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City of Missoula in Fierce Debate Over Renting Rules

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Photo courtesy of Sam Beebe, Ecotrust/Flickr

Monday’s Missoula city council meeting involved a fiery discussion over a proposed text change to the way Missoula’s zoning codes are read. The change would allow owners of single family zoned homes to create or use adjacent dwelling units (or ADUs) as rentals.

Proponents of the plan argue that the text change would give citizens more freedom with their property, increase property values, and help rentals in the Missoula area become more affordable.

Those against the rule change say that ADU’s will devalue property and cheat those who bought single family homes out of the single family nature of the neighborhoods they bought into because the rule change would make all zones essentially multi-family areas.

During Monday’s meeting, city councilman Jon Wilkins motioned to table the discussion saying that the text change was actually a zoning change and needed to be addressed as such, but the council decided differently.

As a result of Monday’s vote, city staff will be holding community meetings in the future to speak with the public about the plan. Wilkins says “we’re going to pay for the City of Missoula to lobby us. I tried to ask how much this was going to cost and I got no answer on that.”

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Wilkins says that a majority of those who live in single family zoning are opposed to the proposed text change. He says that the effort is “unneccessary” and that the council should “move on to things that are more important to this city. Like bringing job growth to this city and fixing our streets and our potholes . . . the things that the city should be worried about.”

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