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Mullan Area Master Plan and Implementation

Missoula County Community and Planning Services
Monday, October 21, 2019
Missoula, MT
United States

Request for Proposals – Planning Consulting Services

Mullan Area Master Plan and Implementation

Missoula County, Montana

Missoula County Community and Planning Services

Submittal Deadline: October 21, 2019



Missoula County and the City of Missoula are seeking proposals from qualified consultants to develop a master plan and implementation elements for a roughly 2,000 acre area on the western edge of the City of Missoula.


Missoula, Montana is a community of 100,000 residents situated at a hub of a series of mountain valleys in Western Montana. It is a regional center for retail, distribution and transportation, medical facilities, education, and culture.  Of the 100,000 residents, roughly 74,000 live in the City of Missoula and 24,000 live in unincorporated neighborhoods on the city’s edge. The community is growing by 1-2% annually.

The city and county maintain separate planning jurisdictions, but they work to align goals, share resources, and work together to plan for changes to the community in the Missoula Valley where the jurisdictions meet. Missoula is also a federally designated Metropolitan Planning Area (MPO), requiring the close coordination of planning for growth and impacts to the transportation system. The proposed master plan is a joint project between the City of Missoula and Missoula County, in collaboration with the MPO.

In 2015, the City adopted a new growth policy called “Our Missoula,” that includes an “inward focused” directive promoting compact development in areas where infrastructure already exists, and mixed-use and dense development along major transportation/transit corridors. Shortly after adoption of the City’s Growth Policy, The MPO adopted a Long Range Transportation Plan, “Activate Missoula”, that established very ambitious mode split goals in order to cut drive-alone trips in half. The plan notes that achieving these goals will require ambitious policies and commitment from the City and County.

This spring, the County updated a land use plan for the unincorporated areas of the Missoula Valley, called the Missoula Area Land Use Element. The Missoula Area Land Use Element calls for a “one community” directive that supports the city’s inward focused directive and identifies ways the county can better facilitate growth and development in the unincorporated areas of the Missoula Valley. One of the implementation actions in Missoula Area Land Use Element was joint master planning between the city and county on the city’s western edge.

The Mullan Area Master Plan is an opportunity for the City and County to further evaluate and align land use planning and regulations, transportation elements, and plans for amenities in an area of the community currently receiving significant development pressure.  The area of focus is located on the western edge of the city limits, between Mullan Road and West Broadway, west of Reserve Street and east of the Missoula International Airport (Attachment A). The area has long been planned for growth, but current land use policy and zoning does not assure development outcomes consistent with the community’s goals. In addition, there are potential challenges in the area that need to be evaluated, including Grant Creek floodplain, high quality agricultural soils, limited street and road access, proximity to Missoula International Airport, and high groundwater.

Issues and Opportunities

Missoula is currently enjoying a run of strong economic and population growth. With a high quality of life derived from the unique sense of place and proximity to top-shelf natural amenities, the economy is diversifying, and the community is attracting new residents.  The success of Missoula has been deliberate, but the success also presents challenges that need to be addressed. What gives Missoula such a strong connection to natural amenities: the rivers, mountains, and surrounding public lands, are also constraints that limit the developable area within the valley floor. Home prices in the Missoula market are steadily increasing, outpacing wage growth and creating challenges for many Missoulians to find affordable housing. Locations for business expansion and continued diversification are limited. Development pressures on agricultural land, in wildlife habitat, and in areas of elevated wildland fire risk are increasing.

The recently adopted growth policy amendments completed by the city and county describe the values important to the community and a vision for growth that is consistent with those values. Many of the values are shared between city and county residents. Access to public lands, healthy ecosystems, walkable neighborhoods, mix of uses, attainable housing, economic diversification, access to locally grown food, concern about our climate, reduced dependency upon automobiles are among these values. In the focus area, continued development of single use, low density, auto centric land use patterns common in American towns over the last few decades are generally inconsistent with these values. Current zoning and regulatory standards for the area, both within and outside city limits, reinforce this sprawling development pattern. The master plan is an opportunity to align our land use planning to our values and recognize our constraints.


