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Billings City Council hears about subdivision regulations update, including lights proposal

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Posted at 12:35 AM, Jul 02, 2024

BILLINGS - The city is looking at updating subdivision regulations and lighting is a big part of the discussion.

The Annafeld Subdivision is one of those cited in the city council agenda as having good lighting.

Those living in the subdivision say the streets are well-lit at night.

"It's luminated so you definitely can see the road and the oncoming traffic with people parked and walking across the street," said Katy Stricker.

"With the way they're spaced along the block, it makes it where you can see all the way down," said Molly McCrary.

The safety of the neighborhoods is the main reason for proposing the requirement of lighting in new residential subdivisions.

“I would submit that some residential lighting out there would help to deter some of that crime,” said Dan Brooks, Billings Chamber of Commerce business advocacy director. “And I think we should be looking at that in other neighborhoods.”

Brooks made his comments at a Billings City Council work session on Monday night.

He said the city has good lighting on many roads and requiring lights in subdivisions would be a crime deterrent, and cited a recommendation from the city's Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design or CPTED.

"In the guidelines for strong neighborhoods, the growth policy states zoning and subdivision regulations that utilize Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, CPTED, strategies result in safer neighborhoods,” Brooks said.

Lighting is just one of the issues presented to the council in a 153-page proposal of subdivision regulation changes.

The options to pay for lighting presented include taxing districts and private contracts.

But the council also heard some opposition to the idea and stated in an agenda document that “the greatest opposition was to the requirement proposed for street lighting.”

“I really would not like to see us start to make all the residential streets require street lighting for a lot of different reasons,” Councilman Roy Neese said the work session. “If the developer or the homeowners themselves want it, sure.”

The planning board recommended the changes and stated there are no fiscal effects to the city.

“It's pretty bright,” Stricker said about the lights in the Annafeld Subdivision. “I can see the people if I'm outside or my ring camera goes off.”

"I can see who's walking by,” McCrary said about the neighborhood. “It makes it feel a lot better versus headed out in the pitch black.”