Missoula Design Excellence

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Design Excellence Overlay: Quality Design for a Quality Place

The Design Excellence overlay works to keep our built environment distinct, original, and uniquely Missoula. Much like its natural environment, people have been drawn to Missoula for its specific character and identify. Design Excellence strives to maintain what we love about this place, it fosters quality development and caters to the eclecticism that makes the Garden City unique.

The Design Excellence Overlay applies architectural design standards and guidelines to Missoula's primary commercial areas, including the Downtown and main Commercial Corridors. 

Overlay Boundaries

The guiding force behind the Overlay is coordinating future development in the city with place-making goals based on community input and values. The Overlay is divided into nine different sub-districts; five in the downtown, and four in the commercial corridors. View the Overlay map here to locate which sub-district an individual parcel is in, or visit the city's What's My Zoning map.

Overlay Standards

All projects in the Overlay are required to meet zoning standards for the applicable overlay sub-district. Visit the Overlay Subdistricts and Standards page to view the standards for a specific sub-district or corridor typology.

Design Excellence Review

Some projects in the Overlay are also required to comply with applicable design guidelines from the Design Manual through a process called Design Excellence Review. All projects in the downtown and Typology 1 corridors require a Design Excellence Review for project approval. Projects in corridor typologies 2, 3 & 4 may require Design Excellence Review depending on the project. Visit the Design Excellence Review page to see what triggers a Design Excellence Review, and for information on what is involved in a Design Excellence Review application.

Design Variation Requests

The Design Excellence Overlay allows for alternative design approaches to meet the Overlay Standards, provided that the varying design meets the intent of the standards being varied from, and that the design of the project as a whole meets the relevant design guidelines in the Design Manual. Any project requesting a Design Variation Request requires Design Excellence Review.