MISSOULA - A recent city report shows almost 100,000 people now call Missoula home which is putting growth and development at the forefront of city leaders’ minds.
But the document also says much of Missoula’s recent growth is in less suitable areas, showing the consequences of growing faster than you can build. A report presented to the city this week looked at the placement of new housing units and revealed some surprises.
The city’s growth policy calls for a goal of between 510 and 700 new dwelling units built each year but that goal wasn’t met over the years of 2018-to-2020. Over the three-year period, Missoula saw 846 new houses, 46 duplexes, and 744 multi-dwelling units averaging about 14 units per project.
But, only 4% of that construction took place in areas identified by the city as very suitable for growth while 38% fell in areas identified as minimally suitable. Another 12% took place in areas identified as not suitable at all.
So, what does that mean? Less suitable for growth means further away from infrastructure such as water and sewer -- as well as access to public transportation. The report also shows most of Missoula’s new growth occurred near East Mullan, Miller Creek, and West Mullan.
The report recommends that as the city works to keep up with growth it should consider where services already exist, and where people want to be.