Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) The first subdivision proposed under the Sxwtpqyen Master Plan west of Mullan Road won unanimous approval Monday night from the Missoula City Council, where it was praised for its creativity and array of housing types.

The West End Farms subdivision, proposed by Evergreen Housing Solutions, covers 71 acres and will provide 26 acres of open space, including 10 acres of farmland.

“It's a model we can look to moving forward for innovative housing development to address the variety of needs we have in our community,” said council member Stacie Anderson. “It's a new idea, and this is the type of thing we were hoping for when we were having those conversations in the Sxwtpqyen area around form-based codes.”

Form based codes focus largely on how a building looks and how it's cited rather that uses. In doing so, it strives to create a mix of housing types, and often at different price points.

The development will cluster 260 lots on roughly 45 acres. Housing types will range from single-family homes to townhomes and condominiums. It also introduces what city staff described as “mansion apartments,” similar to many large, historic homes in the University District that have been converted into apartments.

“The development group is trying something new and has been open to an idea that attempted affordable housing and open space all in one,” said council member Mike Nugent.

The Sxwtpqyen Master Plan identifies various areas for certain types of development. The section eyed for West End Farms sits in the “Crossroads Center,” which is intended to serve as a transition between existing neighborhoods to the east and higher-intensity development planned to the north and west.

The project was the first to be reviewed by city staff under the Sxwtpqyen Master Plan, and it received unanimous support from the Missoula Consolidated Planning Board late last year. It may also be Missoula's first “agrihood” by design.

“This project, being an agrihood, kind of continues the tradition that used to take place in this area,” said council member Mirtha Becerra. “I think this profit-share model is interesting and one that can be replicated in our community.”

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