1

Missoula builder plans live-work facility north of Wye, wins planning board approval

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

Members of the planning board on Tuesday approved a developer’s request to rezone a parcel of property along Highway 93 ahead of plans to build a live-work facility with a commercial component.

Located north of the Wye, the 3-acre parcel is currently zoned as residential. The applicant, Jeanette Manley, is asking the county to change that zoning to commercial.

“It’s zoned for up to 50 residential units, which would be a 50-unit apartment building,” said county planner Ryan Frey. “Instead of that, we’d do 40 to 50 units of live and live-work. It’s essentially a warehouse space, a place where small businesses, artists or trades people can work and live above or beside those units.”

The county’s evolving 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.”

In approving the rezone request, members of the Consolidated Planning Board suggested the live-work concept with a retail component fit with visions for the corridor.

“It’s a really interesting proposal for this property,” said planning board member Ellie Costello. “The idea of having concentrated services in a region that doesn’t have as many services could be a great thing to start creating some of the hubs proposed with some of the rezoning the county is working on.”

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 applicant’s representative, Ryan Frey with Frameworks, said the proposed live-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-based model but more of a condo model.”

Frey said the project would likely include one commercial spot, such as a deli.

“We feel the population there warrants that,” he said.

Missoula County commissioners will consider the rezone request in the weeks ahead.