Bozeman officials to clarify definition of ‘affordable housing’ at commission meeting

Posted at 4:30 PM, Jan 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-14 19:14:52-05

BOZEMAN – The Bozeman City Commission plans to approve the final version of an ordinance to address affordable housing in the city at its weekly meeting Monday night.

Bozeman’s affordable housing ordinance was first created in 2015 and is now being updated.

The changes include more specific definitions for low-priced and moderately-priced homes, as well as different qualifications and options for developers.

Director of Community Development Marty Matsen said hopefully these changes will help developers understand the document in the future.

“The hope is that it takes some of the confusion out of the ordinance and makes things easier going forward,” said Matsen.

With the growth rate being close to 4%, the question arises: what exactly does the city consider to be an affordable home price?

“A three bedroom house is about $218,000 in our affordable price bracket,” said Matsen. “Then it is also eligible for some down payment assistance.”

The price of the home is determined by the city’s median average income, how many people plan to live there, and the number of bedrooms.

Now that the definitions and ordinance will become less vague, the next step for the city is finishing the Affordable Housing Action Plan, which will be a guideline moving forward.

“It will set goals,” said Matsen. “It sets benchmarks for what exactly we are trying to accomplish in our affordable housing program and then hopefully we can start working toward those goals.”

Matsen said another part of the equation the city wants to work on is determining a benchmark for not only affordable homes, but for affordable places to rent such as condos, townhouses and apartments.

Reporting by Mederios Babb for MTN News