Current Projects in City Planning

/AR Adaptive Reuse Overlay District

Development Services is currently developing a new Zoning District Overlay for the purpose of aiding in the adaptive reuse of Historically Significant Buildings. Adaptive reuse is defined as the process of reusing an existing building, or portion of a building, for a purpose other than which it was originally built or designed for, or currently used. With the recent growth, change and development taking place in Missoula, it has become clear that incentivizing historic preservation and building reuse in Title 20 is necessary and could benefit from the establishment of an /AR Overlay.

Why Consider Making Updates? 

- We have a variety of under-utilized or vacant buildings within the City

- Current regulations make a change of use difficult, if not impossible, in order to reuse these buildings

- The ordinance will support the City’s plans and policies related to historic preservation, housing, inward growth, sustainability and economic development

What is the City Trying to Accomplish Through this Effort? 

- Identify and define the criteria for an existing building to be eligible for the /AR Overlay

- Identify a process for reviewing adaptive reuse projects

- Identify possible incentives for adaptive reuse

What is the Purpose of the Ordinance? 

- Allow the reuse of buildings while also maintaining and protecting a neighborhood’s unique historic built form and character

- Support and implement existing City plans & policies

- Create an informed and structured process for reusing existing buildings

- Create incentives for the reuse of existing buildings

- Promote historic preservation through adaptive reuse projects

The Proposed /AR Ordinance Permits Specific Modifications to the Following Standards:

  • Use: Regardless of the underlying zoning, the City Council may approve a mix of use types within an /AR District as a means of accommodating the reuse of any qualified building. 
  • Density: The /AR District can exceed the maximum density established by the underlying zoning district for the site, so long as no new floor area is added, and the added density is allowable by building code.
  • Building Code: Adaptive reuse projects may qualify for alternative building code compliance subject to Section 3409 of the International Building Code. (Building code can be used outside the overlay, this is not a modification specific to the overlay, but is a commentary)
  • Fire Code: Projects within an /AR District shall comply with provisions in accordance with NFPA 914, Code for Fire Protection of Historic Structures, and shall not be subject to the International Fire Code if the building does not constitute a distinct hazard to life or property, per section 102.6 IFC.
  • Expedited Review: Projects within an /AR District shall receive expedited review throughout the City’s plan review process.
  • Fees: Administrative fees associated with adoption of an /AR District will be reduced by half.

The proposed language can be found here. For additional reference, the current Historic Preservation Permit (HPP) process 20.85.085, can be found here

Public Hearings

The Planning Board will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, July 2, 2019 beginning at 7:00 p.m., in the Missoula City Council Chambers, 140 W. Pine Street, Missoula, MT. Agency and public comments received by Monday, May 20, 2019 will be included in an informational packet to the Planning Board prior to their public hearing. Comments will continue to be taken by Planning Board after this time until the public hearing is closed. Written comments received by noon on Friday, June 14, 2019 will be forwarded under separate cover to Planning Board prior to their meeting. Please forward your comments to Emy Scherrer,

Missoula Design Excellence

The City of Missoula, in consultation with a team led by Winter & Company, is proposing a new zoning overlay that provides a comprehensive set of design standards and guidelines. Please visit the project webpage for details. The final public hearing on this project is scheduled for Monday, December 17, 2018 at 7 p.m. at City Council Chambers at 140 W. Pine Street.

Repeal Title 19 Zoning Enterprise Commercial (/EC) Overlay

The City is initiating a proposal to repeal the Title 19/EC Overlay. This proposed zoning map amendment comes from a desire to create consistency throughout the city in coordinating zoning rules and regulations, and also to accommodate the new set of design standards proposed through the Design Excellence Project.


Prior to 2009, the zoning code at the time (Title 19) required that parcels being proposed for development of larger than 30,000 square feet commercial space (referred to as Enterprise Commercial) must rezone using an Enterprise Commercial Overlay (/EC) and follow specific development standards. In 2009, when the City adopted Title 20 it left district boundaries for the /EC Overlays in place, which means that development within the /EC Overlays are required to comply with older zoning code development standards. See map here. Title 20 established a revised system for considering Enterprise Commercial uses through use of design standards similar to those found in Title 19 and a conditional use process. Under Title 20, property owners are not required to rezone to the /EC overlay for developing Enterprise Commercial uses. The parcels that include the Title 19/EC Overlay also have established base zoning like Commercial (C-districts) or Manufacturing (M-districts). Those base zoning districts will not change with this proposed repeal.

Additionally, for parcels within the proposed Design Excellence Program, the conditional use process for Title 20 Enterprise Commercial use is proposed to be waived and replaced with consideration through the Design Excellence Review system. The Design Excellence Review system requires Development Services staff review of design standards and design guidelines.

In summary, it is our hope that this repeal will result in use of modernized development standards and a process that is consistent with the way that Enterprise Commercial uses are reviewed throughout the rest of the city as well as a streamlined system of review for projects located within the Design Excellence Overlay.

Public Hearings

The final public hearing to consider the repeal of Title 19 /EC Overlay is scheduled for Monday, December 10, 2018 at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at 140 W Pine Street. Public comment can be received up until the hearing date.

The Missoula Consolidated Planning Board recommended approval of the repeal of the /EC Overlay at a public hearing held on Tuesday, October 30, 2018. 

More Information

Title 19 /EC Overlay Standards (PDF)

Title 20 /EC Use and Building Specific Standards (20.40.050)

Ben Brewer 


Phone: 406-552-6086

Replacement of SD-2 Zoning District

The Missoula City Council adopted an ordinance that repeals and replaces the City SD-2 zoning district. The SD-2 district is replaced with the B2-2, B3-2, C1-2, and C2-2 districts which will go into effect on January 9, 2019. See City Zoning Maps.

Find more information on uses permitted by City zoning districts B2, B3, C1, and C2.

If you have questions please call the zoning desk at 406-552-6630.

Recently Completed Projects

We also have a list of recently completed projects from the last five years. 

  • Annual Title 20 (Zoning) Update – On June 4, 2018 the Missoula City Council held a public hearing to consider the proposed amendments. After consideration of the staff presentation and report, public comment, and board discussion, the City Council approved an ordinance to amend Title 20 City Zoning: Proposed 2018 City Zoning Update Amendments. Adopted amendments are in effect and can be found on the City's web site under City Laws, Title 20. Please call the Zoning Information desk at 552-6625 with any questions regarding implementation of the new regulations.