Missoula's Accessory Dwelling Unit ordinance changed


MISSOULA, Mont. - The Missoula City Council continues to struggle with the thorny issue of Accessory Dwelling Units, commonly called granny flats.

Bob Jaffe, Missoula city councilman and chair of the planning committee, tells NBC Montana there have been a few amendments made to the proposed ADU ordinance.

Most importantly permits would be required for all ADUs and the permits would have to be renewed annually through the city zoning office.

Another change -- if the property owner sells or moves off the property the permit would become invalid unless the next owner kept up with requirements and reapplied.

Finally, a clause requiring owner occupancy has been changed to allow the owner to leave for special circumstances like military service, employment sabbatical or family medical leave.

At Monday's meeting a handful of folks stood up to share their thoughts.

Missoula resident Myra Shults say she has seen online petitions that oppose ADUs and she doesn't understand why the council isn't taking these types of protests into consideration.

"You've known that this ADU proposal is opposed and yet there is nothing concrete about how to count protests," said Shults.

"If someone wants to stay in their home -- and I'm the same way -- I may have to invite somebody into my home to help me pay for it, but I don't have to build an accessory dwelling unit to do that," said Missoula resident Paul Bohan.

Some council members shared their personal thoughts on the issue.

"A super majority of the people in single family neighborhoods do not want this," said Councilman Jon Wilkins.  "I just think it's time to bring this to the head and ditch it in one of our irrigation ditches where it belongs."

Most folks seem to agree that the matter needs to be resolved.

"I'd like to see this get done so we can stop wasting taxpayers' money and time on this issue," said Missoula resident Dennis Gordon.

No final decision on the future of ADUs at Monday night's city council meeting but council members set a public hearing date of April 22.

They are encouraging folks who want to comment on ADUs to attend the meeting.

More Stories