Blackwood Groves

11th Avenue reaches a dead end near the site of a future development called Blackwood Groves Tuesday, June 9, 2020, in Bozeman.

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Bozeman city commissioners will vote Monday on whether to annex and rezone 120 acres of land south of town after laying the groundwork for development there last week.

The site south of Alder Creek Drive and east of South 19th Avenue is now designated for residential and some commercial development after commissioners voted 4-0 to amend the city’s growth policy last Monday. The designation requires a majority of the buildings on the site to be residential. The land is next to the Alder Creek neighborhood.

Developers are now requesting that the city annex the land into city limits so homeowners can access city water and other services, and rezone the land for high-density residential and commercial development.

City staff and the zoning commission recommended approving the requests. Chris Saunders, community development manager, said at last Monday’s meeting that it’s expected for Bozeman to grow in that direction.

During the meeting, Grant Syth with Bridger Builders gave an overview of plans for the site, called Blackwood Groves, which include having an array of housing options within walking distance of parks, shops and restaurants.

“We want this to be a model for land use,” Syth said.

Commissioners have not yet reviewed or voted on specific plans for the development.

About 60 residents have sent letters to the city commission regarding Blackwood Groves, and even more have called into meetings, with the vast majority opposing changes to city policy.

Some are opposed to the commercial aspect of the development; others think the site should remain agricultural land.

Mary Sadowski is one resident who voiced concern that commercial buildings will impact wildlife in the area, that traffic will increase on already busy streets and that there aren’t enough resources to serve an influx of homeowners.

“Truly, the heavy impacts of commercial development do not need to expand so far south of Kagy (Boulevard),” Sadowski said.

Another resident, Kristy Johns, said in a letter that commercial development would change the character of the area, and that it would take business away from Main Street.

“We residents of the south side of Bozeman enjoy our neighborhoods and parks. We enjoy our quiet trails and our time away from the commercial areas of Bozeman,” Johns said.

Another, Erin White, said the land should remain undeveloped to keep “current viewshed and natural beauty and openness of the area.”

The city commission unanimously approved the growth policy amendment last Monday. Mayor Chris Mehl said he understands why people oppose new developments, but that the plans proposed make sense for the area.

City commissioners will vote on annexing and rezoning the site at their Monday night virtual meeting beginning at 6 p.m. More information can be found at bozeman.net.

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Shaylee Ragar can be reached at sragar@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2607.

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