Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) A subdivision approved in 2013 received a three-year extension from Missoula County last week to file its final plat, giving the 70-lot project more time to complete its phasing plan.

The Gallatin Estates Subdivision, planned by Michael Maine and represented by the IMEG Corp., covers 33 acres north of Interstate 90 off Waldo Road, roughly one mile west of the Wye.

County planner Glenn Ingram said the project was initially approved with 32 conditions. Phase 1 and 2 were due for submittal in June while Phase 3 was due in 2025.

But the county's subdivision regulations allow for an extension of one to three years. Applying the full 3-year extension to Phase 1 now places June 2026 as the deadline to submit the entire project's final plat.

Ingram said the modified timeline still complies with the county's subdivision regulations.

“The site conditions in this area remain relatively unchanged from the time of approval,” Ingram said. “The surrounding area is experiencing increased development, but these changes in the Wye area, including the Waldo Road realignment, have been anticipated and planned for the last 10 years.”

Missoula County has identified the Wye as the next area suited for urban development, though it currently lacks the infrastructure needed to support and guide the growth.

The land-use element adopted by the county in 2019 identifies areas around the Wye as neighborhood residential with roughly eight dwelling units per acre. Gallatin Estates proposes two dwelling units per acre, according to the county's staff report.

Layout and phasing plan for the Gallatin Estates Subdivision.
Layout and phasing plan for the Gallatin Estates Subdivision.

The county contracted WGM Group as a consultant last year in a push to create an infrastructure plan for the Wye, including water and sewer, a street grid and other urban needs.

While current growth is heavily concentrated around the greater Mullan area, the county believes the Wye will emerge as the next hotbed of residential and commercial development. Several other subdivisions are proposed or in development within the area.

That includes O'Keefe Ranch Estates – a 192-lot subdivision on 80 acres north of I-90 – and Riverside, which covers 160 acres south of I-90 and could see several hundred units of housing along with a small industrial component.

“I'm glad to see housing go in at the Wye,” said Commissioner Josh Slotnick. “Good luck getting this done.”