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Gallatin County is taking a step in its plans to build housing on a portion of the property it owns containing the Gallatin County Rest Home.

The Bozeman Zoning Commission is set to consider a rezoning request Monday for the 9.8-acre property, which sits on Durston Road behind Bozeman High School. The rest home sits on the front half with 5.7 acres of open, grassy area behind it.

The move is an early step in the process to build workforce housing and potentially a child care facility on the property. Development there isn’t expected to impact operations at the rest home.

County Commissioner Zach Brown said the commissioners don’t have any firm plans yet, but applied for the rezoning after city staff suggested it.

They have discussed using the land for housing for some time, Brown said.

“We are a large employer in this community and we really struggle with housing for our employees. We have a really hard time convincing job applicants from outside the community to move here because they can’t find anywhere to live,” Brown said. “We would like to utilize this asset, which is very valuable, to contribute to the community housing problem, and the same thing goes with child care.”

The county is proposing to rezone the land from residential medium density to residential high density. The major difference between the two is residential high density zoning allows for apartments, with five or more units in a building, Community Development Manager Chris Saunders said.

Buildings like day cares, single-family homes or townhouses are permissible under either zoning designation.

The Zoning Commission plans to consider the matter Monday, and the city commission is scheduled to take it up at its Oct. 19 meeting.

Brown said the next step after getting the rezoning request through the city will be to put out a request for ideas for what to do with the land. The county is flexible about the plans at this point, Brown said, but wants a mix of workforce or affordable housing with a potential for child care.

The county doesn’t have any desire to be landlords or property managers, Brown said, but are open to different ownership models.

“We haven’t made any decision at this point and all options are on the table,” Brown said. “I think the way we’ve been thinking about it up to this point is we would provide the land to the development project as a subsidy and the rest of the project would be done with private dollars, so sort of a private-public partnership model.”

There is some infrastructure on the site, but roads and additional sewer and water connections would need to be built, Brown said. The property is bordered by homes to the west and Juniper Street to the north. There is some additional open land northeast of the property.

“I imagine we’d want to have some pretty concrete plans ironed out by the end of the year, but we also recognize that any of this will take quite some time,” Brown said.

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

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