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Missoula City Council Ignoring the Public on ADUs

Missoula
Photo courtesy of Justin Brockie/Flickr

The following article was written and submitted to KGVO by Paul Bohan.

I have spoken publicly against the destruction, by this City Council, of even the idea of single family neighborhoods for well over a year now.

This ADUs issue goes back even further and can be easily tied to the forced zoning change done in the same “residents be damned” process that was the change from Title 19 to Title 20. Mr. Millar, Mr. Jaffe and others made it clear at meetings, back then, that they weren’t listening to folks that, they apparently thought, don’t even know what is good for them.

The proposals of taking, were initiated back when Planner Mr Millar was involved, and quietly involved changing the character, composition and structure of the Missoula Residents community. They got half of what they wanted 3 or so years ago. Now they are trying to finish the job.

This is about selfish greed, plain and simple. I do acknowledge that In a few cases it can be and is about unexpected real need. But still, the majority of situations, revolving around illegal ADUs and the presented ADU proposals are the result of situations and choices voluntarily and usually selfishly made.

The term Single Family Neighborhoods was abandoned when Title 19 was changed. I believe they now call it “group living” up to 8 residents.

Now they have tried to corrupt all the zoning protections and processes in place throughout the year. Mr Weiner, Jaffe and Taft started changing the rules that were in place, as well as about map changes versus text changes. Even the Missoulian, also a driver in the ADU process, started calling them “Cottages”. They talked about Student Housing needs, they talked about the poor, and the homeless, they also started talking about “the Cities Housing Stock”, as if it was theirs to do with as they please, which is what they believe, in the government from the top mentality of Planners such as Roger Millar and Alex Taft and Council members Jason Weiner and Bob Jaffe.

Other Council members seem a bit more inclined to listen to residents. But it seems this currently imposed choice, not brought forth from a ground swelling of resident support, is more important, due to the continuing unthoughtful “flawed” future vision of Missoula, than the promises given through zoning restrictions relied upon by Missoula residents that faithfully purchased homes in and currently reside within these areas, thus turning the idea of representative government, and zoning in general, on its head.

It is the flawed vision of the City, of the Growth Policy, and, as a result, the Planning and Grants Office, now enveloped into a new Development Services Division, to further muddy the ADU process, in which even the name Development Services implies that growth, not people, money, not people, bigger government, not people, organized groups, not people, are what is important.

People, Missoula residents, are now just looked at by planners as commodities to be organized for power, and money, not individuals with individual dreams, plans, or desires. The same government people and groups that tout Missoula as the “Last Best Place” are ignorantly making changes that will make it the “like every place” only worse, because they haven’t a clue as to what makes it special.

In my mind Bigger isn’t better. It isn’t “more programs, more money being spent, more selfish and self serving law changes regarding non-conforming structures and ADUs. It is about the ending of the opportunity and choice to live in Residential designated areas, where the goal of residents need not be to make a buck.

Bigger is not better. Better is better, and that should be how to proceed. Mixed use everywhere in Montana is like taking a bath in a toilet.

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