ACT NOW. It’s time to show your support for Missoula farmland. Our County is about to make changes to the Subdivision Regulations that will have a big impact on the remaining farmland. The future of local farmland is hanging in the balance. Let the Commissioners know community farms matter to you. Tell them we need meaningful protections for ag land. Public comment period ends JULY 3.
Missoula County’s proposed framework for Subdivision regulations would require a developer to pay a fee when a proposed subdivision would have a substantial impact on agriculture. Those fees would be put into a fund and used to purchase farmland.
The measure is a step in the right direction but doesn’t go far enough!
The new proposal:
- Removes Local Soils From Protection – The new language only protects farmland that is situated on soils classified as having prime or state importance, not those on local soils. Removing local soils from protection would mean 62% of current farmland in Missoula County would no longer be protected. Classifying soils for this purpose contradicts Montana state law.
- Allows Funds To Be Spent On Things Other Than Farmland – CFAC strongly supports the creation of a fund for farmland, similar to the Open Space fund. The problem with the proposed language is that it would allow the funds to be spent on things such as education or infrastructure as well as land. We maintain that the funds should be spent exclusively on purchasing agricultural land. Our local farmland is a vanishing resource.
- Needs To Provide A Suite of Developer Options – Requiring developers to pay a fee when a subdivision would significantly impact agriculture is a good option in some instances. But it should not be the only option. In other instances, a developer might prefer set aside land on the proposed site that will remain in agriculture, or preserve farmland on another site. Farmland cannot be preserved with money alone. Once farmland disappears, it cannot be replaced, and no amount of money can fix that.
Missoula County is seeking comments through July 3 on the new Framework. Will you join CFAC in voicing your concerns? Tell the County Commissioners the restrictions don’t do enough to protect farmland!
Click here to post your comment on the County’s website:
For more details, here is a link to the County’s proposed Framework: