Target Range 

Sights set on growth

Residents just outside the southwest boundary of Missoula launched a neighborhood initiative last fall to guide future growth in their neck of the woods. Now the Target Range Neighborhood Planning Committee has taken another step in introducing its own growth plan.

The committee submitted its plan to the Missoula Consolidated Planning Board Tuesday for review and recommendation, following nearly a year of drafts and public comment. Committee organizer and Target Range resident Peggie Morrison says the committee feels confident their plan will be well received by Missoula County officials.

"I don't see anything in the plan that's going to be confrontational," Morrison says.

The plan aims to guide growth in the neighborhood on issues ranging from open space to sewer amenities. Morrison says the committee paid particular attention to zoning recommendations, including a proposal that portions of Target Range be downsized to one dwelling unit per acre.

"For a neighborhood plan to be effective, the group has to come up with some recommendations that will put some teeth in the plan," Morrison says. "This isn't law. This is strictly suggestion."

Large-scale development has long been a concern at Target Range. A survey conducted by residents in April 2008 showed 88 percent of the neighborhood wanted to preserve the area's rural character. That survey prompted development of the plan.

However, the committee isn't wholly opposed to growth. Lewis YellowRobe with the Office of Planning and Grants, who oversaw the neighborhood plan, says those on the committee have voiced willingness to accommodate limited development.

"They definitely have brought elements of growth into the plan," YellowRobe says. "They're not saying that growth's not going to happen out there. They know it is. They've planned for that."

Morrison says that the neighborhood doesn't want to drive away future development, just limit it.

"We've definitely tried to keep this realistic," Morrison says. "We're not saying we're a gated community and we've locked the gate."

The neighborhood plan must pass the county planning board before going before the Missoula Board of County Commissioners for approval.

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