MISSOULA — Traffic, safety and lack of public parks were the main concerns some residents voiced to the Missoula City Council about a rezoning proposal north of Mullan Road.
It's a rezoning effort by the developer to change the current zoning from Residential Medium to Neighborhood Mixed Use, hoping it meets Missoula's city growth policy.
The possible rezoning of 57 acres off Mullan Road is the first of many the city council will encounter to keep pace with Missoula's housing needs. But it’s a balance of meeting those housing needs while also keeping current residents happy with the changes.
The city council heard from multiple residents in opposition of this proposal during a Monday evening public hearing. Those residents all stated they are aware the empty field will eventually be developed. For them, this is not the issue.
They are concerned the already dense roads and housing in the area will become unbearable with this planned development. The residents also voiced concerns about a vague "master plan" from the developer. They asked for reassurance on what this plan will look like.
On the flip side, the developer is meeting Missoula's city growth policy, as there is the need for affordable housing. Also, the developer has already made adjustments to the original plan in hopes of meeting in the middle with the neighboring residents.
This was not the final public hearing - there is one more in two weeks. The developer also wants to hold another neighborhood meeting before then to continue to discuss concerns.
Another interesting aspect to this story is that residents within 150 feet of this proposal signed a petition in opposition. Under state law, when a certain percentage of signatures is met, it forces the city council to pass this proposal with a two-thirds vote, rather than 50%.
This is the case for this proposal as they have the needed amount of signatures to force the change.