Since June 2014, the Planning Division of Development Services has been working on a new Growth Policy for the City. This is the Our Missoula Project. Hundreds of comments have been collected from community members during various outreach activities including markets, festivals, and presentations. We conducted 30 listening sessions on the various topics that can be addressed in the community plan, ranging from economic development to social services, and taking on topics like arts and culture as well as aging needs. You can listen and view a 13-minute summary of the sessions. Additionally, we've nearly completed the Missoula Asset Mapping project, about which you can read on the Community Builder's website.
What's going on right now?
We are now in the phase of policy development. Six focus groups made up of community volunteers are meeting to develop the goals, objectives and action items for the plan. Those groups are economic health, environmental quality, housing, livability, safety and wellness, and community design. The groups will meet six times over the next six months and have held three meetings so far. At this point, the groups are considering the wealth of information gathered through the earlier listening sessions, the community profile and past community goals and objectives as they brainstorm a host of new possible goal and objective statements. In the New Year the groups will refine goals and objectives and develop draft action items to implement the plan.
What are the next steps?
In the Spring, staff anticipates holding another community meeting to provide a general update and gather feedback on the progress of the focus groups. Overall, this process is expected to continue through the end of 2015. The Planning Division hopes to have a draft plan ready before summer, hold public hearings and planing board review through the summer, and City Council consideration in the Fall.
Watch and listen to the Listening Session Summary Video!
Watch the above slideshow about the policy development process which broadly outlines the "what", "why" and "how" of creating a growth policy for the Missoula urban area. Our Missoula is your opportunity to exercise your right to help guide Missoula's future. Community leaders have held public workshops, neighborhood meetings, focus groups and listening sessions, also collecting ideas at public events and on-line forums. All with a goal to generate the input needed for a comprehensive visionary, fiscally responsible growth policy for Missoula. Required by state law, the policy focuses on six factors key to maintaining and improving our quality of life:
Through the growth policy public outreach process, citizens, government officials, and resource specialists will come together to formulate possible policies, actions, and implementation strategies to reinforce and enhance what Missoulians like about their community, while making thoughtful choices for our future. Upon completion, the new policy will replace the 1998 Missoula Urban Area Comprehensive Plan and the 2005 Missoula Growth Policy for the City. It will be an overarching guide for coordinated growth and community enhancement in the Missoula Urban Services Area.