What's Hamilton going to look like in five years? Really, what's Hamilton going to look like in one year? The COVID pandemic has increased the growth pressure on all of Montana, but Hamilton has been a popular destination, as shown by a sudden lack of housing. And for homes that are still available for sale or rent, the prices have skyrocketed up and up.

But that's only part of the growth picture. And Hamilton City Planner Matthew Rohrbach is in the midst of a growth plan that builds on previous comprehensive plans for the city. "Envision Hamilton" started with a look at the current situation and how the previous plans coincided with development. Many of those findings are at the plan's Envision Hamilton website.

Now, Phase Two is starting, with a look to the future, keeping in mind how commercial and residential developments can immediately change a neighborhood and all the associated infrastructure - water, sewer, transportation, fire safety and law enforcement. How do you do that and keep the general taxes down?

Available housing is another current problem, Rohrbach said. "Certainly, the growth we're seeing now is at a much greater pace than we have seen in the past." He noted the good-paying jobs that Hamilton companies are trying to fill, but a lack of suitable housing is often the hardest part of bringing someone into the community. How can the City of Hamilton help?

A Land Use Workshop day is Tuesday, November 9th, at Hamilton's City Hall. There will be three chances for the public to come and discuss the future. The interactive workshops will be at 9 a.m., 12 noon and 6 p.m. There will be plenty of information about the current conditions and there will be smaller discussion groups to come up with ideas.

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This discussion phase of the plan will continue. The next workshops will be online - two virtual workshops on Zoom on November 17 at 12 noon and November 18 at 6 p.m. Again, check the Envision Hamilton website. It's your opportunity to help the city try to grow and still be "Hamilton." You can call City Hall at 406 -363-2101 if you have questions.

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