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A controversial northeast Bozeman development proposal passed a major hurdle this week when city commissioners approved its annexation and zoning, but it’s still a ways away from shovel hitting dirt.

There are not yet any site plans submitted to the city for the Canyon Gate property at the northeast corner of Bridger Drive and Story Mill Road. But this week, city commissioners approved annexing the 25-acre property into the city, with a slew of conditions that will restrict the scale of the development.

Commissioners approved the zoning proposal as well, which will allow for both residential and commercial uses on the property.

Now, developer Andy Holloran said Thursday, they are starting to work on detailed site plans and subdivisions.

“My sense is that will take the better part of this year to go through that planning and engineering effort working with the city,” Holloran said, “but our goal would be to break ground on the infrastructure in a year, and hopefully see vertical construction and homes being built by next spring, early summer.”

The approved zoning is for five acres of R-5, residential mixed-use high density zoning, 1.62 acres of REMU, residential emphasis mixed use zoning and about 10 acres each of R-3, medium density residential zoning and B-2M, community commercial mixed use zoning.

Holloran proposed a series of additions to the annexation agreement that will restrict the scale of the development.

During the first commission meeting for the proposal in December, Holloran proposed two conditions: to require 60 units of income-restricted, workforce housing be provided within the development, and that no building within the R-5 zoning be taller than 50 feet or four stories, whichever is higher.

That meeting was delayed after five hours, and the debate and discussion was delayed until this week.

The conditions Holloran added during this weeks’ meeting include a 100-foot buffer along Boylan Road, in which development would be limited to residential units with a height limit similar to that in the R-3 zoning, and a limit within the 10 acres of B-2M zoning that no building will have a footprint of greater than 25,000 square feet.

Holloran said they were in response to discussion during the first commission meeting on the application in December.

“It was clear from listening to public comment in the December hearing, as well as line of questioning and comments from city commissioners, that there was concern about the B-2M area particularly with the mass and scale, which is really unlimited in the B-2M,” Holloran said. “So that was dealt with by restricting the footprint to 25,000 square feet and then really creating this kind of transition, wedding cake design from Boylan Road.”

Commissioners amended the annexation proposal to include a height restriction throughout the entire project to the same standard of 50 feet or four stories, which Holloran said is still manageable for their plans.

Not everyone is fully supportive of the annexation agreements.

The development has been the subject of criticism from nearby neighbors as it snaked its way through the city process. Opponents cite concerns with the potential density of the development and its impact on their neighborhood and local traffic.

Though Holloran and several city commissioners noted feedback from residents helped shape the annexation conditions, Diana Sauther, a resident of a nearby neighborhood who was helping to organize residents against the proposal, said the conditions are not enough to soothe their worries.

“I appreciate that the commissioners tempered some of the extreme density, but in no way did they address the totality of neighbors’ concerns,” Sauther said.

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Nora Shelly can be reached at or 406-582-2607.

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