Ennis council tables adopting county subdivision regs
ENNIS -- During its meeting on March 8, Ennis council tabled action on adopting county subdivision regulations until a special meeting on March 13. Council plans to adopt the county subdivision regulations until new town regulations have been reviewed and approved.
The town is in the process of updating its zoning ordinance, subdivision regulations and annexation policy, with assistance from Great West Engineering senior planner Jerry Grebenc. A draft zoning ordinance already has been received and is under review by council. Mayor Blake Leavitt reported Grebenc is finalizing the draft town subdivision regulations for council review.
During last Thursday's meeting, councilmember Brian Vincent said the town already adopted the county subdivision regulations last year. “It was recent; it was within the last year,” said Vincent. “It would have been about the same exact time we signed the contract with Great West.”
Town clerk Ginger Guin said she had checked council minutes for 2015 and did not find a vote on the issue, but if the vote was in 2016, she would need to go back and check more recent minutes. Council agreed to table the issue until a special meeting on March 13, when it will consider adopting county subdivision regulations, if it hasn't already done so, and review and receive public comments on the draft zoning ordinance.
Approximately 15 town residents showed up to last Thursday's meeting, expecting council action on the zoning ordinance. But the item was not on the meeting agenda and Mayor Blake Leavitt invited the residents to return for the March 13 special meeting. “We want to see you all come back on Tuesday,” he said. “I'm sure there will be a lot more of you and we welcome all comments. Please come enthusiastic and ready to go.”
Leavitt urged council to review the zoning ordinance carefully. “This has been a slow month and I've spent a lot of my time going over our new zoning regulations,” he said. “I've spent a good chunk of my time on that. Hopefully, everyone will take some time before the meeting Tuesday to get up to speed on that. You guys did a lot of hard work on it, so we need to make sure to take the time to go through it.”
The draft zoning ordinance is available on the town's website and copies are available for review at the town office.
Public works director Kelly Elser reported a contract for an on-call engineer had expired. “I think it's important to have one in case of an emergency, which is more likely to happen with water and sewer than anything else,” he said. “It doesn't cost anything to have one on-call; it just makes things happen faster, because you don't have to go through a request for proposals.” Elser said Great West has been the town's on-call engineer for about 30 years.
Leavitt said an on-call engineer contract would be placed on the next meeting agenda for council's consideration.
Councilmember Lisa Roberts updated council on a planned May 7 visit by public health, planning, and transportation consultant Mark Fenton. Roberts said the four-hour event will include a walking tour of town, followed by lunch and a workshop to develop ideas for beneficial policies for Ennis. According to markfenton.com, “Mark Fenton speaks regularly on topics ranging from how to create more livable, sustainable and successful cities and towns to delivering innovative personal health and fitness programs for employees and community members. Mark frequently consults with public health, planning, and engineering agencies and private firms on creating more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly communities. He also works closely with work sites and schools to help create healthier settings and more active populations.”
Roberts said she is preparing a town application for the Montana Main Street program. “The Montana Main Street program is administered by the Montana Department of Commerce,” she said. “They help revitalize and do things, not just downtown but throughout communities. They offer technical assistance and other grant funding opportunities....They help communities that are helping themselves. So, if you have people that are volunteering and wanting to see things happen in the community, they're there to assist you, but you have to send in an application and be selected.”