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Missoula city planners hint at new housing projects as code reform, zoning work gear up

Missoula city and county planners announced on Tuesday night that several new subdivisions, as well as a significant rezoning proposal, would be approved in the coming months, according to the Missoula Herald.

As part of its overall code reform and land-use audit, the city will also amend its zoning laws, coordinated with the county.

In celebration of the beginning of a new year and the installation of new members of the Consolidated Planning Board, city and county officials offered board members a preview of what they might anticipate as the year progresses. In the next year, increased expansion and new construction are expected in both the city and the surrounding valley.


According to city planner Dave DeGrandpre, “over the next couple of months, you should expect to see some developments and rezoning throughout the city.” “In April, we will be dealing with a significant rezoning proposal. “You’ll see a lot more staged subdivisions coming into the city,” says the developer.

New subdivision projects are also expected this year; however, county planners anticipate that they will not be submitted until the early summer.


In addition, many of the pending subdivision projects will include phased construction, and housing authorities will monitor the progress of these projects in light of the recent changes in state legislation.


“We’ve spent a lot of time and energy in the past year dealing with phased subdivisions that were built before the 2017 law went into effect, which effectively put a 20-year sunset period on phased development,” said county planner Tim Worley. “We’ve spent a lot of time and energy dealing with 15- to 20-year-old phased subdivisions that were built before the 2017 law went into effect and put a 20-year sunset period on phased development.” “It’s been amazing to watch fresh new phased subdivisions spring up all over the place. They don’t seem to be very different from the old phased subdivisions, although several sideboards weren’t there before.”


Several projects announced last year are also likely to go forward this year, including some in the downtown area. The ancient Missoula site and many other lots in the Riverfront Triangle are also set for redevelopment shortly.


As construction progresses, the city intends to embark on a thorough code reform initiative, including the adoption of a uniform development code. It has been on the public’s radar for some years. It can make considerable changes to the current code, particularly in the areas of housing, transportation, and land use.

Ben Brewer, the city planner, said that, rather than having a variety of rules distributed across numerous organizations and departments, “we’ll consolidate them all in one spot.” In one place, everything will be simple to discover, simplified and clear to the point where everything will be in sync with one another. It’s a significant undertaking in and of itself.”

Brewer said that some amount of “code innovation” would be included in the project. Existing regulations would be coordinated and aligned in this manner, and changes would be made where improvements are required. It might also lead to the discovery of new approaches to achieving the objectives desired by the city.

As an example, Brewer said that modifications to the zoning map and another look at the city’s growth strategy might be included.

“We don’t know what the plans are at this stage, but we want to take a full look at everything,” he added. “We’re just getting started on what’s going to be a very lengthy and drawn-out process.” However, it is building up to be a fascinating and engaging experience.”


In addition, Missoula County will begin work on updating its zoning rules. Construction in the larger Mullan region is starting, and new projects are being proposed, so the work will unfold as it is completed.


“You can’t simply pass zoning legislation and then sit back and watch growth take place over the following 20 years,” he said. “Over time, communities grow and evolve spontaneously. We want to make sure it fits some of the characters. But we also have to recognize there’s a need for change, that change is necessary for certain areas and is desirable in certain areas. We have changing needs in our community.”