Public hearing on zoning issue


The Miles City Council will hold a public hearing for Diamond J Construction’s request for a proposed zone change, although the request already died at the May 27 council meeting due to lack of a motion to accept it.

The public hearing will be at 7 p.m. June 24 at a council meeting.

John Peila owns Diamond J and had already begun constructing a building for the company south of Miles City on Highway 59. It is within the two-mile area around the city in which the city has zoning jurisdiction.

Peila requested that the 29 acres of land, which is zoned agricultural, be changed to general commercial.

The Miles City Zoning Commission reviewed the request on May 7 and recommended that the council vote against it because the commission felt it met the definition of spot zoning, which is illegal in Montana.

The request came before the council as Ordinance No. 1270. Because no one made a motion to approve the request on May 27, there was no discussion, therefore Peila did not get the opportunity to address the council.

City Attorney Dan Rice stated in an e-mail to the Star that city code requires the council to hold a public hearing and make a decision on the rezoning request after the Zoning Commission has made its recommendation to council.

This is generally accomplished through the passage of an ordinance. 

Also, a public hearing is part of the standard ordinance passage procedure.

Rice stated that, generally speaking, council members are not required to make a motion to approve an ordinance, or to second such a motion on the first reading. Unless there is a motion, second and passage of the first reading of an ordinance, a public hearing and second reading will not occur. As a result, the procedure in the city’s zoning code provisions is not met, as no public hearing was held in this matter because there was no passage of a first reading of the ordinance.  

If the rezone is approved following the public hearing, the matter would then need to be put to ordinance.