Expansion plans at school, restaurant win council approval

2012-01-09T21:40:00Z 2012-01-10T00:11:23Z Expansion plans at school, restaurant win council approvalBy ED KEMMICK Of The Gazette Staff The Billings Gazette
January 09, 2012 9:40 pm  • 

Expansion plans for a West End school and a West End restaurant won the unanimous approval of the Billings City Council on Monday night.

The council also agreed to use downtown tax increment financing for a study of a downtown shuttle and a pedestrian-bike bridge over the railroad tracks at 25th Street.

Billings Christian Schools, at 4519 Grand Ave., sought a special review for the construction of a new school building. The campus consists of Rimrock Christian High School, Rimview Christian School and Billings Christian Preschool.

The plan is eventually to demolish a 14,700-square-foot modular building and replace it with a three-story, 46,640-square-foot building that would include a gymnasium and administrative offices.

The school is a tax-exempt, nondenominational organization that now leases program space from Cornerstone Community Church. The special review approval included 12 conditions recommended by the Zoning Commission, mostly having to do with setbacks, lighting and parking.

The Asian Sea Grill, at 1911 King Ave. W., won special review approval to use an all-beverage liquor license. Such licenses have gambling privileges attached, but an agent for the restaurant said there are no plans to offer gambling.

It will, however, enable the restaurant to expand into an adjoining space in the strip development in which it sits.

Also approved was the spending of $20,000 in downtown tax increment financing to nearly complete funding for the downtown pedestrian bridge.

The total cost of the project is estimated $821,559, most of which is coming from federal transportation grants. Use of the tax increment money will put the project $9,000 away from the total.

If that money is needed after final design plans are done, Planning Director Candi Beaudry said, supporters will seek that money from BikeNet, which advocates for trails. The request was approved on an 8-3 vote, with Jim Ronquillo and Brent Cromley of Ward 1 and Angela Cimmino of Ward 2 voting no.

Cimmino and Denis Pitman, also of Ward 2, cast the only no votes on a request to use $8,000 in tax increment financing to help fund a study of a possible downtown shuttle or circulator bus.

MET Transit has already committed $12,000 to the $20,000 study, which would be conducted by LSC Transportation Consultants, the company that does most of the city’s bus route and schedule studies.

Contact Ed Kemmick at ekemmick@billingsgazette.com or 657-1293.

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