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Affordable housing, anti-poverty grants on Billings City Council radar Monday

Affordable housing, anti-poverty grants on Billings City Council radar Monday

City Hall exterior

Billings City Council chambers is pictured in this 2017 file photo.

At its meeting Monday, the Billings City Council will tackle several tools aimed at more affordable housing.

In addition, they'll hold public hearings on annexation and land-use requests.

The business session begins at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall, 220 N. 27th St.

After it hears from the public, the council is scheduled to decide on the action plan for the city’s Community Development Division and the allocation of Community Development Block Grant and HOME Investment Partnerships program funding.

CDBG and HOME grants, used to spur more affordable housing and other projects benefiting the city's low-income residents, are expected to be $1 million for the coming year. In addition, the Corporation for National and Community Service has awarded the Billings Metro VISTA project about $500,000.

After that decision, the council will hold a public hearing on annexation committee recommendations for amendments to the city’s Limits of Annexations map.

The council has been approving changes to the map since 2002, when, according to Planning and Community Services Director Wyeth Friday, annexations including the Rehberg Ranch and Briarwood areas “were placing significant service demands” on the city. The council realized at that time “it needed a formal process and criteria to make future annexation decisions.”

Billings' growth since 2004 “has challenged the City’s ability to balance serving new areas and maintaining a high level of service to present citizens,” Friday wrote to the council. As a result, the annexation committee “has been cautious in recommending any expansion of the annexation areas because expansion may add to the challenges of achieving that balance.”

The committee is recommending two parcels be included in the red area, those deemed most ready for annexation: the Dyk property, about 67 acres on the northeast corner of the intersection of King Avenue West and 48th Street West; and the Yellowstone Christian College request, about 12 acres at the northeast corner of the intersection of Shiloh Road and Hesper Road.

In addition, it’s recommending the Kurth property, 175 acres south of Grand Avenue and west of 56th Street West, be inserted into the long-range urban planning area for future consideration.

The third public hearing is over a zone change request, from Controlled Industrial to Residential 6,000, on property at 109 S. 35th St. The landowner has two homes on the property and wants the change to improve and update the structures. The Zoning Commission has already approved the request.

The final public hearing is for a special review to construct five five-plexes and two 86-unit apartment in the Lenhardt Square Planned Development north of Georgina Drive and west of Monad Road. The property is currently used for farming. The Zoning Commission recommended approval on April 3.

Among Monday’s consent agenda items:

  • Approving about $94,000 for improvements at the police shooting range.
  • Awarding an almost $1.6 million contract to Western Municipal Construction to extend storm drain mains on Hilltop Road and Aronson Avenue. The project is being done to reduce street and private property flooding.
  • Approving about $593,000 for waterline replacements in the Poet Streets neighborhood.
  • Approving a contract with SAFEBuilt Studio of Loveland, Colo., to help planners update city and county planning regulations.
  • Supporting a $198,000 grant awarded to Municipal Court from the Montana Board of Crime Control to establish a supportive housing and re-entry program. The program is designed to combat homelessness and recidivism by improving housing access for people re-entering the community from the criminal justice system.
  • Allocating nearly $100,000 in tax increment finance funds from the East Billings Urban Renewal District for the Liberty and Vine development project, at 2019 Montana Ave. The redevelopment includes a mercantile store and a retail/restaurant space on the first floor and five loft apartments on the upper floor.
  • Allocating a local match of about $33,000 in order to receive about $656,000 from the Montana Department of Transportation’s Bridge and Road Safety and Accountability fund.
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City Government Reporter

City reporter for The Billings Gazette.

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