Mountains Walking Brewery

Gustav Dose is the founder of Mountains Walking Brewery located on East Avocado Street in Bozeman’s northeast neighborhood.

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A bid from a popular Bozeman brewery to change the allowable uses for its land in the northeastern part of the city failed Tuesday in front of the city commission.

Mountains Walking Brewing applied to rezone two parcels on North Plum Avenue totaling 1.12 acres. The northern parcel, 0.87 acres, contains the brewery building. The southern parcel, at 0.24 acres, holds a small, single-family home where the owner Gustav Dose lives with his family.

In order to develop the land with his house into something to benefit his business, Dose applied to amend the city’s growth policy and future land use map — which is the basis for zoning and development decisions — for the southern parcel to bring it in line with the northern piece.

He also applied to rezone the entire 1.12 acres to B-2M, mixed community business use, which would allow for both commercial and residential buildings, including apartments.

Dose has said he would like to redevelop the southern parcel to include office space and potentially housing for his employees.

“It’s a small piece of property that I want to incorporate into the brewery to help with employee the housing problem and office space problem. It’s not in any way trying to increase production,” Dose said during the meeting. “We want places for myself to live, for our employees to live. It is difficult to run a small business in Bozeman right now with the critical housing issue.”

Commissioners voted 3-2 against the proposal to amend the growth policy to support the application.

Commissioner Jennifer Madgic, who voted against the proposal, said she thinks the growth policy amendment would just benefit one property owner. Madgic said she was also concerned about setting a precedent.

“A lot of thought has gone into our future land use map, and I think we need to be really careful about making small surgical changes to the map, and I think that’s what this is,” Madgic said. “If we approve this minus a buffer between two future land use designations that have some compatibility issues .... It’s going to be hard I think to say no to the next situation, the next request, asking for a similar land use map change.”

The city’s growth policy assigns a future land use for parcels throughout the city, with specific zoning designations allowed for each future land use designation.

Since the growth policy amendment failed to pass, the rezoning request had to be split between the northern and southern parcels. Commissioners voted against rezoning the smaller parcel containing the single-family house but approved rezoning the larger, northern parcel to B-2M.

Commissioner I-Ho Pomeroy, who supported changing the growth map to extend the future land use designation to include the southern parcel, said the proposal would be a good use of the land.

“We’ve been talking a lot about being creative and tinkering, (and thinking) out of the box,” Pomeroy said. “We talk a lot about high density, and we talk about supporting local or small businesses.”

Several commissioners argued that they think Dose’s goals could be accomplished with a different zoning and future land use that would be more compatible with nearby uses.

They also noted that though they may support the brewery and Dose’s intention, they have to keep in mind that businesses don’t last forever, but zoning changes do and the most intense use of a new zoning district could be possible in the future.

Mayor Cyndy Andrus and other commissioners also voiced concern with the lack of a natural buffer between the southern parcel and the other residences directly adjacent to it.

“I think not changing this underlying land use we can still get to a place where the applicant could get some additional housing, as well as doing other changes that perhaps they’re thinking about on the current brewery site,” said Andrus, who voted against the proposal. “I recognize that the family has great plans for this project. But ... I can’t base my decision on the plans because property owners change and businesses change.”

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Nora Shelly can be reached at nshelly@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2607.

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