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If you plan to attend the entire Billings City Council meeting Monday, or watch it on Channel 7, you could be up late.

The lengthy agenda includes two measures having to do with a backyard chickens, a resolution establishing a citywide park district, a couple of zone changes and creation of a comprehensive overhaul of zoning in the industrial area of east Billings.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. on the second floor of City Hall at 220 N. 27th St.

On the chicken issue, the council will first be asked to amend city ordinances to allow the keeping of chickens within city limits. The council held a public hearing on the ordinance at its July 23 meeting, then decided to postpone action for a month, so there will be no hearing Monday night.

The Zoning Commission voted 3-0 to recommend that the council deny the zone change.

There will be a public hearing on the second chicken item — an ordinance that lays out rules that chicken owners would have to abide by.

The main provision of the ordinance would limit the number of hens to six per piece of property, with no roosters allowed. Owners would also have to obtain an annual permit, provide a predator-proof chicken coop with at least 2 square feet per hen, and keep the coop or outdoor enclosure at least 10 feet from a neighboring property line, sidewalk or public right of way.

The creation of new zoning districts in what is known as the East Billings Urban Renewal District comes to the council with a 3-0 favorable recommendation from the Zoning Commission.

A group of district business owners worked with city staff and a consultant to draft a zoning code that would meet the redevelopment goals outlined in a master plan for the area.

The code would serve as the foundation for revitalizing the area and would be a hybrid of traditional and form-based zoning. The latter focuses on the physical form of property to encourage compatibility, while traditional zoning focuses on land use and numerical standards.

The plan would divide the district — which runs roughly from Montana Avenue to Sixth Avenue North and from North 22nd Street to MetraPark — into five different areas, each with zoning requirements appropriate to the activities there.

The regulations would specify land uses, building types, signs, landscaping requirements and street improvements in each district.

When the Zoning Commission first held a public hearing on the proposal in early July, three property owners raised objections and the commission voted to continue the public hearing until its August meeting.

After a series of meetings and conversations, the Zoning Commission met again on Aug. 7, and no one spoke in opposition to the plan. The commission voted 3-0 to recommend adoption by the City Council.

The resolution establishing a citywide park district sets the assessment at 1.156 percent of taxable value in the city, meaning it will raise $1.85 million in the coming year. The council intends to use the revenue from this year and in coming years to fund major improvements at city parks.

The assessment would increase taxes on a house with a market value of $200,000 by about $31.

The council will also set mill levy rates for this fiscal year. They will add up to 174.58 mills, an increase of 5.85 mills over last year. The increase results from the general-obligation debt service for the new Parmly Billings Library, totaling 6.12 mills.

However, because of the collection of delinquent taxes, the other general obligation debt service mills have gone down, resulting in the increase of 5.85 mills. The change will raise taxes on a $200,000 house to about $471 this year, compared with about $456 last year.

One annexation to be considered would take in about two acres at 4809 Grand Ave. The council will also consider a special review to build a 17,868-square-foot, six-classroom Montessori school on the site.

The council will also consider a zone change from neighborhood commercial to residential multifamily for 4.2 acres at Hilltop Road and Bench Boulevard and hold a public hearing on proposed changes to city policy regarding the sale of city-owned land and property.



I cover the city of Billings.