Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The Missoula Organization of Realtors and the Missoula Building Industry Association issued a letter recently addressing the issue of code reform by the city of Missoula and how it will affect the building of affordable housing going forward.

KGVO News reached out to the CEO of the Missoula Organization of Realtors Jim Bachand along with the Chair of the MOR’s Public Affairs Committee Megan Robson for their views on the current code reforms being developed by the city.

Two Missoula Organizations Make Code Reform Recommendations

Jim Bachand referenced the impressive increase in Missoula real estate values over the last few years.

“From an association perspective, that metric that we put out there states that from 2018 to the first quarter of this year that median home price as you pointed out, surged 80.6 percent, and that was just from  $290,000 to 525,000,” said Bachand. So it's been less than five years and that is a big number.”

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The MOR wants to Work Closely with the City on Code Reforms

Robson said the Missoula Organization of Realtors wants to work closely with the city as the new code reforms are crafted.

“I've been lucky enough to be the representative for the Missoula Organization of Realtors on the committee for code reform, and technically I was appointed by the mayor,” began Robson. “It's been an incredibly interesting process. And I think that for us we obviously are not only just community members and care deeply about Missoula as a community, but also, this is great for our clients and for our ability to be able to represent folks and find them homes.”

They Don't Want Code Reforms to Hinder Development in Missoula

Bachand suggested that building codes be crafted in a way that will not hinder development from taking place in a timely manner, especially in the Missoula Valley which offers fewer opportunities for growth.

“Sometimes just tweaking a little bit so that we're not so regimented in our code that prohibits us from getting things built quickly,” he said. “Besides being constrained in this beautiful valley, we also have a short build season, and I think that puts on enormous constraints. So there are things that we can do to speed up the cycle. We don't want this to be cookie-cutter, right? If all we ever built was single-family (homes) or all we ever built was multifamily (homes), then that's not going to solve the crisis either.”

Robson said code reform with input from the Missoula Organization of Realtors is vital to the growth of the city.

“Code reform is going to be a very, very interesting process,” she said. “So far we are just kind of getting into the very beginning of it. But I think that it's needed, and I think it is going to be something that with the appropriate consideration and the appropriate amount of time we can make some really great impacts in our community.”

In a letter to the Code Reform Team, the MOR stated that code reform must be ‘fast, simple and flexible’.

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