This will help builders and developers in Bozeman perhaps get more housing projects going with less red tape.
Bozeman city commissioners approve change to city development review
By Nora Shelly Bozeman Chronicle Oct 6, 2022
In a move similar to several others in the last couple months, Bozeman city commissioners voted this week to streamline the planning review process.This time, the target was conditional use permits. Commissioners voted to approve repealing language about the permits from the city code.
Community Development Manager Chris Saunders said the conditional use process has been in the city’s code for decades.
“They have been used in a variety of opportunities for experimentation or where folks were not confident that something could work in a harmonious way with adjacent properties,” Saunders said during a Community Development meeting in September.
According to a staff report for the commission meeting, conditional use permits are rarely used and rarely denied by city staff.
Conditional use permits required a public hearing in front of the city commission. The change commissioners approved would change the review for things that would have fallen under the conditional use permit process to an administrative review rather than one requiring a public meeting.
“Time on the commission’s agenda can be scarce so projects that do not need their review to come before you can move forward quickly,” Saunders said during Tuesday’s city commission meeting.
The city has a special use permit process, which does not require public hearings but does still require public notice.
Commissioners voted 5-0 to approve the change on its first reading, though several acknowledged there were some concerns with losing the required public hearing.“I see this as a timesaver, an efficiency, without losing the benefits of a thorough review process and a fair process,” Commissioner Jennifer Madgic.
The recommendation came from a consultant report on the city’s codes and affordable housing released last year. In recent months, commissioners have approved a new affordable housing ordinance, a new planned development zone process and “departures” from city codes to support housing. An overhaul of the city’s unified development code is also underway.