The City Commission in Bozeman has gone round and round with this idea for more than a year – after hearing arguments in support and against the measure, they have finally decided on a plan of action. It will be interesting to see if this has a lasting positive impact on the affordability of our housing market – or the alternative. Buyer demand will tell part of the tale – is it a question of lack of affordability or buyers simply not wanting to ‘settle’ for affordable product. Or will it just encourage more builders to build outside of Bozeman City Limits? Probably a little of each – the answer to this remains to be seen…
Split city commission passes housing plan
Posted November 17, 2015.
After more than a year of discussion, Bozeman commissioners late Monday passed a two-stage plan to address the city’s housing crunch by making it easier for residents of modest means to buy a home.
The plan will pair a set of voluntary incentives intended to make it easier for the building industry to bring houses and townhomes to market at more affordable rates, as well as the threat of a mandatory inclusionary zoning ordinance if a goal — 54 affordable units in the next two years — isn’t met.
Commissioners Cyndy Andrus and Chris Mehl joined Deputy Mayor Carson Taylor in backing the measure, while Mayor Jeff Krauss and Commissioner I-Ho Pomeroy voted against it.
“I think everybody in this room agrees that there is an affordable housing problem in this community,” Taylor said. “If the voluntary plan is OK, we should never get to the mandatory plan.”
The measure’s voluntary component includes a slate of incentives like reduced lot size requirements and expedited plan review intended to make it easier for developers to bring homes to market at affordable prices. Of the voluntary portion’s 54-home goal, about three-quarters would be priced at a level affordable to a household making 90 percent of median income, roughly equivalent to a $213,000 home.
The fallback mandatory program would require new subdivisions to make either one unit in 10 accessible to families at 80 percent of median income ($49,450 a year for a family of three) or three units in 10 affordable to families at median income ($61,800 a year). In an effort to offset the costs it imposes on the building industry, it would also offer incentives.
Source: Split city commission passes housing plan | City | bozemandailychronicle.com