A northwest Bozeman subdivision is about to get four new buildings with condos and commercial space, despite pushback from residents who said the plans don’t fit the neighborhood.

The three-story buildings in the Baxter Meadows subdivision off Gallatin Green Boulevard will largely be used for housing. The project, called Western Lofts, includes 31 condos and eight ground-floor storefronts in one of the buildings.

Bozeman city commissioners approved the plans Monday.

Steve McGough, of McGough Construction, said each business space is small — about 420 square feet. He said that size makes the space’s price more attainable for smaller businesses struggling to find a spot in town.

So far, a new hair salon and an office management company have claimed commercial space there. McGough said people who move into the Western Lofts will have a chance to buy business space below.

McGough said the two-bedroom condos will sell for roughly $300,000 and the one bedrooms will go for less.

Some neighbors waited in City Hall for more than an hour to speak against the project. Many questioned whether the 70 parking spaces for the new development would be enough and what its impact would be on the neighborhood.

“We are all for development,” said Floyd Khumalo, a resident in the area.

But, he said, he’s concerned that large of a development could create safety concerns for kids in the area. He said people already drive too fast in what he described as the neighborhood’s often clogged streets.

Crystal Terry, who lives across from the project, said the roads get more narrow when snow piles up in the winter.

“It is not a place for commercial business,” Terry said. “This is in the middle of a residential neighborhood.”

Construction would come in two chunks, with two buildings at a time.

City planner Danielle Garber said the first two buildings require 29 parking spaces. The developer will have to go through another traffic impact study before building the second two.

Before commissioners unanimously approved the site plans, they had to update the neighborhood’s rules to allow the mixed-use project.

Commissioner Jeff Krauss voted against that initial step.

Krauss said when planners and builders outlined the land in the past, it was with the expectation that a large store would settle there. But development went another direction. Krauss said the area’s zoning for businesses deserved another look, adding the new commercial spaces would be “buried in a neighborhood.”

He said because of the neighborhood’s streets, “the area couldn’t handle a successful business.”

Krauss couldn’t convince the majority of commissioners who approved the conditional use permit. Krauss said after that passed, he didn’t see a way to vote against the site plan because at that point it met all the city’s requirements.

Mayor Cyndy Andrus said she supported the project because of its small commercial space with a focus on housing.

She said the building offers places for people to live and work, which is an idea commissioners have applauded as they look toward denser building.

Katheryn Houghton can be reached at khoughton@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2628. Follow her on Twitter @K_Hought.

Katheryn Houghton is the city government and health reporter for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

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