Current development patterns in the Mullan Road area are more along the lines of the development trends of the past few decades. These development trends are likely to continue without changes to the planning structure and local government approach to infrastructure. As Missoula continues to grow in this area, new tools and new approaches to community development designed for the context of the location will be necessary. The master plan is a chance to set the land use patterns and put into place regulations that are in alignment with the community’s values.  The objectives of the master planning process are:

  • Reduce pressure on market rate housing by increasing housing supply and developing a mix of housing types serving a mix of incomes.
  • Create development intensities and community design that supports a mix of uses and a variety of urban services within the area.
  • Facilitate land use patterns and community design that creates a framework for transportation alternatives, maximizing access, connectivity, and mobility throughout the planning area, while reducing dependency on the automobile.
  • Foster a built urban environment that focuses on quality of life, character of place, sustainability and green infrastructure, public health and the relationship between the public and private realm.
  • Create a tax base that supports the cost of infrastructure and services necessary to serve the development.
  • Incorporate natural amenities, parks, and local agriculture into the fabric of the neighborhood, including a fully restored Grant Creek, that provides amenities and connections to our natural environment and healthy ecosystems.

Scope of Services

Missoula County and the City of Missoula are seeking a multidisciplinary team to complete a multi-part planning and design process for roughly 2,000 acres. With oversight from city and county staff, the selected consultant(s) will lead the planning process and develop project deliverables as outlined within this RFP.

The intent of the scope of services is to serve as a framework, which consultants can use to develop a more detailed proposed scope of work based on their professional expertise and knowledge. The final scope of work will be negotiated with the selected consultants in conjunction with city and county staff prior to contract approval. The consultant is expected to provide interpretation and identification of deliverables or milestones it believes are integral to the project in the submitted proposal, as outlined within the submittal requirements section of this RFP.

The following elements are provided as a general framework of the consultant’s response:

  • Project Management – The selected consultant will manage their time, staff, resource, budget, sub-consultants and related activities to assure project objectives and timeframes are met. Staff will provide oversight of the consultant, assist with outreach and stakeholder meetings, and provide local expertise and skills to the consultant team, as time and resources allow.
  • Coordination with City and County - The approach suggested by the consultant should include considerations to ensure that the final products will be developed in close coordination with city and county staff and will include opportunities for interactive feedback from staff as the work proceeds. The consultant should be available to meet with staff to ensure successful coordination and completion of the project. 
  • Public Participation – The consultant shall be responsible for developing and proposing a comprehensive public & stakeholder participation strategy that is best suited to meet project objectives and unique characteristics of the area. Staff can assist the consultant with outreach, including assisting the consultant during outreach events and the arranging, scheduling, and locating facility space for meetings.
  • Existing Conditions and Trends Analysis - The consultant will work to gain a firm understanding of the context, trends, and related information applicable to the area in relation to the larger community. This information and data will be used to inform and ground the study in objectivity.
  • Identification of Study Areas for Land Use and Circulation– The consultant will work with the city and county staff during the planning process to finalize areas of focus for land use and circulation based on existing conditions, data analysis, stakeholder input, project budget, and overall vision and goals.
  • Analysis of circulation and transportation network - The consultant will review the current and planned transportation network, including sidewalks, bicycle facilities, shared-use paths, and transit opportunities. The review will include an evaluation of the current network’s ability to support existing and future land use patterns, modeling, and recommendations for improvements. MPO staff maintain a travel demand model that may be available for modeling future growth and transportation network improvements, however the consultants should be prepared to develop model inputs such as growth allocations (housing and employment), future street grid network, and facility types. Consideration should be given to existing plans and policies such as the Bicycle Facilities Master Plan, Pedestrian Facilities Master Plan, and Complete Streets Policy.
  • Fiscal Analysis – The analysis should project the cost and effect of planned growth on the city's infrastructure, level of service, facilities and revenues.
  • Plan Development – The consultant shall be responsible for developing a concise, attractive and readable master plan that can be adopted as an amendment to the city and county growth policies and provide data for the Long Range Transportation Plan as appropriate. The plan should at minimum contain a clear vision for land use and community design, descriptions of parks and amenities, the existing conditions report, the circulation plan, the fiscal analysis, and road transects appropriate to the proposed land use designations.
  • Zoning Code Development – The consultant shall prepare draft zoning designations designed to implement the land use plan in undeveloped and underutilized lands within the study area, including graphics and illustrations, that can be adopted into the city and county’s development/zoning codes.
  • Stormwater Management Plan – The plan should include some conceptual level stormwater management solutions that utilize green infrastructure.
  • Presentations and Communications - The consultant will present the final plan and draft zoning regulations to the Missoula County Consolidated Planning Board, the Missoula City Council, the Missoula Board of County Commissioners, other applicable committees as defined in the final scope of work.


Master Plan: Draft by July 2020

The master plan will include at minimum the following components:

  • Existing conditions and current trends analysis
  • Land use and circulation plan that includes place types, parks and amenities including local agriculture elements and conceptual stormwater management, transit, street network, street types and a land use map.
  • Impact on city finances analysis of proposed land use plan.

