Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) The second phase of a housing project off Mullan Road made its debut before the Missoula City Council on Monday night and would include 33 units if approved.

With recent changes in city ordinance, the proposal could be the last townhome exemption development, or TED, that includes more than 10 units to go before council for approval.

Hoyt Homes, represented by WGM Group, is nearly finished with Phase 1 of the Hellgate Village subdivision off Mary Jane Boulevard. The second phase covers nearly 3 acres and is surrounded by residential development in the growing Sxwtpqyen Neighborhood.

“We're excited to see the second half of this project moving forward,” said Kate Dinsmore with WGM Group.

The project would include 19 single-family homes, five two-unit townhouses and one 4-unit townhouse. The entire project sits west of Mary Jane Boulevard and was presented as a TED.

Townhome exemptions were created by the Montana Legislature several years ago to expedite review and development. Hellgate Village entered the planning process in 2018 while the city's TED ordinance was in effect and unchanged.

But the City Council in 2019 amended the ordinance, essentially capping the number of units that could be included in a TED under the traditional approach. It prohibited TEDs of more than 10 units, though the Hellgate Village project is exempt given it was presented before the ordinance change took effect.

“We didn't used to have those size caps,” said planning supervisor Cassie Trippard. “When the code was amended, it shrunk it down.”

The City Council will consider approving the project in committee this week before final consideration next Monday.

“They (TEDs) don't go to planning board or go through normal process because they generally follow zoning that's already in place,” said council member Mike Nugent. “It's a tool the Legislature created several years ago to make things more efficient.”