Despite protests, city OKs Olive Street SID

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By CULLAN STAACK/Montana State News

The Bozeman City Comission approved the creation of an Olive Street special improvement district of the objections of a pair of homowners.

Kellen Gamradt, a staff and project engineer with the city, says, “The purpose of this SID is to help finance a street reconstruction on East Olive and a portion of South Church Avenue… We received two written protests, representing 3.8 percent of the district, and seven letters of support.”

Gamradt explains in his hearing that the amount of the SID is $140,950, 15 percent of the overall costs of the improvements. The SID revolving fund will finance the project initially, which means a low interest rate for property owners, the elimination of the need for a bond sale, and the fund being paid back over a 20-year period with interest.

Citing an overwhelming amount of support and an insufficient number of written protests, Gamradt and the city commissioners voiced their approval of the project as a necessary infrastructure investment for the city. The motion carried unanimously. More

City extends vacation rental moratorium

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By EMILY SCHABACKER/Montana State News

Bozeman City Commissioners voted to extend the interim ban that prevents homeowners from renting out rooms or houses for short term stays on Feb. 6. City commissioners agreed to adopt an ordinance that allows a six-month extension to the ban in order to conduct further research on the impact of private home rentals in the community.

Originally, the ban was adopted to remove short term rentals from the three zoning districts for six months so city staff could “investigate, to start conversations with the community, research the best practice and bring the issues back to (the commission),” said Chuck Winn, assistant city manager.

In a 4-1 vote, commissioners agreed to allow a six-month extension to the ban because “this has…turned into a huge opportunity for the community to share with the city and share with each other their passion on this issue,” said Winn.

An extension of the ban would allow city staff to determine appropriate policy questions for the commissioners and put forth a more coherent presentation of the issue before any larger decisions are made, according to Winn. More

Survey: Bozemanites want green transportation

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By SAMANTHA SUNDLY/Montana State News

The Bozeman City Commission heard a special presentation by Jeff Key on the updated city Transportation Master Plan (TMP) on Monday. The new plan was initiated in November 2015, surveying community members on their priorities for the city’s road and bikeways in order to recommend transportation improvements in Bozeman.

Survey results revealed an overwhelming community priority, with 73.3 percent of participants providing a “strongly agree” rating to the sixth TMP goal of environmental sustainability.

Surveys were released Dec. 7, 2015 on a Bozeman Online City Hall forum, eliciting 393 responses on citizen’s priorities for improving Bozeman transportation. The survey questions focused specifically on Bozeman citizens’ agreement or disagreement with the TMP’s seven transportation goals.

According to the Bozeman Transportation Master Plan website, these goals include:

maintaining existing transportation; improving efficiency, performance and connectivity of a balanced transportation system; supporting and promoting coordinated land use and transportation planning efforts; providing a safe and secure transportation system; supporting economic vitality of the community; protecting and enhancing environmental sustainability, providing opportunities for active lifestyles, and conserving natural and cultural resources, and promoting a financially sustainable transportation plan that is actively used to guide the transportation decision making process. More

Tiny houses eyed as solution for homeless

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By BAY STEPHENS/Montana State News

The tiny home movement has been gathering momentum in recent years and now those wrestling with homelessness in Bozeman might ride the wave with the endorsement of The Community Affordable Housing Advisory Board (CAHAB).

“Our mission is to build self-governing community of residence living in single-living community homes,” said Connie Campbell-Pearson, a deacon with St. James Episcopal Church, in a recent presentation to CAHAB. She is heading up the project with the support of her church and, likely, the city at her back.

Half of the homeless population in Bozeman, Campbell-Pearson said, are transitionally homeless, for which the Warming Center works well in providing a safe and warm place to sleep while individuals sort things out. The other half are chronically homeless, living on the streets for one to two years with a risk of death. More

City extends ban on new vacation rentals

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By CHELSEA ANDERSON/Montana State News

The Bozeman City Commission voted last month to extend the interim zoning ordinance regarding “extended stay lodgings” for an additional six months.

The ordinance was passed last August because of residents’ complaints about noise and traffic in neighborhoods where there were a large number of property owners renting out their homes for Airbnb and VRBO purposes.

The City Commission placed the ordinance for six months to give staff time to investigate, solicit public comment, identify best practices and provide the commission with options to solve the issue.

Assistant City Manager Chuck Winn came before the commission to propose the six-month extension of the ordinance. He claimed the extra time was necessary to “determine the policy questions and to put forth a more coherent picture of the issues.” This would provide the commission with enough information to make permanent policy changes in regards to the “extended stay lodgings” in the affected zones. More

Commission gets look at final transportation plan

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By TYLER BARTON/Montana State News

A finalized version of a transportation plan that is set to address the city’s rapid expansion until at least 2035 was presented at the Bozeman City Commission meeting Monday.

The Bozeman Transportation Master Plan, or TMP, is a planning process that was initiated 16 months ago. It is meant to assist city planning partners, as well as the Bozeman community in general, in guiding transportation infrastructure and implementation. It includes all travel and transportation modes, and will guide decisions until at least the year 2035.

Essentially, the TMP is the growth plan for all of Bozeman’s streets, sidewalks, bicycle lanes, walking paths, and other such transportation routes.

After a long period of planning, Public Works Director Craig Woolard said, “We’re down to what I would consider the final stretch of the process where we start to make recommendations for Bozeman’s transportation improvements over the next several decades.” More

Warming Center sees rise in homeless numbers

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By EMMA HAMBURG/Montana State News

In the fall of 2010, the issue of homelessness drew the attention of the community after two homeless people died as a result of cold temperatures.  One found shelter in a U-Haul moving truck and the other camping just outside of city limits.  Both deaths could have been prevented by a safe, warm place to sleep.

Reaction to the deaths was swift.

The local non-profit HRDC (Human Resource Development Council) along with the Greater Gallatin Homeless Action Coalition found a space at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds and opened for the first season of the Warming Center.

The Warming Center provides seasonal shelter, October – March, and is open from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. for people who are homeless.  The Center is administered by HRDC and is 100 percent funded by community and foundation support. More

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