Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) While the City Council this week cleared a south Missoula subdivision from its work list, it now has a new subdivision to consider, this time in the Sxwtpqyen neighborhood.

The West End Farms subdivision, proposed by Evergreen Housing Solutions at Flynn Lane and England Boulevard, covers 71 acres and provides 26 acres of open space. Of that open space, 10 acres would be open to farming.

The development would cluster 260 lots on what remains outside the open space. The project received a unanimous recommendation for approval last week from the Consolidated Planning Board as it intended provide an array of housing types at various price points, which haven't been identified.

“By including those various housing options in an area, you get more diverse neighborhood design and that can create differences in income availability and age classes within the neighborhood,” said project representative Joe Dehnert with IMEG in Missoula. “The layout we're proposing enables that.”

The housing types 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.

Unlike those structures, however, those planned at West End Farms would be built to look like larger homes but designed from the beginning to include multiple living units.

“It's a way to increase density and provide that difference in building types,” Dehnert said. “This offers for a lot of families that step between apartment living and single-family ownership.”

The Sxwtpqyen Master Plan identifies various areas for certain development styles. 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.

It's the first to be reviewed by city staff and considered by City Council under the Sxwtpqyen Master Plan, which leans heavily on form-based code.

“Form-based code focuses primarily on how structures look and are cited rather than the uses within them,” said city planner Cassie Tripard. “It really strives to create a mix of housing types. Even though these are large swaths of land being developed at once, it's supposed to look more organic and provide housing types at different price points and for different mixes of people.”

The City Council opened its public hearing on the project on Wednesday and will hold it open through Monday night. While it's the first project to be reviewed under the Sxwtpqyen Master Plan, it's just one of several subdivisions slated for the neighborhood, which is expected to accommodate around 6,000 housing units when fully developed.

“I do think this is a refreshing project, especially in light of today's entire conversation on code reform,” Dehnert said. “The city has shown collaboration throughout this process and I think that moving into any code reform bodes well for development.”