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Flynn Ranch flies again

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A hissy fit apparently doesn’t ruin your chances of getting a development proposal reviewed in Missoula. The Missoula City Council, which two weeks ago said “no” to the controversial Flynn Ranch subdivision, changed its mind at Monday night’s council meeting and said it would reconsider the newest plans for the project.

At the February 11 council meeting, developer David Manookian angrily tossed documents on the podium, accused Office of Planning and Grants planner Jenny Dixon of being “a thorn” in his side, and in short order turned the tides against him. The council members rejected the annexation that would have allowed his proposed subdivision to go forward.

This week, Manookian wasn’t in the room—he was on business in southern California, a fact that Alan McCormick, his lawyer, pointed out to the council before its vote on the reconsideration.

“Again I want to apologize for my client’s behavior last time,” McCormick said, assuring council members that Manookian would “behave and be considerate,” if they chose to reconsider his newest proposal.

The latest iteration of the project offers a reconfigured layout, making room for a 100-foot buffer between the 51-house, 80-condo subdivision and the historical property next to it; it also adds some dedicated parkland.

“It is my utmost desire not to let [Manookian] speak to you again,” McCormick said. “I don’t think it did him any favors” and, he added, “it was embarrassing for me.”

The council voted 11-1 to return the new subdivision plan to the Plat, Annexation and Zoning Committee, said Office of Planning and Grants Director Roger Millar, whose office will need to assess the design of the subdivision and report on it for the council.

The only lingering nay vote on the reconsideration proposal came from Ward 4 councilor Jon Wilkins, who explained after the meeting that he knew the reconsideration would win approval, but said he “wanted Manookian to know where I’m coming from before we meet again. I think this subdivision has problems still.”

The council may still decide at a later point to reject the subdivision, as several members pointed out to McCormick. But they’ve bought Manookian and his lawyer more time to smooth over past mistakes.

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