Raise a pint for brews on the south side of Missoula.
On Monday, the Missoula City Council unanimously approved a permit that means Great Burn Brewing can open at 2230 McDonald Ave. near the corner of Brooks and Reserve streets. According to one supporter, the microbrewery is a grand addition to the neighborhood and pays tribute to the area’s history to boot.
“I’m in favor of this brewery,” said Anna Sain, who used to live in the neighborhood. “... Where this particular site is, it used to be the White House Tavern, where they even had a hitching rail up front where people could ride their horses from the Rainbow Stables. When they tore that down, it used to be Vince’s Steakhouse, where you could go dancing and have a beer.”
A brewery in that neck of the woods means people don’t have to go downtown for craft beer, she said. Plus, Sain said, it’s a complement to the Cabela’s Outpost and Kohl’s set to open at the old Kmart site.
At the meeting, the council also set a public hearing for Oct. 21 on an ordinance that would give Mayor John Engen the authority to negotiate the purchase of Mountain Water Co. from the Carlyle Group or move to acquire it by eminent domain. Councilors Adam Hertz and Dick Haines voted against it, and just one member of the public mentioned the matter Monday.
Kandi Matthew-Jenkins, who frequently comments at council meetings, said she wasn’t in favor the city pursuing a purchase under its current administration. She also described the ordinance as a “political bomb” and its timing is “disingenuous.”
“That is just something that I would be dead against under the circumstances,” Matthew-Jenkins said.
In other business, the council also approved the first accessory dwelling unit in Missoula since it adopted the ADU ordinance. ADUs are secondary units such as basement apartments or backyard cottages, and the controversial topic packed council meetings in the past.
This week’s hearing, however, drew very little discussion and no public comment. The project converts an existing building at 230 Daly Ave. into a dwelling, and all but Councilman Jon Wilkins supported the conditional use.
In praise of the project, Councilman Alex Taft said the site used to have a fraternity house on it. Now, he said, it’s “an owner-occupied house,” and the ADU is helping the council address a housing need.
“We’re adding a unit of somewhat affordable housing in the University District, and I think that’s along with what we’re trying to do,” Taft said.
After some discussion about audio-visual displays on fuel pumps, the council sent back to committee a series of minor amendments to its zoning ordinance.
Councilman Bob Jaffe said the matter arose when a business wanted to install the video screens, and it wasn’t clear if the devices were technically signs. The city let the business put them in, and the council is clarifying its regulation.
As drafted, the amendment is intended to allow them without a permit on fuel pumps and other facilities as long as they meet certain criteria, such as being no more than 21.5 diagonal inches and meeting the city’s noise ordinance.
“My take on this is as long as the device is intended to be ... a service to the customers taking advantage of the business, I feel like it doesn’t necessarily need regulation,” Jaffe said.
He said it would need restrictions if it meant to influence people in the public right of way rather than those already patronizing the business.
After several councilors raised questions about the regulation, Mayor Engen said it would be difficult to address all their concerns at Monday’s meeting. He thanked Development Services staff for creating a solution and suggested a way the council could send the matter back to committee for more work.
“It starts to feel like we’re overthinking this a little bit on the council side of things,” Engen said.
Then again, he said, it’s the council’s prerogative to do so.