city hall exterior

Billings City Council chambers.

LARRY MAYER, Gazette Staff

Disposing of its skimpy agenda in just 44 minutes Tuesday, the Billings City Council unanimously approved a landowner request to de-annex about 49 acres of undeveloped land north of Alkali Creek Road in the Heights.

The move, which followed a public hearing, means that Terrace Estates Subdivision, 3rd Filing, owned by James and Jo Ann Boyer, will retain its current zoning.

Much of the property, according to Wyeth Friday, Planning and Community Services director, has floodplain and topographical challenges for development and delivery of city services.

The floodplain situation “makes the property almost impossible to develop,” James Boyer told the council. “It would be a wonderful park area. There are not too many wetlands like this with a significant amount of wildlife. I want to maintain that integrity.”

“I understand why it is so difficult to develop,” Councilman Larry Brewster said. “During a heavy water year, it’s a big collector. There are some areas you could build on a larger lot, but it will be nice to keep it natural.”

With Councilman Ryan Sullivan absent, the council also unanimously approved Tuesday’s consent agenda.

That included accepting a $1,000 donation from the March against Drugs and Violence held in June. The gift will pay for planting a tree and installing plaque at South Park to honor all those who have died due to violence or drug abuse.

One of the event organizers — Adam Liberty, community engagement coordinator for the Friendship House of Christian Service — said that the event began 20 years ago when Councilman Mike Yakawich “got sick and tired of being sick and tired” of picking up drug paraphernalia at South Park.

The organizers met with dozens of organizations to discuss the theme of the 20th annual event, preventing heroin use. They estimate their message reached about 300 children.

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City reporter for The Billings Gazette.