one: I don’t know that it is really in the best interests of the community and its children to have their teachers commuting in from other communities. I know I want my schoolteachers living in my neighborhood.

Now Missoulapolis has also come down firmly against (no surprises there) inclusionary housing. She comments in her solution-to-affordable-housing post:

I have a cousin who is an ESL teacher there and she make it only because she’s in an old rent-controlled unit and she hangs on for dear life. But the control mechanism distorts the market beyond all manageability so it’s no wonder a teacher can’t get her own place there now. The more the govt tries to manipulate the problem the worse it gets.

What conservatives don’t seem to get is that the market is already screwed. Filled with speculators – she’s even acknowledged this in another previous post – that artificially manipulate the market.

But I guess it’s OK for the private market sector to artificially manipulate the market.

Further – inclusionary housing isn’t meant to manipulate the market – it’s meant to provide economic stability and certainty to the community. The market is already screwed. And in places where it’s done, the market has been screwed for a long, long time, with no signs of reversal. It is not a knee-jerk reaction or a quick solution to a recent problem.

Mark Tokarski, a fellow curmudgeon and contributor to Montana Netroots and frequent blog commentor places this comment at an unrelated (but excellent) post of Shane Mason’s on healthcare. Just substitute the principle of healthcare for affordable housing, and Mark precisely says what I’m trying to say:

Market-based solutions are a joke, since it is the market that got us into this mess. (The market by its very definition has to avoid sick people.)

Mark and I, BTW, rarely agree.

Areas that have done it, such as Vail, Aspen and Jackson Hole – and areas that are considering it – like Whitefish – are doing it to ensure that there are enough employees around to keep business and government up and running with warm bodies. And also to help avoid having to pay policemen and teachers $100,000 a year and dishwashers $25.00 an hour. You don’t have to be an Einstein to figure out what $100,000/year teachers will do to your taxes or what $25.00/hour dishwashers will do to your restaurant bill.

Missoulapolis is also against sprawl and infill – or maybe not….her blog is filled with pieces (lately, it seems) on housing, affordable housing, real estate (boom or bust?), new subdivisions, etc. In one piece she laments the “gash on the mountain above Farviews” but in another posts she seemingly champions the $59,000 – .29 acre lots adjacent to her self-proclaimed Casa del Minjares, (as an example, perhaps, of the wealth of affordable housing opportunities available in Missoula?)

What I do see is someone who offers no solution and no insight to an issue that is very real here in Missoula.

There are many ways to get about to dealing with the problems of affordable housing – inclusionary housing, infill, and yes, in some areas willing to accept traffic and poor air quality and higher taxes – sprawl. The solution, hopefully, should be something the community should come together with…and the longer it waits, the more drastic the solution.

Missoulapolis, oddly enough, self-describes herself as a blogger with “social-con tendencies.” Shouldn’t that come with some omnipotent solution? A solution of all solutions?

And I ponder how we – people like Missoulapolis and I – can come together with the beginnings of a solution to the problem. Myself, I’d rather avoid the drastic solution – but sitting around badmouthing every possible ‘tool’ while offering nothing of substance isn’t the way to do it.

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by jhwygirl

I don’t know if it really is the real John Sinrud posting comments in Rebecca’s recent Republicans vs. Reality, but if it is it only illustrates/affirms the hypocrisy that is prevalent in Montana’s Republican party.

In Rebecca’s post, Mr. Sinrud posted this:

why can’t one build in the wui but be required to have a defendable area around the house/buildings which will reduce the amount of time that fireman will have to defend the structure and put more people on the lines to contain the wild/forest fire. These are just a few items that need to be looked at. People like Sirota and others just want to demonize others that think differently than them.

SB 51 was proposed to address a good bit of what Mr. Sinrud speaks about in that comment, yet Mr. Sinrud voted against it. Here’s its synopsis:

AN ACT REVISING GROWTH POLICY AND SUBDIVISION LAWS; REQUIRING GROWTH POLICIES TO EVALUATE THE POTENTIAL FOR FIRE AND WILDLAND FIRE; INCLUDING FIRE AND WILDLAND FIRE AMONG THE NATURAL HAZARDS THAT LOCAL SUBDIVISION REGULATIONS ARE REQUIRED TO REASONABLY ADDRESS; REQUIRING SUBDIVISION REGULATIONS TO IDENTIFY AREAS UNSUITABLE FOR DEVELOPMENT UNLESS CERTAIN MITIGATION MEASURES ARE TAKEN, INCLUDING USE OF CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES PROVIDED IN DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY ADMINISTRATIVE RULES; PROHIBITING A GOVERNING BODY FROM INCLUDING CERTAIN BUILDING REGULATIONS IN SUBDIVISION REGULATIONS; REQUIRING THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY TO ADOPT RULES THAT IDENTIFY CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES TO MITIGATE FIRE HAZARDS; REQUIRING THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND CONSERVATION TO ADOPT RULES TO ADDRESS DEVELOPMENT IN THE WILDLAND-URBAN INTERFACE; AMENDING SECTIONS 76-1-601, 76-3-501, 76-3-504, AND 76-13-109, MCA; AND PROVIDING AN IMMEDIATE EFFECTIVE DATE AND AN APPLICABILITY DATE.

SB 51 passed, despite his vote, and was signed into law this past May.

So now local governments are required to have growth policies address wildland urban interface (WUI) issues. They are also required to have subdivision regulations that identify areas unsuitable for development without certain mitigation measures implemented. It will require, by nature of requiring those regulations, to have local governments enforce those mitigative measures. It further requires the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation to adopt rules to address development in the WUI.

Mr. Sinrud also voted against another wui bill – SB 167, which required counties that don’t adopt wui regulations to reimburse the state or any general fund appropriation expenditure made by the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation for wildland fire suppression within the county’s geographic area.

That one also passed despite his efforts.

So one bill requires counties to regulate development in the wui by requiring mitigative measures, and the other bill says that if you don’t do it, the state isn’t picking up the tab.

In fact, both SB 51 and SB 167 is practically a role-call list of 23 (and 25 for SB167) Republicans in the House who voted against these common-sense bills.

Keep that in mind when you read this other comment of Mr. Sinrud:

Another point: this is what is wrong with politics why can’t people in all areas sit down and work for a positive change in our world.

smoke1.jpg

by Pete Talbot

How do you control Missoula’s rampant growth?

You could try strict zoning and subdivision regulations. You could limit the number of building permits. You could tie growth to the city’s carrying capacity (water, sewer, roads, etc.).

But all that gets kind of messy, with lots of meetings and controversy, and it will take many years to accomplish.

My solution? Post the above picture on the Chamber of Commerce home page. Plaster this image on the cover of slick Montana Living-type magazines. Make sure it’s the lead photo for the City of Missoula’s website. Put in on the front page of all real estate brochures. You get my drift.

Substitute all those warm, fuzzy shots of Farmers Market, Riverfront Park, UM and the like with a nice Stage 1 air alert photo.

I guaranty that home prices will drop — affordable housing will no longer be an issue. Traffic on Reserve Street and Mullan Road will become a trickle. There’ll be fewer developers, contractors and realtors. You can say goodbye to those crowds at Out-to-Lunch and Missoula’s First Friday events.

Just a thought.

This photo of Missoula was taken from Waterworks Hill on Monday afternoon, August 13, 2007. 




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