Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) The developers behind a project that will include both industrial and residential offerings near the Wye are set to begin the project's first phase, they said his week.

The Riverside Industrial Subdivision, planned on 160 acres located near the Wye, was approved by the county last August. Initial approval came with 32 conditions and, on Thursday, the county approved Phase 1 commencement with no changes to those conditions.

The entire project consists of 36 lots, with 25 of them included in Phase 1.

“We're looking forward to getting rolling through design for roads and trails, grading, water and sewer,” said Jeff Smith, a project representative with WGM Group. “It's the same project we talked about with commissioners last year.”

When seeking approval last year, WGM said the first portion of the project will cover roughly 58 acres and include 25 industrial lots. The project will likely seek Phase 2 in the coming years, which will cover 60 acres and include 11 lots planned for residential development.

That portion of the project is waiting for water to reach the area, though that could take time, the county has said.

Missoula County zoning plan for the Wye.
Missoula County zoning plan for the Wye.

Citing a lack of infrastructure, the county in 2020 created a Targeted Economic Development District for much of the Wye, and initial projects like the industrial portion of the Riverside project will help fund that future infrastructure.

Once services reach the area, the 60 acres set aside for residential development in Phase 2 could bring added density to the project. County planners said the zoning guide seeks eight units per acre and with 60 acres reserved for housing, the property could see several hundred housing units, along with a mix of retail, the county has said.

“We have an ever-growing residential community out here, essentially establishing a bedroom community,” Jamie Erbacher with WGM said last year. “The zoning, in combination with the Targeted Economic Development District, will allow the expansion of deficient infrastructure, job creation and the ability to build a denser community where folks already work.”

But this week, neither the county nor the development team indicated future plans for Phase 2, and they gave little detail as to what Phase 1 would include other than saying it was industrial development on 25 lots.

The project is planned at the corner of Deschamps and Moccasin lanes.

“We haven't added any additional conditions of approval from the original subdivision,” said county planner Lauren Ryan.