Zoning for the most part hasn’t changed since the 1970’s in Missoula County, so Community and Planning staff is asking for public input on proposed updates that will affect affordable housing, agriculture, water quality and wildlife.

Community and Planning Services Senior Planner Andrew Hagemaier provided details about the project.

“Missoula County adopted a zoning regulation for roughly the area from generally the Wye over to Bonner; Miller Creek up to the Rattlesnake, that general area,” said Hagemaier. “So this isn't a countywide zoning, it's a Missoula Valley zoning, and that was in the 1970s, I think the exact date was in 1976 that they adopted it. We've been making tweaks to it over time, but we've never really did a complete reset.”

Hagemaier said that obviously the housing situation in Missoula County has changed drastically since the 1970’s.

“How we looked at housing in 1976 is totally different than what our housing needs are today,” he said. “But also things like the way we think about our community, wildlife and water quality and commercial use. It has evolved a lot and so it just felt like it was just time for us to take a step back and take a big look at our zoning code and basically reset.”

Hagemaier said there will be two rounds of workshops, virtual and in person.

“We'll have online topical workshops and they'll start on July 29,” she said. “We will have one on August 5, August 10 and August 12, and the first workshop will be on housing. The second workshop will be on riparian resources and the third workshop will be on agricultural lands. Our fourth workshop will be to be determined based off of public input, what issues are the public seen with the code and then we'll design a workshop for emerging issues.”

Hagemaier described the in-person workshops.

“In our in-person open houses, you can come anytime before between 4:00 p.m.and 7:00 p.m., so it's not a definite start time. You're free to show up whenever, and those will be starting on July 28. The first one will be in West Riverside at the Barn. We'll have one on August 4, which will be on the Barn on Mullan Road, which is a private facility but it will be open to the public. There'll be one on August 11 at Orchard Homes Country Life Club and then August 18 at East Missoula Lions Park.”

Hagemaier said he proposed code focuses on the ‘missing middle’ housing, which will increase the diversity of housing types and provide homes for people of all incomes and all stages of life. By allowing more housing types, the housing market will become more resilient to market stressors.


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