Development Code: Draft by July 2020

Zoning designations implementing the master plan that can be adopted into both the city’s and county’s zoning regulations for the undeveloped and underutilized lands in the study area. The zoning designations will at minimum include:

  • Descriptions of the desired built environment
  • Street and shared-use path standards
  • Graphics and illustrations

Required Proposal Format and Content

The proposal shall contain all sections listed below and shall respond fully to all requirements of the RFP. Submittals which do not address the items in this section may be considered incomplete and may be deemed non-responsive.

  1. Letter of Interest including name, address, and phone number of the involved firms.
  2. Community and Project Understanding, which demonstrates the firms understanding of the issues and opportunities in the Missoula community and the importance of this area in the long term growth patterns of the city and county.
  3. Project Approach describing the approach suggested by the consultant including:
    1. proposed methodology for the project;
    2. outline of possible work schedule and timeline; and
    3. additional elements the county and city may wish to consider.
  4. Management Approach - The response shall include a discussion regarding the consultant’s intended management approach including coordination and monitoring of project schedule, subconsultants, communications, quality, resources and other management issues that the consultant feels should be addressed.
  5. Consultant’s Qualifications and Past Planning Outcomes - The proposal shall include three (3) examples of similar and/or relevant services in comparable communities that demonstrate the firm’s ability to meet the project objectives and preform the elements outlined in the scope of services.
  6. Cost – A general cost estimate for the overall project and key project components.

Project Budget

The City of Missoula, Missoula County and the Missoula Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) have all contributed funding to the project budget.  The total project budget is $125,000 but due to funding sources certain dollar figures must go to certain deliverables.

$100,000 to the master plan, zoning and fiscal analysis

$25,000 to the circulation plan and transportation system modeling component of the master plan. This funding is coming from the MPO and will need to be itemized during invoicing.

Review and Evaluation of Proposals

A review committee will rank complete submittals based on the evaluation criteria set forth below. From these rankings either a selection of the most highly qualified firm will be made, or a short list of leading candidates will be developed for the purpose of interviews. If interviews are conducted, selected firms will plan to have their identified project manager make a presentation either in person or via video conference. Short listed firms may be asked to provide supplemental or additional information for review by the committee prior to the interviews.

The following criteria will be considered in the review:

  • Demonstrated understanding of the local context
  • Suggested approach to the project
  • Experience on similar projects that demonstrate ability to meet project objectives
  • Qualifications of the firm and individuals assigned to the project
  • The firm’s ability to bring the deliverables on time and on budget
  • Overall project cost

Individuals and firms that represent development projects in the proposed area may have a real or perceived conflict of interest which will be factored into the selection process.

This procurement involves a negotiated professional services contract.  As such, the County will negotiate with firm throughout the procurement to get the best price and business terms.  The County will consider all cost and business terms to be negotiable.

Missoula County with support from city staff will negotiate a contract, including a detailed scope of work, budget and schedule, with the firm that the review committee determines to be most qualified. In the event a contract cannot be negotiated with the most qualified firm, Missoula County will terminate negotiations and negotiate a contract with the firm determined to be next most qualified.  The selected firm will need to demonstrate that is registered and in good standing with the Montana Secretary of State.

Anticipated Timeline for Acquisition of Planning Consulting Services

September 23, 2019 – Request for Proposals released

October 7, 2019 – Deadline for submitting questions

October 15, 2019 – Responses to questions released

October 21, 2019 – Deadline for submittal of RFP

October 25, 2019 – Interviews scheduled with successful RFP applicants, if deemed necessary

November 15, 2019 – Interviews complete

November 22, 2019 –Most qualified firm selected

December 13, 2019 – Contract negotiations complete

Following dates dependent upon final scope of work:

January 31, 2020 – Existing conditions analysis complete

April 30, 2020 – 75% draft master plan

June 26, 2020 – Draft master plan and zoning designations

July 2020 – Planning Board public hearing

August 2020 – Revisions

September 2020 – City Council and County Commissioner hearings

October 1, 2020 – Master Plan and Zoning adopted

Submission Deadline and Contact Information

Proposal information may be either electronically or via mail. The deadline for submission of qualifications is 11:59 PM., Mountain Standard Time, October 21, 2019.  Faxed submittals and late submittals will not be accepted.


Mailing address:

Missoula County Community and Planning Services

200 West Broadway

Missoula, Montana 59802


Email Proposals to:

[email protected]



Direct questions to:

Karen Hughes

[email protected]


Published on:
September 23, 2019 - 8:39am
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