Missoula City Council approves soup kitchen regulations


MISSOULA, Mont. - The city of Missoula took action Monday night on the controversial debate of where to put homeless services.

Council members voted unanimously in favor of new social service regulations, after a proposal to put a soup kitchen on West Broadway sparked months of debate.

Monday council members voted that these types of social services cannot be located closer than 300 feet to a residential neighborhood.

Members also voted to require a 1,500-foot distance between facilities providing the same services.

A hot topic amendment was whether to require these facilities to have a management plan but council members voted in favor of that amendment. 

"I think it's a little intrusive to go into somebody else's business and tell them how to manage it, even if it is a social services thing," said Missoula business owner Kandi Matthew Jenkins.

The Westside Neighborhood Association hired land planning and consulting firm PLAND to help them share their opinions on the matter with the city.

PLAND consultant Elaine Hawk stood before the council to share the neighborhood's thoughts on requiring social services to have a management plan.

"It really requires them to get out, meet the neighbors, talk about what's going to happen, how the facility is going to serve a population and how it can best address neighborhood concerns," explains Hawk.

A second reading of the new ordinance will be read at a city council meeting Monday, January 27.

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