One Big Sky

The proposed One Big Sky Center would include the tallest building in Montana. 

CTA Architects Engineers

A special session for a One Big Sky Center update will precede Monday’s Billings City Council business meeting.

The special session begins at 5 p.m., with the business meeting to follow at 6:30 p.m. Both public meetings will be held in council chambers at City Hall, 220 N. 27th St.

Representatives from developers are set to tell the council about the work they’ve completed so far. The company is conducting an in-depth study before a council-imposed Dec. 11 deadline for a development agreement that will indicate, among other things, how much tax increment financing developers will seek.

Hammes President Bob Dunn has said he expects the study to be completed by fall.

If it’s constructed as proposed downtown, One Big Sky Center will include a convention center, office building, hotel, apartments, retail space, parking garage and open space. Although both size and cost have fluctuated, it was originally proposed by MontDevCo LLC as a project with construction costs as high as $165 million.

Monday’s 6:30 meeting is the final one as the leader of city staff for Tina Volek, Billings’ longest-serving city administrator, who plans to retire Sept. 30.

The council’s final item of business Monday will be to name Volek’s interim successor. The council hopes to name an interim who can stay on until a permanent administrator is on the job. Assistant City Administrator Bruce McCandless has said he’s willing to take on Volek’s duties until the permanent administrator has begun, but won’t be a candidate for that position.

Before that selection is made, the council is scheduled to hold five public hearings:

• One will spread $140,000 in assessments to form a special improvement district to complete sidewalk, curb and gutter work in various locations around the city.

• The second is on re-spreading about $26,000 for an SID for sidewalks along Poly Drive between 32nd Street West and 38th Street West. Re-spreading reflects the actual construction cost and will result in an average reduction in assessment of $546 per property.

• The third regards the owners of 22 parcels who have petitioned the city to reduce their arterial construction fees by a total of $4,125.

• The fourth hearing is over the city’s 2016-17 draft Comprehensive Annual Performance Evaluation Report (CAPER), for which the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requires a public hearing. HUD authorizes housing grants administered by the city’s Planning and Community Development Department.

• The final public hearing is over amendments to the city’s noise ordinance. The two major changes are to the hours allowed for authorized outdoor events both inside and outside the central business district and to the limit (four times a year) that a waiver to the noise ordinance can be granted at a particular location.

The consent agenda includes approval for three tax increment financing requests – about $27,000 for fencing and a security gate at Ponderosa Elementary School, a $5,000 contribution for a Big Sky Trust Fund planning grant application for the Yellowstone County Sports Facility Feasibility Study, and about $21,000 to help remodel the Boys and Girls Club of Yellowstone County’s Bair Family Clubhouse, at 505 Orchard Lane. All three TIF grants received approval from the South Billings Urban Renewal Association.


City Government Reporter

City reporter for The Billings Gazette.