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Missoula City Council weighs rezone for senior living center

Missoula 6th Street Senior Housing
Posted at 10:08 AM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 12:08:52-04

MISSOULA — A developer has asked the Missoula City Council to rezone property on South 6th Street, where the company plans to build a senior living center reserved for those aged 55 and up.

Proposed by Hogan Senior Living LLC, the project would include 36 units comprised of 13 one-bedroom suites and 23 studios. The apartments would share a communal kitchen, dining and living spaces.

Mike Robinson, the project’s managing member, said the firm purchased the property from the First Presbyterian Church last November with senior housing in mind.

“It’s our intent of what the building is going to be,” Robinson said. “It’s also the intent of what we proposed to the church when we bought the property from them. They sold the property to us with that intent.”

The project looks to provide attainable housing for seniors close to city services and existing amenities. The development sits two blocks west of Higgins Avenue.

“We feel really good about the neighborhood,” said Colin Lane with MMW architects. “There’s tons of amenities within walking distance. There’s great bus access.”

City planners on Wednesday said the project meets the goals of Missoula’s housing policy, which calls for an inventory of diverse housing types and prices across all incomes.

It also meets the city’s growth policy goals, which calls for inward and upward development to preserve land on the urban fringe.

Still, several council members expressed concerns over parking. Under the zoning, the project would only require two parking spaces, though the developers have proposed more than six spaces.

“I think it’s going to be problematic,” council member Julie Merritt said of parking. “I wish it was coming with a few more parking spaces.”

City planners said parking is also available on the street.

The project brings additional density to what has long served as a single-family neighborhood. But several homes once on the property fell into disrepair and have since been deconstructed.

The City Council will consider the zoning request on Monday night.

“I don’t think we can have this type of living scenario on every street corner in a residential neighborhood,” said council member Gwen Jones. “But I think there’s a capacity to absorb some.”