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Live-work development north of Wye wins approval from Missoula County

The live-work facility is planned on three acres at the intersection of Highway 93 and Waldo Road north of the Wye.

A proposed live-work development on 3 acres off Highway 93 north of the Wye got the green light from the county on Thursday, marking one of the first projects of its kind in Missoula.

The applicant, Jeanette Manley, sought and received approval to rezone the property from strictly residential to commercial. That will enable the developer to blend both residential and commercial uses, which could also include a café.

“The reason for the rezone is our intent to do live-work units here,” said Ryan Frey, the developer’s representative. “It’s currently zoned for 50 units of residential, but we couldn’t have the work component in it.”

The county’s land-use plan for the Wye envisions a commercial center along the Highway 93 corridor. The goals include opportunities for retail, services and employment, as well as “higher intensity residential choices in a well-connected, walkable pattern.”

Frey said the proposed live-work project fits well with the area’s growth and the county’s plans for the corridor.

“Live-work is essentially a living unit above an oversize garage area,” he said. “We’re planning to do at least 12 live-work and then more of a hybrid style. We want to see how the market works.”

The area has evolved over the past year and is poised for additional growth. Love’s built a new truck stop and a nearby RV park has expanded. A new subdivision is planned and the county recently created a new economic development district south of the Wye.

The county this week also approved a zoning request for a light-industrial facility planned near the Wye. The live-work development would be the latest to land in the district.

“This will probably be done in phases so we can change if it’s a model people like,” Frey said. “It seems to be, because Bozeman has quite a few right now.”