rezoning

Big changes are proposed in a Missoula neighborhood, between the Hip Strip and the University District.

And now, historic houses between Ronald Avenue and South 4th Street East could be replaced by a new condo building if the request is approved.

The proposal was filed in August of this year and is now being brought in front of different planning committees.

While the rezoning hasn’t passed yet, if it does multiple neighbors will have to start looking for a new place to live.

"Of course I love it here, it’s a fantastic location and a beautiful little historic house,” resident Jim Lang said, “I guess it’s time to move on if things go the way they usually do."

Jim Lang and his dog Mereille live in one of the historic railroad houses on 4th Street.

With the realization that the house he rents could be gone by next year, Lang is forced to relive a situation he was put in just a few years ago.

"This is the second time in a three year period that I was displaced by a new development." Lang said.

The current proposal would rezone eight lots along 4th street and two on Ronald Ave.

The current area is zoned as a RT2.7, meaning it’s designated for single family homes or duplexes.

The new proposal would rezone to area to a B1-3, marking the land for a mix of multifamily homes, duplexes, and business fronts.

This new zoning would also double the housing density of the area.

But since this proposal is in the University Historic Neighborhood, a new build would change more than just the density.

"It would be significantly changing the character of the neighborhood,” Historic Preservation Officer Emy Scherrer said, “it’s going to change the feel, it’s going to change the look, and that’s going to all be pretty significant."

Developer and owner Cole Bergquist was not available for an interview but sent ABC FOX Montana a statement on how he plans to minimize the changing of character to the neighborhood:

"This project is still in the early stages; we have already had multiple meetings with the Historic Preservation Office and will continue to collaborate with them in the future."

One way Bergquist is planning on preserving character is incorporating designs and parts from the historic houses.

"We are discussing salvaging the materials and possible reuse in the new structure," Scherrer said.

Bergquist also said he reached out to all the current residents warning them of the possible vacation.

While some appreciated the eight month notice, Lang isn’t looking forward to the new house hunt.

"I don’t have a car so it’s very important for me to be in an area like this close to things, and that can be difficult especially with the way that rents are in Missoula now-a-days," Lang said.

The next public hearing for this rezoning proposal will be December 3rd with the planning board and December 16th with city council.

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