A rezoning proposal for just under 1 acre of land on West Lamme Street near downtown Bozeman is moving ahead to be considered by city commissioners.
The Community Development Board this week voted 4-2 to recommend approval of rezoning of a half-block of land on West Lamme Street and North 3rd Avenue from R-4, residential high density, to B-3, downtown business district.
The change would bring the property in line with the rest of the block to its east, which is already zoned B-3. And though no development plans have been submitted to the city for the property, a small number of nearby residents have expressed concern that any future development on the site could be of a much denser nature than their existing homes.
The property includes one single-family home, and previously was the location of more residential buildings. Community Development Manager Chris Saunders said during Monday’s meeting that those “dilapidated” homes were demolished due to public safety concerns.
The zoning change would allow for more commercial uses on the property. While R-4 zoning permits some secondary office uses, it is designed for high density residential buildings.
B-3 zoning is intended to encourage “high volume, pedestrian-oriented uses in ground floor space in the ‘core area’ of the city’s central business district.”
Saunders said the rezoning matches city plans for the area.
“Bozeman for many years has had a very linear downtown nature,” Saunders said. “We’re seeing it now move out to Babcock and Lamme and Mendenhall in appropriate locations.”
Andy Willett, who is listed as the property owner in city documents, told the Chronicle earlier this month that there are no immediate plans for a project on the land.
Though the vote was ultimately in favor of the rezoning, several board members acknowledged neighbors’ concerns.
“I certainly do recognize that as is often the case in a rapidly growing community like Bozeman, there are going to be circumstances where I think it’s in the best interest of the community as a whole to make changes to accommodate some of that growth,” Board Chair Henry Happel said. “But those changes are not going to be met with favor by individual residents.”
Commissioner Jennifer Madgic said she expected more public comment about the proposal and expressed sympathy for neighbors in the area. Madgic voted against the proposal.
“I am definitely sympathetic to the northeast side and some of the complaints that we have heard because that part of Bozeman is changing really quickly, quicker than any other part of Bozeman unless it’s greenfield development on the west side,” Madgic said.