MISSOULA – Members of the planning committee on Tuesday approved a property developer application to rededicate a lot along Highway 93 before planning a residential complex with a commercial component.
The 3 acre property is north of the Wye and is currently designated as a residential area. The plaintiff, Jeanette Manley, is calling on the county to convert this zoning into business parks.
“It is designed for up to 50 residential units, which would be a residential building with 50 units,” said district planner Ryan Frey. “Instead, we would live and work 40 to 50 units. It is essentially a storage room, a place where small businesses, artists or craftsmen can work and live above or next to these units. “
The county’s developing land use plan for the Wye provides for a commercial center along the Highway 93 corridor. The goals include opportunities for retail, services and employment, as well as “a more intensive choice of housing in a well-connected, walking pattern”.
When the application for the surrounding area was approved, members of the group planning committee suggested the live work concept with a retail component that matched the vision of the corridor.
“This is a really interesting offer for this property,” says planning director Ellie Costello. “The idea of concentrating services in a region that doesn’t have that many services could be a great thing to start creating some of the proposed hubs with some of the rezoning the county is working on.”
The area has evolved over the past year and is ready for further growth. Love has built a new rest area and a nearby RV park has been expanded. A new subdivision is planned and the county recently created a new economic development district south of the Wye.
The applicant’s representative, Ryan Frey of Frameworks, said the proposed residential work development fits well with the area’s growth and the county’s plans for the corridor.
“These types of buildings have been successful in Billings and Bozeman,” he said. “It would create a unique experience, not in an apartment model, but rather in a condominium model.”
Frey said the project would likely include a commercial place like a deli, “we think the people there justify it.”
Missoula County commissioners will review the new zone application in the coming weeks.