City Government

Feb 1, 2013 8:21 PM by Dennis Bragg - KPAX News

Accessory dwelling unit foes launch petition drive

MISSOULA - Saying that they're fed up with the Missoula leaders for not listening to their concerns, opponents of "accessory dwelling units" are using a provision of state law to send a clear message of opposition.

Missoula leaders have been working on the concept known as "ADUs", or accessory dwelling units, basement apartments or other spaces converted into what is essentially a second home on a single piece of property, for months.

Backers of the idea say these "granny apartments" give students, single people and the elderly different living options, and can help improve Missoula's supply of affordable housing. The concept has already proven popular in both large and small cities.

Opponents worry ADUs in single family neighborhoods could have a major impact on the quality of life, and represent a major zoning change. Now, with the city working on details of the new rules, the group Save Our Neighborhoods is launching a petition drive.

"The main thing that we're trying to accomplish now is to be heard. We want to offer the residents of Missoula neighborhoods, the homeowners, a chance to be heard. And I don't think they've been listened to over the last several months," the group's John Snively said.

The petitions should arrive in the mailboxes of property owners in the effected zones over the next couple of days. Now if Save Our Neighborhoods can collect about 4,000 names, it will invoke a state law where the ADU rules couldn't pass without a two-thirds majority of the council.

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