Town Meeting: Results

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The City Commission voted to increase golf fees; the coal-fired power plant is moving forward slowly; and the Commission will continue to study the development of the East side of town that may interfere with plans to re-open the Malmstrom AFB runway. There were also some zoning changes in order to expedite the construction of the new Walgreen’s store.



  1. Hi, Dave!
    Actually, there haven’t been any zoning changes on the Walgreen issue. We scheduled a public hearing for March 7, and people are encouraged to attend. That project looks as though it will face a great deal of opposition from the neighborhood.
    On the issue of the coal plant, this vote was about selecting a bond underwriter who will perform ONLY if the project goes forward. Lots of hoops to jump through yet.
    I voted ‘no’ on raising the golf course fees. I don’t feel that the comparison with other courses in the state was really valid, given our very real differences from Missoula and Billings, particularly in the area of economic growth. Unfortunately, the other Commissioners didn’t see it that way, and the increases passed. The ad hoc Golf Committee may change that, however, and they will begin meeting right away.
    I encourage all the blogging community to contact me directly with questions and concerns. I will continue to keep an open mind on ALL of the issues, and do my best to make sound decisions, based on the will of the people of Great Falls. Of course, my late father told me, “The only way you can really screw up in political life is try to please everyone,” so it is inevitable that some will not be happy with my choices!

  2. Dona,

    I am a little embarrassed for Great Falls on the Walgreen store. Especially with all the recent noise about GF being ugly and needing a new identity to attract more physicians. A national company comes in and wants to tear down a block of old buildings and replace it with a new complex within blocks of the hospital and the city stalls. Some of the opposition has come from the current tenants (Pam Alfred) of the old buildings who do not want to give up the cheap rent they enjoy occupying old ugly buildings. They know that the new complex will be too upscale and expensive for them. As for the people on 9th Ave, what expectation should a person who buys a house 200ft from one of the busiest streets/commercial zones/interstate highway in the state have when it comes to living too close to development? The accommodations reported in the Trib where Walgreen would provide fencing to block 9th ave access and landscaping to improve 9ths appearance seemed more than enough. Making Walgreen do a traffic study is exactly what this town does wrong. Common sense tells us that the additional back street traffic caused by a drug store verses the existing businesses will be minimal and making them spend $20K to confirm it is just a waist of money and furthers GF’s image as anti-business.

    The new zoning should be applied all the way down 10th so this situation will not have to be revisited. Some of 10ths problems stem from inadequate set backs because there isn’t room for a building and a parking lot on a half-block.

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  4. Wolfpack, I share your disappointment at the “nimby” mentality. People say they want growth and economic opportunities, and then do their best to shut them down. I sometimes feel like Dr. Doolittle’s “pushmepullyou!”

  5. Dona,

    “Nimby” sums it up very succinctly. I wish there was some entity to provide balance to these types of issues. The Tribune or Chamber come to mind but neither seems to do so. I recognize that elected officials must give notice to the squeaky wheel (to often, aka “nut jobs”) or risk appearing unresponsive. This is why I wish prominent organizations or individuals would speak up and provide political cover for prudent pro business decisions.

    BTW, incase I come across too negative, your Mayoral performance so far has convinced me to label my penny jar “Stebbins 2007”.

  6. I think the Walgreens issue demonstrates how far we as a society have strayed from the traditional notions of property rights envisioned by our founders. People do not even think twice about trying to dictate to others what they can and cannot do with their own private property. When you buy a house with a green garage across the street, that doesn’t mean you have a lifetime right to look at only green garages.

    I like Wolfpack’s idea about rezoning all the way up and down 10th. If nothing else, this should serve as notice to the marketplace that if you own property on 9th Avenue South, you might want to sell it now, rather than later.

    And finally, Wolfpack is exactly right about the tinhorn dictators at the City and County. Why should someone willing to spend money in our community have to justify themselves to some government bureaucrats? Some just get off on the power. Most of these folks are good people on a personal level, but I am glad Dona (and Joe and Lance at the County) recognize that you cannot let personal relationships allow the inmates to run the asylum.

  7. Dona,
    I am ready to start annoying the city coucil! I looked at the city website and as informative as it is I can only find when the next meeting is but not where.

  8. Panda, the meetings are held in the Commission Chambers on the second floor of the Civic Center on the first and third Tuesdays of the month, beginning at 7 pm. The work sessions are prior to that in the Gibson room also on the 2nd floor, generally around 5:30.
    I will have the webmaster address this issue.
    I hope to see you there!

  9. Donna-while you are at it, could you also mention the time frame between the actual meeting and when it goes up on the site? They just put up the Jan 17 meeting. And more important, accuracy in transcribing what people say.

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