Kudos to Craig Raymond and his staff in the City of Great Falls Planning and Community Development Department for working to find solutions to help keep a local private sector employer, M&D Construction, in the heart of Great Falls. This is the attitude we need from our city employees across the board; not “You can’t do that.” but rather “How can we help you do that.”
M&D employs 30 folks here so not only does the owner pay significant property tax but those employees spend money downtown for lunch, coffee breaks and stopping for items or having a cold one after work.
After working together, M&D and city planning staff came up with a solution which would mitigate the zoning problems associated with the property. You can find the detailed staff recommendations and other pertinent information here, starting on page 111 of the packet document.
I’ve also included the Basis of Decision to recommend approval by the Planning and Community Development Department below, I bolded and italicized the points which stood out to me.
So it’s a no-brainer right? Especially since the citizens Neighborhood Council #7 and the city planning/zoning board both also unanimously recommended approval.
What do you suppose our City Commission did in light of the unanimous recommendations by citizens and experts alike? And why?
Oh, and take a look at the very short clip below of our own Mayor Kelly – “Since there’s a lot of questions about what this will actually result in…” Since this was the one and only public hearing before the City Commission on this matter shouldn’t the Mayor reveal to us what “questions about what this will actually result in” he’s referring to and from whom?
Stay tuned, stay tuned.
CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT – BASIS OF DECISION The applicant is requesting the approval of a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for Contractor Yard, Type II in the M-2 district.
1. The zoning and conditional use is consistent with the City’s Growth Policy and applicable neighborhood plans, if any. The proposed conditional use is consistent with the overall intent and purpose of the 2013 City Growth Policy Update. Allowing for the relocation of a local business in an area of the City designated for a mix of uses will help stabilize the neighborhood and fulfill the following objectives from the City’s Growth Policy: Phy 4.1 – Encourage a balanced mix of land uses through-out the City. Phy 4.1.5 –Encourage and incentivize the redevelopment or adaptive reuse of vacant or underutilized properties so as to maximize the City’s existing infrastructure. Phy 4.3 – Optimize the efficiency and use of the City’s Public facilities and utilities. Eco 3.5 – Continue efforts to support and develop small businesses in Great Falls.
2. The establishment, maintenance or operation of the zoning and conditional use will not be detrimental to, or endanger the health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare. The CUP would have no detrimental impact upon the health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare of the community. Specifically, the safety of the area will be improved by reconstruction of the sidewalk along 8th Avenue North.
3. The conditional use will not be injurious to the use and enjoyment of other property in the immediate vicinity for the purposes already permitted, nor substantially diminish and impair property values within the neighborhood. The conditional use will not be injurious to the adjacent properties due to the fact that it is an existing facility, and is currently working cohesively with the surrounding properties. The land use designation of Mixed-Use Transitional supports the transition over time from a once-thriving industrial, railroad corridor with large tracts of land and large warehouse type structures to a blend of light-industrial businesses, professional services, and other compatible uses. Site improvements, which include decorative fencing along the southern property line and landscaping including a berm, behind the fencing, will help beautify the streetscape and support property values in the neighborhood. Furthermore, this conditional use would not adversely impact the use, enjoyment or property value of any property in the immediate vicinity.
4. The conditional use will not impede the normal and orderly development and improvement of the surrounding property for uses permitted in the district. The proposed project will not impede the normal and orderly development and improvement of surrounding properties. Adjacent property owners have been notified regarding the project. City Staff did receive a call from a citizen regarding displeasure about how the development might affect additional improvements to nearby properties.
5. Adequate utilities, access roads, drainage and/or necessary facilities have been or are being provided. The facility is existing and currently has services and infrastructure that meet all City standards.
6. Adequate measures have been or will be taken to provide ingress and egress so designed as to minimize traffic congestion in the public streets. The current facilities have existing functioning ingress and egress. Existing driveway accesses are located on 8th Avenue North and 7th Street North. Service vehicles and trailers will be coming and going from 8th Avenue North, primarily.
7. The conditional use shall, in all other respects, conform to the applicable regulations of the district in which it is located, except as such regulations may, in each instance, be modified by the City Commission. The proposed project will conform to all the applicable regulations of the Land Development Code