Martin Kidston/Missoula Current

An industrial and housing development planned on 160 acres south of the Wye was cleared for development last week after Missoula County commissioners approved the proposal with a number of conditions.

The Riverside Industrial Major Subdivision, proposed by Riverside Contracting Inc., was approved in two phases at the corner of Deschamps and Moccasin lanes.

The industrial portion of the development is set to move first. That portion of the project cover 58 acres and includes 24 industrial lots.

“The industrial portion and its infrastructure will be in Phase One,” said county planner Matt Heimel. “That is proposed to be filed by 2025. The residential portion with its infrastructure would be filed by 2028 in Phase Two.”

While the residential piece of the project covers 60 acres and currently includes just 24 lots, that's expected to change once sewer and water reaches the area.

Development Wye

Citing a lack of infrastructure, Missoula County in 2020 created a Targeted Economic Development District for much of the Wye. New projects, such as the industrial portion of the Riverside development, will pay to fund improvements within the district's boundaries including sewer, water and other vital infrastructure.

That would enable Riverside to build housing on the 60 acres at a greater density, said Jamie Erbacher with the WGM Group.

“We need to look at the area as a whole. We already have an industrial area at the Wye. We have an ever-growing residential community out here as well, essentially establishing a bedroom community,” Erbacher said. “While the old zoning somewhat hindered development at the Wye, the new zoning, in combination with the TEDD, will allow expansion of deficient infrastructure, job creation and the ability to build a denser community where folks already work.”

The county's new zoning guide calls for greater density as well. For the Riverside parcel, county planners said the guide seeks eight residential units per acre. With 60 acres reserved for housing, the property could see several hundred housing units, along with a mix of retail.

The developers also plan to make improvements to the stretch of Deschamps and Moccasin lanes that bound the property.

“We need housing, and this is a perfectly good place for more housing,” said Commissioner Josh Slotnick.