The zoning rewrite and chickens

Councilman John Hendrickson estimated petitioners against the zoning rewrite have collected at least 500 signatures and as many as 1,000. As the weather warms up, he said they’ll collect more, too. He said getting signatures on the West Broadway diet was easy — 12,000 collected in 45 days. They need 25 percent of property owners in the city for their quest to force approval with a super majority.

On the urban chicken front, a rooster has evidently turned up on Cooley Street. Cock-a-doodle-doo — chop and sizzle. There’s also reports of an allegedly illegal chicken coop in the Hellgate Meadows area. (“Allegedly illegal chicken coop.” OMG.) Looks like a battle — fresh eggs v. fried chicken.

OK, back to zoning. In e-mails, WGM Group’s Brent Campbell says neighborhoods would be more protected with the new zoning ordinance than they are with the old one. He’s asking the advisory committee to come up with a majority and minority report on the code and present the information to council. For more, head to Councilman Bob Jaffe’s government listserv.

To reject the new code and argue that the we should stick with the old code in the interest of neighborhood protection continues to puzzle me.  I would like (to) hear from folks on this issue and think a meeting of the advisory committee would help me understand the issue from another perspective.  This could then be communicated to the council as opinions with fair representation for all.”

The hearing’s coming up June 22.

— Keila Szpaller

3 thoughts on “The zoning rewrite and chickens

  1. Here is the deal on neighborhood protection old vs. new zoning. The neighborhoods as you see them now are the result of the old zoning. Some maybe most are pretty good and have their own unique qualities. Some such as the Uni district were set before zoning was adopted. Folks presumably bought houses in these neighborhoods because they liked what they saw and assumed that things would stay that way pretty much because of the existing zoning. The violation of this assumption is what made people really mad when the crappy idea of Planned Neighborhood Clusters was introduced to carry out the illegal, unofficial OPG policy of densification and infill that Jerry Ballas fought and won against.

    Now come the Smart Growth and New Urbanization schemers who think that there is this huge demand to remake all the neighborhoods into “walkable” neighborhoods with little pastry and books shops everywhere with apartments above and that the existing zoning is an impediment to their grand design. No wonder people think that neighborhoods as they know them are in peril under the new zoning. In fact, if you want your neighborhood to remain the same you must now instigate a Neighborhood Character Overlay rezoning to protect what you already have under the old zoning.

    If the schemers had insisted that the review and adoption process had to follow the state and local law, then neighborhood character would have been one of the review criteria mandated to be used in determining if new zoning was needed. But nooooooooo, that is not what is happening. Now matter what you call it, if lthe new zoning is adopted all zoning districts in the city will have new names, new rules, and new uses. I think rational people who do not have a hidden agenda would call that REZONING. But when you are afraid that the masses would not approved your nefarious schemes then how this is going down is how you would proceed. The schemers claim that the public process to develop and review the new zoning was “unprecedented” and a world class example of public participation in government. What is really was was a carefully orchestrated case of manufactured consent and lack of meaningful participation by the vast majority. All input was by the same special interests and representatives of officially identified “stakeholders” (which is bureaucrat for special interests).

    Hopefully, defenders of the public interest,good government, and due process will rescue the city at the last moment from the schemers and evil doers, but time is running out.

  2. Chicken Little comes to mind…

    Certainly, MBIA is a special interest but we have tried time and time again to open dialogue about the rewrite with folks who are upset about it. Our special interest is that the zoning code almost completely defines how the building industry is allowed to proceed: where, how much, design, etc. It’s not fair to those who depend on the building industry to have the zoning ordinance be so out of whack.

    Granted it is not fair to change the zoning on people’s property without the proper process. I believe the Planning Board pushed to have the underlying zoning remain as close to Title 19 as possible. I say “as possible” because it is IMpossible to interpret and apply consistently.

    If you feel that your underlying zoning is still changing to the point of discomfort, please keep pointing out the instances so that we can work it out together. I don’t think anyone WANTS the community to be distressed about the rewrite. So talking things out is worth your time, my time, and the City Council’s time. Please consider more constructive dialogue going forward. We’re all in this together and we all call Missoula home (no matter the reasons).


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