Hampton Parks Divestment Proposal

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Project Updates

March 8th, 2018

Here is the compiled record of comment received during the outreach period. From the responses received, we heard keen interest from the neighborhood to retain and enhance area parks and open space. 

As previously explained, the basis for exploring divestment of these parks came from a recommendation in the County’s Parks and Trails Master Plan. The plan lists five criteria for consideration of sale:

  1. Lack of Conservation Value
  2. Lack of Recreation Value
  3. Liability
  4. Local Support
  5. Cost

The plan states, “If the park in question meets the above criteria, then the Parks [and Trails Advisory] Board will recommend that the Board of County Commissioners sell the land.” Based on the lack of local support received for selling Hampton Parks North and South, the criteria for consideration of sale cannot be met. Therefore, the exploration process is concluded and there will be no further action taken on the divestiture of Hampton Parks North and South at this time. 

The Parks and Trails Advisory Board will receive an update on the outreach process and subsequent conclusion of the divestment exploration during their upcoming meeting scheduled for: Thursday March 15th, 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Missoula County Courthouse Annex - Room 151, 200 W. Broadway (Entrance off Pine Street). As the exploration process is now concluded, there will not be an action item on the agenda requiring the board to make a recommendation on the sale of the Hampton Parks.

The status of the request from the neighboring landowner to recover possession of the agricultural building in Hampton Park North remains unresolved. We will begin working to develop options that seek to align the goals of the County to reduce liability with that of the neighbor to assume possession.

Project Overview

Missoula County is currently assessing the feasibility of selling Hampton Parks North and South located in the Turah community, shown in the maps below. 

Overview map showing the location of Hampton Parks

Overview Map 

Detailed map of the Hellgate Pines Neighborhood

Hellgate Parks labled_Tiff

Why is the County considering selling these parks?

  1. Implementing the Missoula County Parks and Trails Master Plan. The guiding document for management of Missoula County's park system, the Parks and Trails Master Plan (2012), recommends exploring divestiture of 15 parks for having one or more of the following conditions: 

    • Lacking either recreation or conservation potential
    • Other County Parks nearby provide greater potential for recreation and conservation
    • Access is restricted or limited
    • Generally unsuitable for development due to geographical or topographical circumstances

    Hampton Parks North and South were recommended for divestment consideration given their close proximity to Hellgate Park and their appearance as undeveloped subdivision lots. These parks are also relatively isolated for the majority of residents within the Turah and Clinton planning region.

  2. Hampton Park North contains an agricultural building that predates the filing of the subdivision plat in 1974. In its current state, the building poses a liability to the County and limited to no public benefit. A neighboring landowner, whose family subdivided the land, wishes to recover possession of the building. He has requested the County implement its plan to consider selling Hampton Parks.

Legal Basis:

Establishment of MCA 7-16-2324 in 1975 clarified the legal basis for political subdivisions of the state (i.e. counties) to divest of “lands dedicated for park and playground purpose” so long as requirements of the statute are followed.

What is the procedure for selling County park property?

Montana law specifies the requirements for selling, leasing, or exchanging dedicated park lands through MCA 7-16-2324. The actual procedure for sale is defined in MCA 7-8-2511 and is as follows: 

(1) The board [of County Commissioners] shall make an order for public auction of any lands classified for sale. Such sale shall be held at the front door of the county courthouse.
(2) Notice of the sale shall be given by publishing notice as provided in 7-1-2121. The notice shall describe the land to be sold and the appraised value thereof.
(3) No sale may be made for less than the appraised value of the land, as fixed by the board. The sale shall be for cash or on such terms as the board may approve provided at least 20% of the purchase price shall be paid in cash.
(4) The lessee, permittee, or licensee of any of the lands then subject to a lease, permit, or license shall have a preference to purchase the lands at an amount equal to that bid by the highest bidder at the sale.

What would be done with the sale proceeds?

All sale proceeds would be placed in Missoula County's Parks and Trails Program account and then reserved for deferred maintenance or development of parks and trails located within the Turah and Clinton communities. This is the same model the County uses for cash-in-lieu of park land dedication when new subdivisions are platted. This generates one-time revenue for parks and trails projects in the specific planning area where the subdivision is located. 

Have the County Commissioners made a determination on whether or not to sell the park?

No. The Missoula Board of County Commissioners will await a recommendation from the Parks and Trails Citizen Advisory Board before making a determination. Please see the project updates section at the top of this page. 

Comments Received

View record of public comment received on the divestment proposal

More information

Additional information including a staff assessment of various determination criteria for sale of the Hampton Parks, including the extent of conservation and recreation value offered at these parks, can be found here:  "Hampton Parks Divestment Exploration: Preliminary Staff Review" (PDF)

Project contact:

John Stegmaier, 258-3458. jstegmaier@missoulacounty.us

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