April 9, 2018
Livingston City Commissioners – firstname.lastname@example.org
Dorel Hoglund, Chair
Quentin Schwartz, Vice Chair
Re: Livingston Deserves a Better Growth Policy
As residents of the City of Livingston and Park County, we the undersigned request that the city prioritize a comprehensive update to the Livingston Growth Policy. We believe an update is necessary for a variety of reasons but most importantly to ensure Livingston is in compliance with Montana state statute and also to ensure residents have an opportunity to participate in the future of our city. We are proud of the process of revising and updating the Park County Growth Policy and believe Livingston can experience similar success.
While Montana’s growth policy statute (MCA §76-1-601) is explicit in outlining necessary components, the statute also offers suggestions for inclusion of additional elements. In a review of the City of Livingston’s Growth Policy, we find it to be deficient in the following regards:
The date of the current Growth Policy is unclear. The website says 2017, the document notes an original adoption date of 2004 with subsequent “amendments” but the date of the last formal amendment process is unclear. This is not helpful to the public.
The current Growth Policy includes neither a table of contents nor another such guide that would help explain the document’s overall format and contents. This is not helpful to the layperson who wishes to use the document as a guide for determining how the city seeks to meet stated goals and objectives.
While the goals and objectives are clearly stated on pages 1 and 2, the genesis of these community goals and objectives is unclear. Implementation of these goals and objectives is also unclear. Section 3(d) of §76-1-601 requires growth policies to include “a description of policies, regulations, and other measures to be implemented in order to achieve the goals and objectives…”
It is generally unclear how the public was involved in the overall growth policy process. From the origin of the goals and objectives, to statements within the document, there is no indication of public participation found within the Livingston Growth Policy.
We question data and statements that are clearly outdated:
“Given the relatively stable population, the overall housing stock seems to be adequate.”
“Since the last Growth Policy update, overall economic trends have taken a downward swing …”
The document’s “implementation” chapter does not provide a clear timetable as required by statute (Without footnotes or clear articulation of when the growth policy was last amended, it is difficult to know if Livingston has met the requirement “for reviewing the growth policy at least once every five years.”).
In general, the current growth policy is clearly outdated and we feel fails to reflect the values and expectations that citizens attribute to Livingston.
We believe Livingston deserves a top-notch growth policy document to help guide our future and we are heartened by the realization found in the current document’s introduction: “this document should be replaced with a more comprehensive and modern document as soon as it becomes financially feasible.”
Many residents care deeply about the future of our community and are eager to participate in a robust, public planning process to help Livingston plan ahead. As your constituents, we ask you to work with the Livingston Planning Board to find necessary resources to start the process of revising our Growth Policy.
Please consider signing-on in support of the letter above to the Livingston City Commission. The letter points out a number of failings in the current growth policy and encourages the commission to start working on a revision. We thank you in advance for your support.