The recent controversy over whether the Union Gospel Mission could relocate to a storefront on Broadway just blocks from the new Poverello Center has led to new zoning proposals from the City of Missoula.

Planning staff from the city will be holding an informational open house on Tuesday, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. October 29 at the Missoula City Council Chambers. Senior Planner with Development Services Tom Zavitz said the new regulations have been drafted to address any future homeless shelters or soup kitchens.

"Currently, we really don't have anything on the books, so for all future uses of this type, then we would have some regulations to go by," Zavitz said. "We've followed the temporary interim ordinance, which allows for conditional use, primarily in the commercial zoning districts in Missoula."

Zavitz said the new zoning regulations will help spell out the uses to be allowed.

"The conditional use obviously needs a public hearing, and then a vote for approval by the city council," Zavitz said. "With regard to special rules, so far, those will be things having to do with security, parking, and possibly hours of operation, that would help the use fit into the neighborhood."

Zavitz said the new proposed rules were drawn from similar regulations in other cities.

"We've looked at other communities our size to see how they've handled these types of uses, for one," Zavitz said. "We've also had a couple of meetings with the land use committee at city council, and they have requests of some things they'd like to see included. This is our first shot at a proposed ordinance, and then we'll go from there."

Zavitz said representatives from the Poverello Center and the Union Gospel Mission have been invited to the open house, although they will have no official role.

"I fully expect them to be there," Zavitz said.

The open house will be Tuesday, October 29 at the Missoula City Council Chambers, 140 West Pine.

Senior Planner with Development Services Tom Zavitz: