IN THE MAIL

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Record-holder stepping down as longtime rodeo parade announcer

Editor:

To the people of Livingston, Park County, and to all the fans of the Livingston Roundup Rodeo Parade.

I will be retiring from announcing the annual Rodeo Parade after this year’s parade. I have done this for 70 consecutive years as of this year. I am in the Guinness Book of World Records and am sure that no one will ever reach or break this record in this particular category.

At 94 years of age this summer, I make this announcement with great pride and thank all of the people who have been to the parade all of these years.

I have had the pleasure of having five generations of my family at these parades.

Thank you to all the thousands of people who have been to this special event all of these years. It has been a great run.

Louis Armentaro
Livingston

Temporary halt needed for new zoning and annexations

Editor:

The Enterprise story on the proposed zoning change by Printing for Less that could allow the development of 60 some acres into high-density townhouses and fourplexes, hotels, restaurants, gas station and fast food establishments, left out an important detail. In public comment, people made the point that the city of Livingston is in desperate need for an up-to-date, well-crafted growth policy that clearly identifies a long-term vision for the community and the type of growth that will or will not achieve that vision.

The PFL project is the most recent in an increasing number of major new developments being proposed for our fair city. The question is, what will they all add up to and will we remain indeed, a fair city?

Without a new growth policy, we can’t know. Our current growth policy is woefully out of date; it doesn’t include a vision statement for the city’s future or even a future land use map. Clearly, before we approve major changes in our development regulations that would greatly change the extent and character of the community, we need to expedite the crafting of a new growth policy.

It would ultimately benefit development interests as they would know from the get go if their proposal meets the community’s vision, and therefore stands a good chance of approval. It would be good for existing businesses as they would feel more secure that their investments will be supported, not undermined by proposed new growth. And it would be good for the community as a whole – both old timers and newcomers – as we would be assured that the assets and character that originally drew us here will be protected into the future.

I believe the city should seriously consider enacting a temporary moratorium on new zoning changes and annexations until an updated growth policy is in place. Consider this: in the 30 years from 1980 to 2010, the city grew by less than one-tenth of 1 percent. Since 2010, the city has grown by over 5 percent. And that’s not counting the addition of recent major developments that have been approved but not yet built.

Under a moratorium, Printing for Less would still be able to immediately move forward with the construction of additional work facilities, which they have every right to do under current zoning. But a temporary halt to new zoning changes and annexations would give us breathing room to more thoughtfully plan for our future.

Dennis Glick
Livingston

Livingston needs an actual, viable growth policy

Editor:

Developers are again sneaking below the radar to plan a truck stop complex, this time two miles from Livingston on the west side of town!

Those of us who want to keep Livingston a community instead of a strip mall had better all make plans to protest this maneuver at the Planning Board meeting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 27 in the Community Room at the City-County Complex. Key words: “Hell no!”

The Planning Board seems open to community input so the numbers of people showing up is very important.

The developer actually proudly compared the new westend truck stop development to Four Corners. Do they not know that we who live here want a real economy like Whitefish instead of the real estate equivalent of a leaching strip mine like Bozeman or Belgrade?

What part did they not get last time?

There was even a hint at the Planning Commission meeting last Wednesday that, in order to do whatever the developers want, we would actually kowtow to them with our hard earned money and injecting an underpass into the same essential watershed. If we were smart we’d put an overpass instead where Northern Lights comes out of the Star Addition and save $10 million — but why make sense?

In addition, a truck stop complex would be a direct competition with an existing struggling local business almost adjacent as well as the three truck stops at exit 333. They even proposed a motel — as if the motels down at 333 were chopped liver.

It gets worse. Always watch the bait and switch. When we spent $1.2 million of our tax money to run water and sewer out to PFL, it was designated “light industrial.” Now they want to flip it to “highway commercial.”

When I was on the city commission, without my vote, the commission annexed the adjacent 43 acre, yes, that is 43 acres. They had talked about putting a Wal-Mart in there, which I adamantly opposed. The only reason it didn’t happen anyway was the general economic downturn. But this “highway commercial” could now become the Pandora’s Box opening still further massive, ill-planned development done, again without the radar of a representative democracy — just the boys getting together and deciding our fate.

You might ask, “How can they do this? We have a growth policy to prevent it. A majority of the population who love our ‘real town” do not want this. What about the will of the people?”

A viable growth policy is the only place the people get anything like a real say in what they want their town to be.

We had a pretty bad growth policy, and it also had to be updated by law. The city manager and one city planner “updated” it, all right.

A public hearing was held in August of 2017 and there was one person attending — ironically, me. And they didn’t care to try again and get real input. They did exactly what they wanted. And the city commission, not really understanding the situation, rubber stamped it.

The result is that our planning decisions will get decided by the city manager, the public works director and the developer.

So all the city manager, the Public Works director and the developer have to do is meet privately, make their “plan,” and pop a last-minute surprise change in zoning — and our poor town has to fight yet another boondoggle that makes absolutely no sense and would make even Boze Angeles stare at us and say, “Dude...” They either don’t get it, or worse, they understand perfectly.

Step up to the plate. We are potentially six months out of having an actual, viable growth policy. Attend the Planning Commission hearing on Wednesday and urge them to deny any consideration to the proposed west-end commercial development and to put a moratorium on all zoning proposals and development for the six months while we create an actual growth policy. They’re not working to get your input, which means you have to take it to them. Some of us will work our tails off to have enough input from the public to create a growth policy that reflects the vision of not the Bozeman developers, but real Livingstonians who live with the aftermath and have a true sense of the community we love.

We have a real shot at being a place to be proud of, and Wednesday is the time to say it. We don’t want lawsuits, but if the city caves and fails to do the right thing this week, it could become inevitable.

We will not let our dreams for our town die. The right way is working together, as we have worked so hard to do in the past, through a good growth policy and vigilance, creating a sane and intelligent community and economy with a life and identity of its own.

Patricia Grabow
Livingston

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