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Bozeman continues to grapple with affordable housing issues as new development is approved

Canyon Gate Housing .jpg
Posted at 8:47 AM, Jan 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-14 10:47:15-05

The City of Bozeman recently got 25 acres bigger, and now with that growth comes some growing pains as the city deals with rising housing prices and limited housing stock.

“That's the essential conundrum and that is that there is a general feeling that we shouldn't be over-developing Bozeman and we should retain our small town community character,” said Deputy Mayor Terry Cunningham.

After Tuesday night's approval of the annexation of 25 acres into the city and zoning for future development at Canyon Gate, more development shifts to the Story Mill area in north Bozeman.

“Roughly eight different neighborhood nodes where we are going to have self-contained neighborhoods,” said Cunningham. “This is a district in transition.”

As the Story Mill area begins that change, many in the Canyon Gate neighborhood say they still want to keep the feeling of a neighborhood alive.

“You know, a lot of outside money or extra money that is just buying property to rent as an AirBnB or VRBO and that just takes some of the heart out,” says Bozeman Resident Eli Shaul.

After the State Legislature passed House Bill 259 last session that took away Bozeman’s ability to require developers to enact affordable components to developments.

“The City of Bozeman has very few tools to impact pricing of housing,” Cunningham said.

“As of today there are 23 homes, housing units, in all of the city of Bozeman for sale, and there is only one that is under $500,000,” said Andy Holloran, founder of Home Base Partners.

According to Realtor.com, the average price of a home in Bozeman has only continued to grow. In Dec. 2021, the median price of a single-family home was $ 749,000.

“We have to balance those two things; we have to have development that makes sense, that respects our environment and respects our place in the ecosystem but also provides housing for people who want to to be in Bozeman,” said Cunningham.