The Missoula City Council was all business Monday night, approving two rezoning requests and the construction of a backyard garage/apartment in the lower Rattlesnake neighborhood.
The two-story garage/apartment is considered an accessory dwelling unit, or ADU, as it will add a second residence in the backyard at 1151 Van Buren St.
Located two blocks southeast of Greenough Park, the existing home is 22 feet tall, while the ADU will be 21 feet, 5 inches, according to Jenny Baker of Development Services.
The first floor will be the garage, with a 584-square-foot apartment on the second floor. Entrance to the garage and apartment will be from the alley.
Council members thanked homeowner Joshua Lisbon and architect James Kennedy for working with them on modifications that addressed concerns about the garage’s proximity to the next-door neighbors – specifically eliminating windows from the side of the apartment, so residents cannot see into the adjacent home.
The only dissenting vote came from Councilman Jon Wilkins, who said he doesn’t believe in putting another dwelling on a lot zoned for single-family residential.
“There is already a home on this lot,” he said, repeating the concern he voices each time an ADU comes before the City Council for approval.
The first rezoning request Monday night came from South Crossing, the new shopping center on Missoula’s south side.
The tract of land in question was used as a parking lot for the now-razed Cine 3 theater.
In developing the new shopping center, the property owners discovered that this one parcel – near the intersection of South Reserve and 39th streets – was split-zoned.
So the developers asked council members to designate a single zone, C1-4, or “neighborhood commercial.”
Neighbors did not object to the request, said Drew Larson of Development Services. In fact, he said, the rezoning “will provide predictable uses” of the property, “so the neighbors know what to expect.”
Council members unanimously approved the rezoning, with John DiBari and Emily Bentley absent.
The final rezoning request came from Canyon East, the final piece of a subdivision west of North Reserve Street and north of Expressway.
Larson said the landowner, Wesmont Investments, asked for a new zoning designation to allow more units per acre – with multi-family units the most likely future use.
The property is located between the Windsor Place and Canyon Creek Village subdivisions, also developed by Wesmont Investments.
In his application, developer Perry Ashby said the multi-family construction will “provide a buffer between the surrounding single-family and two-unit houses and the existing commercial uses along Wheeler Drive.”
Council members had questions about parking in the area. Larson said cars do park on both sides of the street, limiting traffic to one lane at times.
Again, this rezoning was unanimously approved.
Sherry Devlin is a longtime Missoula journalist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.