MISSOULA — Residents lined the hallway of the Missoula City Council Chambers on Monday night waiting for a chance to sway the council to vote “no” on a proposal for a new condominium project that would sit along South Fourth Street East.
It’s an ideal location with access to the Clark Fork River, the University of Montana and downtown Missoula. But, all except two of the 30-some community members who spoke during the public comment period urged the council to vote “no” on the proposal.
For many, the new structure will bring noise, traffic, and safety hazards for the Hellgate High School students who frequent the area. Some locals also referenced the downtown master plan, which explicitly highlights an inclusive environment with affordable housing and public spaces for everyone.
If the condos are offered at market rates, many are questioning whether or not Missoulians will have the means to afford them. As one woman at the meeting reasoned, the people most likely to live in the luxury condos and apartments are not the people who need housing in Missoula right now.
That was just one of the many concerns brought to the attention of the Missoula City Council. Local resident John Patterson says his family has lived in the area for years -- and he fears the project will disrupt what he’s calling the “heart and soul” of Missoula.
“And what we are facing right now is an assault on our lifestyle, an assault on the lifestyle of the people in my community. We’re fully vested in this community,” Patterson said.
By the time the meeting concluded early Tuesday morning, Councilman Jordan Hess announced that the council would send the proposal back to committee and further discuss at their meeting on Jan. 8.