Residents in East Missoula have opposed rezoning the land around Ole’s to build more storage units.
When East Missoula resident Stephanie Lemberg learned about the plan to build more storage, she was shocked.
“For the developers to sneak this request for rezoning in just before the plan is approved feels shady. We have acres of storage units in East Missoula already. We aren’t just a place for Missoula to store stuff," said Lemberg.
She started an online petition to let her neighbors voice their concern. As of October 28th, the online petition has 616 signatures, as well as 75 paper petition signatures.
“The response was overwhelming," said Lemberg. "No one was excited about the rezone and it was clear that the vast majority of residents were opposed to more storage units.”
Another East Missoula resident, Erika Hickey, started a Facebook page so the communities voices could be gathered together.
“I moved to East Missoula more than eighteen years ago, and we’ve raised a family here. We need sidewalks, street lights, small businesses, a market, trees and bike lanes. The last thing we need in our main corridor is another storage unit, enough already, we need some beauty," said Hickey.
Neighbors met through Zoom to coordinate printing flyers and mapping out a grid to hand out flyers to East Missoulians.
People feel like East Missoula is sort of a dumping ground or not taken seriously and folks out here are tired of it. They have pride in their neighborhood and they are standing up, and I’m not going down without a fight,” says Erin O’Riley Riordian.
She, along with the team of community residents, organized online to knock on nearly every door in East Missoula and distribute around 300 flyers.
“It was exciting to see the footprints in the snow heading to the dropbox. I was not sure if people would use it, but they did!” Lemberg added.
The organizing group is currently making sure people are ready for public comment at the public meeting about rezoning on Nov. 5.
For those wanting to enter public comments can email commissioners at email@example.com or dropped in the public comment box at the old bank in East Missoula.
More information can be found by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.