Seeley Swan Pathfinder -

By Andi Bourne

Contract Not Renewed to Complete Regional Plan


SWAN VALLEY - Missoula County informed Applied Communications Planner Bob Horne and the Swan Valley Community Council (SVCC) that after Horne’s contract for Task 1, writing the first draft, on the Swan Valley Regional Plan was complete Dec. 31, that they would not continue funding him for the three additional tasks. County Planner Mitch Doherty said the decision had nothing to do with Horne’s performance or the plan’s progress.

“This has been a grassroots effort,” said Doherty of the entire process of revising the 1996 Swan Valley Regional Plan. “Our opinion is the work that remains is mostly process-related [outreach, presentations, amendments and hearings]. The bulk of the work was in the envisioning process [completed several years ago] and then completing the first draft. The committee is totally competent to work through the amendments.”

The reason the county picked up the contract was because Swan Valley resident Harry Blazer, who was funding Horne, dropped his funding for the project.

“The county thought that because we had gotten this far, it was a shame to not follow through,” said Horne. “The county took the initiative and contacted me because they wanted to produce something. I appreciate that.”

Horne said his contract with the county was from April 24-Dec. 31. His scope of work was only through the completion of the working draft, or task 1.

“I’m trying to leave the committee in a good place,” said Horne. He intends to incorporate all of the comments from the December meeting and allow the committee to review it prior to Dec. 31.

“I don’t see it as a big issue,” said Swan Valley Regional Planning Committee (SVRPC) Co-Chair Cilla Moseley. “It’s a bump. People on the committee have worked with Bob so much that I think we can follow this the rest of the way through.”

The three other tasks left for the SVRPC to complete include:

• Task 2: Public outreach, agency comment and presenting the draft to the community.

• Task 3: Evaluation of public comments, amend and revise first draft.

• Task 4: Work with the committee to create a final draft and present it to the SVCC for final approval.

In a letter to Horne and the SVCC, Doherty wrote that he will assist the SVRPC and the SVCC in working through the remainder of the process. However, exactly how much county assistance the SVRPC will receive will be determined in the coming weeks.

Doherty emphasized that Missoula County Community and Planning Services (CAPS) staff serves all communities throughout Missoula County. Unlike the Swan Valley, communities such as Frenchtown and Bonner do not yet have regional plans in place. These communities are experiencing real growth pressure that needs to be addressed. Issues such as water quality, transportation and community resilience are very important to them just as they are to those in the Swan Valley.

“Our hope is to find a way to accommodate every community’s needs as they arise; however, our resources are limited,” wrote Doherty in his letter.

“Once a client, always a client,” said Horne who told the SVRPC that he will continue to help in any way he can. “To work with people who are in the community, volunteering their time because they care about the community is what we want. As a planner, it doesn’t get any better than that.”

Moseley said the committee will finalize the first draft at the Jan. 13 meeting and set a date for the public meeting with the SVCC. The draft will be available for public review prior to the public meeting on the Missoula County website, by request from the committee and hard copies will be available at the Swan Valley Library.


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