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Council Expected to Extend Montana Ordinance

By Lookout Staff

Dec. 15 -- The City Council Tuesday night is expected to extend an emergency ordinance intended to give the City more time to revise development standards for Montana Avenue that could help preserve what's left of the trendy strip's homespun flavor.

The revisions were to have been completed before the ordinance expires on February 27, but planning staff's "current work load, competing priorities and existing staff vacancies," have delayed the process, according to the staff report.

Tuesday's vote would extend the ordinance, which was approved three and a half years ago, to September 2004.

The ordinance -- which covers the stretch of Montana between 6th Court and 17th Street -- banned any new coffee houses and other establishments that don't provide table service, freezing the number at 19.

It also lowered from 11,000 square feet to 5,000 square feet the size of proposed developments that require Planning Commission approval.

The move was expected to alleviate a parking crunch caused by increased development and the popularity of coffee houses, which are concentrated in a five-block area.

City officials will hold meetings with the area's two neighborhood organizations and its merchants association to get feedback on the ordinance and to help determine which provisions should be retained in a permanent ordinance.
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