Background

The City of Missoula, along with urban planning specialists Winter & Co., are undertaking a community-engaged project to explore a variety of character management strategies to address community concerns about quality building development in the commercial corridors and downtown of Missoula.

The goal is to implement a system that will promote high quality commercial building development in terms of design, materials, construction and character.

Please view the Project Overview and Study Area Map

Nori Winter discusses urban design in Missoula with Community Workshop participants
Noré Winter discusses urban design in Missoula with Community Workshop participants.

Building design standards and design guidelines are being considered for building development along the commercial corrdiors and in the downtown.

The City of Missoula has been engaged over the last two years in developing a new comprehensive set of architectural design standards for the Downtown and Commercial Corridors (see maps below). The program strives to provide the flexibility to maintain Missoula's unique character along with a high level of certainty for navigating the regulatory process.

The overlay districts are intended to foster development and redevelopment that creates greater consistency and responsiveness to the Missoula identity and unique locations within our city by requiring buildings to be developed with additional site design and building form, material and scale features in mind.

The proposed overlay will include:

  • modifying some setbacks and establishing new street wall facade rules;
  • modifying the amount of glass required and establishing blank wall limitation on certain facades;
  • requiring use of a percentage of natural or traditional material;
  • modifying some building mass variation and articulation techniques;
  • establishing a new design review process;
  • establishing a new design variation process that addresses variations to overlay standards at the staff level;
  • replacing other existing design standards; and
  • new regulatory improvements that incentivize development in the overlay areas.

Previous Planning Process Documents


Note: to see current Final Public Review Drafts, please visit the main Design Excellence web page.

Design Excellence Strategy Report

Strategy Update

Commercial Corridors

Map of Commercial Corridors identified in Design Excellence Project

Downtown Map

Map of Downtown SubDistrict in Design Excellence Project

Community Workshop #3

View a video of the third workshop.

Thank you to the many people who participated in the workshop and stakeholder meetings held in March 2018. The workshop was an opportunity to comment on the proposed design standards and guidelines. The draft materials reviewed at that time include the following:

Executive Summary

Corridor Overlay Standards

Downtown Overlay Standards

Design Manual (full)

Community Workshop #2


Thanks to the 60+ participants who attended the workshop at the DoubleTree Hotel and stakeholder meetings for your time and comments.

For those who wish to review the event, MCAT provides a video of the workshop.

Based on community input and technical advice, a summarizing Strategy Report and Strategy Update were developed and reviewed by the Land Use and Planning Committee in November, 2017. 

Review the Strategy Report and Strategy Update.

In conjunction with the recommended strategies, is a first phase of economic findings.  This Economic Findings report generally considers the economic effect of design standards and design guidelines.  As the project moves forward, the consultant team will analyze a series of hypothetical development scenarios to assess the potential impacts of the Missoula’s Design Excellence program on project feasibility. 

Review the Phase 1 -- Economic Findings