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Bozeman planners have recommended the contentious Black-Olive project be approved, according to a staff report published Thursday — provided that city commissioners conclude that a car-sharing program proposed with the building will, in fact, reduce its parking demand.

Despite substantial opposition from neighbors over Black-Olive’s proposed height, aesthetics and parking impacts, Development Review Manager Brian Krueger writes that the building’s height and size meet zoning standards for the downtown commercial district. The building also complies with the city’s design guidelines for downtown commercial areas, he writes.

That recommendation is at odds with the conclusions reached by the city’s volunteer Design Review Board, which advises elected commissioners on major development proposals. The design board includes architects and other community members and has panned two iterations of the Black-Olive project over its aesthetics and scale. One board member called Black-Olive an “elephant” at a meeting earlier this month.

The five-member Bozeman City Commission, which has final authority over development decisions inside city limits, will vote on the project at its weekly meeting on Monday, April 3.

“We’re pleased with the support and recommendation from the city,” developer Andy Holloran said Thursday. “As the report indicates, the project meets all the criteria in the city’s codes and guidelines.”

As proposed, Black-Olive would include 56 rental apartments — 16 studios, 24 one-bedroom and 16 two-bedroom units. It would also provide 37 enclosed parking spaces on its first floor, four of them dedicated to the car-sharing program.

Neighbors have worried that having less than a single parking space per bedroom — and, furthermore, less than a single space per apartment — is a recipe for scattering residents’ vehicles into surrounding on-street parking beyond the three on-street spaces allocated to the building based on its frontage. Holloran, though, says he thinks most residents will make use of car-sharing.

In a letter included in commission briefing materials, Holloran says he expects Black-Olive rents to range from $1,000 a month for studio apartments to $2,000 a month for two-bedroom units. He also says he plans to rent parking spaces in the building’s enclosed garage for $75 to $100 per month, providing an incentive for tenants to use the car sharing program instead of owning — and parking — a personal vehicle.

City staff are recommending that commissioners make the project’s approval contingent on having a final plan for managing the car share program, something Holloran hasn’t yet provided.

In a March 27 letter, though, he says two national companies, Zipcar and Enterprise, have “expressed interest in working with the Black Olive project and MSU and the city of Bozeman.”

Under a city code provision that gives developers four parking spaces’ worth of credit for each car-share space, the building meets the city’s parking requirements. Without the car-share credit, though, the design is 16 parking spaces short.

Monday’s commission meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 121 N. Rouse Ave. Proceedings will also be streamed live at







Black-Olive site

Downtown (B-3)

zoning boundary


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

Picturing the change

On the left is a view of what the corner of Black Avenue and Olive Street looked like on March 31, 2017. On the right is a developer's December rendering of a building proposed for the corner.

Photograph by Rachel Leathe/Chronicle. Rendering by Johnson Nathan Strohe Architects.


Eric Dietrich covers city government and health for the Chronicle.

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