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Billings City Council annexes and rezones land for more housing

Posted at 11:06 PM, Feb 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-14 08:01:52-05

BILLINGS - The Billings City Council voted on Monday night to annex and rezone land on the West End that would develop more housing, including an apartment complex.

It's an idea that concerns residents already living nearby.

Several steps are on the agenda for the proposed project involving two, six and eight plexes and apartment-style buildings on land near Shiloh Road and Central Avenue.

The council voted unanimously to approve the annexation and the rezoning passed by a 6-3 vote.

Some of the supporters say it's affordable housing while some in the nearby neighborhoods have some concerns.

Developers proposed that the city of Billings is to annex that land that is now zoned in Yellowstone County as agriculture open space.

Dorn Property and Homes, LLC and Dorn/Lowe, LLCi petitioned for the zone change a mixed residential plan neighborhood development.

"I'm very cognizant of the fact that I don't live in that neighborhood," Katie Harrison said about her support for the housing. "I'm very much in support of any effort to provide more housing and most importantly, I think, affordable housing."

"Any housing, any multifamily housing is good housing for the city," said Virginia Duke who supports the project. "We have underproduced and we need more housing to fill that shortage."

"I would like to see more development like that within the city limits," said Melissa Smith, who is also in favor of the plan. "I think it would be great for growing our workforce for boosting our economy."

The neighbors have a petition challenging a zone change, stating it is not designed for public safety, public health, water, sewer schools and parks.

"We're concerned with the increased flow of traffic," said Toby Erickson, who lives near land for the proposed project. "We're concerned with the increased population, fire and rescue, increased load on the school system."

"If that becomes a high-traffic street, my property values are definitely going to go down from where they were," said Roger Furman, also a nearby resident. "And as I said, it's going to change the complexity of the entire area."

"There has been no discussion about the environmental impact of those vehicles, vehicle runoff and everything else that could contaminate the groundwater," said one man during the public comment.