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A proposed development near Bridger Canyon that has already proven controversial with neighbors is set to face its first public decision point from the city next week.

The Canyon Gate proposal is roughly 25 acres of county-zoned land surrounded entirely by the city at the northeast corner of Bridger Drive and Story Mill Road. Though just the annexation and zoning are under consideration at the moment — not any site plans — residents with concerns about the proposed density and potential impacts to their neighborhood are already organizing against the development.

The Zoning Commission will consider a zoning proposal for the property Monday evening.

The developer is HomeBase Partners, the prominent Bozeman development firm behind the Black Olive apartments and other new buildings downtown. The firm is requesting a mix of zoning districts on the parcel to include residential development and mixed-use commercial buildings.

HomeBase is proposing almost 10 acres be zoned R-3, residential medium density, to abut much of the property’s border with existing residences.

At the center of the parcel, the developers are proposing almost five acres of R-5, residential mixed-use high density zoning. Along Story Mill Road, HomeBase is proposing another 10 acres of B-2M, community commercial mixed-use zoning.

HomeBase is proposing REMU, residential emphasis mixed use zoning, for 1.62 acres to the east of the B-2M zoning area and north of existing homes along Bridger Canyon Drive.

The proposal for both the zoning and annexation is scheduled to go in front of the City Commission in late December.

HomeBase Partners developer Andy Holloran said they are proposing R-3 to abut much of the existing neighboring homes to provide a transition from the higher density, R-5 proposed core.

Holloran said though site plans have not been drawn up yet, they are potentially planning small single-family homes, duplexes or townhomes in the R-3 areas.

In the R-5 zone, Holloran said they are envisioning stacked flat residential three or four-story buildings. The goal would be to target a lot of the R-5 development to 100%-120% area median income earners, Holloran said.

“This is an opportunity where we could start to create housing diversity,” Holloran said.

In the proposed B-2M area along Story Mill Road, Holloran said they are thinking of mixed-use buildings with ground-floor commercial uses and residential units above.

Several residents who live in the adjacent neighborhood said they agree the parcel is ripe for development. Their issue is that the proposed density is inappropriate for the area.

Diana Sauther, who lives in the neighboring subdivision, said they are advocating for a blend of lower density zoning on the property, including R-1, R-2, and R-3 zoning.

“This land is surrounded by the city. It should be annexed into the city, and it should be developed,” Sauther said Friday while sitting in a neighbor’s home within eyesight of the Canyon Gate parcel. “The proposed zoning change is just so extreme.”

Holloran said this week that they are just complying with the city’s growth policy, which designates the area as residential mixed use and community commercial mixed use.

“Clearly, the city has identified the Story Mill District as one that is growing and that needs a mix of housing and commercial services,” Holloran said.

City Associate Planner Jacob Miller said a previous landowner requested those designations be put in place when the city was updating its growth policy.

Though they find the proposed Canyon Gate zoning alarming, several neighbors are also concerned about development in that part of Bozeman in general.

Train tracks already cut off their neighborhood from the rest of the city, and Sauther and neighbors Molly Casto and Nathan Hofferber said they are concerned that dramatically increasing the number of residents in the area will compound the traffic and safety issues the tracks already cause.

Also a concern is how the future residents of Canyon Gate will access the development.

Casto, who lives on one of those streets within spitting distance of the parcel, said moving the access points out of their neighborhood would alleviate some of her concerns about how the development may impact her children’s safety.

Miller noted that the zoning and annexation do not set the layout of the proposed development or its roads, though Lindsay Pittard, with HomeBase, said in an email that the city is requiring them to extend several existing roads through their development, which also carry utilities with it.

The neighbors have other concerns, like about how the development may impact wildlife, but their focus is largely the density, something that will surely be brought up during public comment during Monday’s Zoning Commission meeting.

“Whatever that density ends up being, it’s got to be calibrated to what the infrastructure can handle,” Sauther said.

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

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