Created on Wednesday, 17 December 2008 19:21
Yellowstone County Commissioners passed a resolution of intent and set a hearing date to adopt the 2008 Growth Policy. The Public hearing will be held on Tuesday Dec. 30, at 9:30 a.m. Planning staff submitted the final draft to commissioners on Monday.
Commissioner Bill Kennedy asked what would happen if the county commissioners didn’t adopt the policy, would the current version remain as the policy.
Planner Wyeth Friday said that they were required to update the policy every five years. If they didn’t, there would be ramifications. Commissioner John Ostlund noted that Ravalli County had rescinded their Growth Policy. Friday said that he knew that but didn’t know how they were going to do things like approve subdivisions or do zoning, since those things by state law require that the governing body having a Growth Policy in place. “It was because of zoning that they rescinded it,” said Ostlund.
At the commissioners on Tuesday, after approving the resolution of intent, a citizen, Kevin Nelson, spoke to say that he believed certain language in the Growth Policy is “absurd.” It calls for encouraging the use of tax increment finance districts (TIFDs) which Nelson said requires that an area be designated as “blighted.”
He read requirements in the law that an area should be considered so seriously blighted that it cannot be reversed by private enterprise or government or both. “Why have a policy that incentivizes such areas?” he asked. It would be better to have policies to keep them out of the need to re-develop rather than drive the neighborhood downward.”
Ostlund pointed out that the Growth Policy is not a regulatory document but an advisory one. “The board does not have to abide by its recommendations,” he said.
Nelson seemed not so convinced; he replied that the Growth Policy “has to be in place to even consider urban renewal.” And, he went on to point out that in practice it drives the process. He said that during discussion by the city council when they passed their resolution of intent, it was noted that 205 of the goals of the 2003 Growth Policy “had been achieved.”
A copy of the Growth Policy may be obtained at the offices of the County Commissioners or may be viewed on the City of Billings website.