How many ways can there be to oppose city sewer? At least two, so far: File a lawsuit against the City of Missoula or try to form your own town. When City Council voted earlier this year to extend sewer to 477 homes up the Rattlesnake, a group of residents filed a lawsuit, which is still pending, against the city. Now, the Target Range and Orchard Homes area, west of Reserve Street, is in line for sewering. In response, the Target Range Homeowners Association is considering the formation of a new town.
“Why form a town now? Can’t we wait?” asks a Target Range Homeowners Association question-and-answer leaflet. The corresponding answer: “The city plans to sewer us in 2005 and has already surveyed the area for sewer. We need to act NOW!”
The Target Range Homeowners’ literature indicates a sense of urgency, but contacted members aren’t interested in discussing the proposal with the press just yet. The handout material, however, explains that area residents do not want the development that sewer will likely bring, and they want more control over their neighborhood.
“We will lose control over our rural community and we will be governed by the Missoula City Council, which has a poor record of planning, maintaining neighborhood character, preventing traffic congestion, promoting ugly in-fill and conserving taxes,” reads one leaflet, under the heading “Loss of Control.”
County commissioners have not been presented with a formal proposal for incorporation yet, says Commissioner Bill Carey. If, in fact, Target Range makes a successful bid, it would become only the second incorporated municipality within Missoula County.
Fliers indicate that Target Range Homeowners Association members believe they could run a town on a shoestring budget: “There are [Montana] small towns that operate with a clerk and a 3 hour/week, homemaker judge. Our town would be a low-key operation [that] outsources services to existing providers.”