Black-Olive revised rendering

A rendering of a revised design for Andy Holloran’s Black-Olive apartment project in downtown Bozeman, prepared by Denver architecture firm Johnson Nathan Strohe.

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Bozeman City Commissioners voted 4-1 Tuesday night to deny a plan for the contentious five-story Black-Olive project, citing concerns about the number of parking spaces included in the current version of developer Andy Holloran’s proposal.

Commissioner I-Ho Pomeroy was the only commissioner who supported the project in the final vote, though three other commissioners indicated they would have supported the project if it had provided what they considered adequate parking.

Holloran can still modify the design and resubmit his proposal if he wants to forge ahead.

“We’ll just have to regroup and decide what’s best for the project,” he said.

As proposed, the building would have included 56 apartments in five stories and a small ground-floor commercial space for a business. It would have included 37 on-site parking spaces.

Nearly 50 people spoke at Tuesday’s public hearing, mostly against the project, before commissioners began sharing their thoughts.

Commissioner I-Ho Pomeroy said she would vote for the project, citing the need to follow the commission’s current development rules for the downtown zoning district. She added that additional housing would help Bozeman address its tight housing market, helping affordability somewhat.

Commissioner Cyndy Andrus said she wouldn’t support the project, citing the building’s five stories and compatibility with neighborhoods to the south.

“I do believe that we need density and infill around our downtown,” she said, adding, “I do think it is the wrong project in a place where we need the right project.”

Commissioner Jeff Krauss said he wouldn’t support the building because of parking concerns.

“Parking is the critical infrastructure for downtown vitality,” he said. “When you look at the parking deficit, it feels like the site’s overbuilt.”

Mayor Carson Taylor said the building wasn’t far off from what he wanted to see in that space and that density makes sense downtown. But he said the parking plan was lacking.

“And frankly,” he added, “I think there are too many loose ends in it all the way around.”

This was the second time commissioners held a public hearing for the project. Commissioners met Monday, April 3, and heard hours of presentations and public comment before delaying their decision to Tuesday night.

During both public meetings, proponents argued the project would help Bozeman build up instead of out, promote walkable lifestyles in the city core and help preserve open space on its edges.But critics, including neighbors, cited concerns over the building’s height, aesthetics, as well as potential problems such as parking, traffic and blocked views.

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Eric Dietrich can be reached at 406-582-2628 or He is on Twitter at @eidietrich.


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