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Some Bozeman residents uneasy with city's transitional housing ordinance, proposed warming center

Posted at 2:38 PM, Feb 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-10 16:38:28-05

Residents in Bozeman's Figgins neighborhood voiced a number of concerns about having a temporary warming shelter in their neighborhood.

“Some of the main concerns were proximity to school, proximity to school crosswalk,” said Figgins resident Graham Culver.

“We purchased homes in this area specifically for single-family zoning reasons,” said Paige Culver.

The HRDC decided to look for a different location, but many residents are still concerned about the city policy that allows for transitional housing to be in residential neighborhoods.

Much of the frustration among residents stemmed from an ordinance change approved by city commissioners back in 2018.

“When the commission looked at it, our initial recommendation was for a few zone districts. And the commission looked at this and said why wouldn’t we allow it in all zone districts?” said Community Development Director Marty Matsen.

A warming shelter in a residential zone, as well as other zoning districts, would require a Special Use Permit that must pass strict review.

Residents within 200 feet of the proposed site receive public notice, and a sign will go up in front of the proposed site.

Residents from the Figgins neighborhood who opposed the HRDCs’ warming center said that wasn’t enough outreach for them.

“Neighbors felt blindsided. There was kinda a text exchange that started one morning and that is how most people found out,” said Emily Mason.

“I think there were only 10 people that were informed, maybe by letter.”

As for now, HRDC has possibly found a new location that’s not in a residential zoning district.

MTN News learned from the Bozeman’s Community Development Department that HRDC’s new proposed temporary warming shelter is located off Wheat Drive. The non-profit must receive a special use permit from the city for the project to move forward.

HRDC was unavailable for comment for this story.