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Billings City Council approves Project Re:Code second reading, more public comment to follow

Posted at 12:19 AM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 02:19:39-05

BILLINGS — The major overhaul to Billings zoning code, Project Re:Code, took another step closer to becoming law Monday night after the City Council voted 8-3 to approve Project Re:Code's second reading.

The vote approved a number of amendments in the double digits to the proposed code brought forward by Council Members over about five hours of discussion.

Voting in favor were Council Members Mike Boyette, Penny Ronning, Denise Joy, Mike Yakawich, Danny Choriki, Kendra Shaw and Shaun Brown. Voting in opposition were Council Members Frank Ewalt, Roy Neese and Pam Purinton.

The amendments changed small aspects of the code relating to garage width for various structures and many small "housekeeping" changes fixing typos or adding small errors in language. Changes to the code are listed in red in the city document that can be accessed by clicking here.

Council Members opted to have a third reading on Project Re:Code. The item will be placed on the consent agenda at the next Council meeting scheduled for January 19 with an opportunity for the public to comment.

Normally, proposed laws only need a second reading before the Council can approve them to be put on the books. The Council opted for a third reading reading to allow the public another opportunity to comment.

Before Monday's Council discussion on Project Re:Code, the public was allowed to comment on its merits and contents. Public comment will again be taken ahead of Council discussion now that Re:Code's third reading has been placed on what's known as the consent agenda.

At the top of every regular Council meeting, the consent agenda usually has multiple, smaller items that don't garner much discussion like the payment of city bills or the city's acceptance of grant money. The consent agenda items are wrapped up into one vote, usually.

Council discussions near the end of the meeting indicated the goal for the third reading was to allow the public to comment on the Council's amendments made Monday to the new zoning code.

Visig the Project Re:Code web site to learn more about the years-long effort to update the laws to buld in Billings by clicking here.

To view the entire meeting, click here.

RELATED: Billings City Council postpones major zoning vote pending revisions and talks with business groups