Applause erupted in the crowded Sophie Moiese Room when the Missoula County commissioners unanimously approved a new zoning code for the county at their meeting Thursday afternoon.
“This is the most significant land use decision before the commission in 50 years,” said board chair Juanita Vero.
County staff spent the past two and half years reworking the zoning code, which had not been updated since 1976.
The code applies to county land outside Missoula city limits, including Bonner, East Missoula and the Wye.
The commissioners will vote on the final resolution to adopt the code June 9, and the regulations go into effect July 1.
More than 20 public commenters weighed in on the new zoning Thursday, in what Commissioner Dave Strohmaier called “one of the most robust public engagement processes” he has witnessed.
Many expressed support for the new code, lauding its efforts to increase housing and improve environmental protections.
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Public commenter Neva Hassanein said the code is “helping to bring Missoula County into the 21st century.”
“It’s really bringing together, I think, some cutting edge tools in this document,” Hassanein said. “It not only respects the rights of landowners