Brandt Dahlen Construction Project Coordinator Infrastructure & Mobility presenting,
This is a petition request from WGM Group on behalf of Casa Loma LLC to vacate public right-of-way and public utility easement on the 900 block of South Ave W. This South-Sussex Bypass was installed in 2005 to help improve the Brooks/South/Russell intersection. In addition, this vacation will provide a more usable rectangle area for development than two triangles. This vacation is an essential component of the development that is proposed for this section.
This section of Sussex is located on the State Urban Highway System as a result of the reconfiguration of that intersection in the past. In order to vacate the right-of-way, this street section needs to be removed from the Urban System.
The utilities in this parcel include an unneeded sewer main to be abandoned, a fire hydrant, and other private utilities such as Northwestern Energy and cable to be relocated in a new public utility easement.
Stephen McDaniel and Jeff Smith with WGM presenting,
The project location is the entire 900 Block of South Ave. This area is currently undeveloped and underutilized and is centrally located in midtown. The development will be a mixed-use development with 130 housing units, over twenty designated as affordable housing. Then 18,800 square feet will be mixed-use commercial space. Some of the improvements associated with this right-of-way vacation are a re-established grid network, completing missing pieces of sidewalk, increase safety and traffic flow at the roundabout, reduced crossing distances at South and Stevens, better bus access, extended bicycle facilities to the north, and water main improvements on Stephens.
Ms. Becerra asked if there were any major concerns brought up in the neighborhood outreach. Mr. McDaniel said he met with several land owners adjacent to the development, and they were supportive of the project.
Mr. Carlino asked why we could not ask for a longer affordability time. Emily Harris-Shears said the period of affordability started at 30 years, and she said they advocated for 35 years. She explained that 35 years is a reasonable life expectancy for a building per the housing policy.
Mr. Nugent said he has a business on South Ave and working relations with the parties involved, but he has no financial interest therefore, there is no conflict. He asked if the developer was going to pay for the roundabout. Mr. McDaniel said they would pay for it initially and then will be reimbursed by Missoula Redevelopment Agency (MRA) with Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds. The MRA approved up to 2.21 million dollars, including deconstruction, public right-of-way improvements, and utility relocates.
Mr. Nugent thought that the better use of TIF funds would have been to go towards more low-income housing rather than the roundabout and feels the Council should have been able to vote on that. Mr. Keene said the City saw other more comprehensive community benefits in the area with the roundabout. In addition, the TIF money is limited to public investments, and if the roundabout was funded with other sources, it would be a long time before it would be completed.
The Committee Members needed more time to discuss this issue, and so it will be moved to the Public Works Committee meeting next week.