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Montana State helps Bozeman Update Historic Home List

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Montana State University architecture students helped survey Bozeman’s historic district and Neighborhood Conservation Overlay District, inputting and updating the city’s historic homes in the area.  Students looked at over 500 homes and structures nearby campus and then logged their findings to help Bozeman determine what changes, if any, they will make to Bozeman’s historic district regulations.

Currently, the historic district and the Neighborhood Conservation Overlay District both require residents to file for certificates of appropriateness when renovating their home, particularly its exterior. Rising home prices, a booming economy and bureaucratic slow down have lead City Commissioners to OK plans to revise the regulations.

In order for Bozeman officials to improve its historic districts, they first needed to update Bozeman’s inventory of historic homes (a list that had not been updated since 1984) to better understand the full scope of the district. Budget constraints had limited Bozeman’s ability to complete the survey, but with the help of Montana State University, the list will be updated in a relatively short time. 

In early April, MSU students worked in pairs to gather basic architectural characteristics of downtown homes to determine their historical significance. The project helped these students become familiar with popular Bozeman home styles while completing some much needed busy work for Bozeman.  By logging their findings into Bozeman’s historic home database, MSU and the city hope to eventually log every historic home in Bozeman’s historic districts. Montana State University plans to repeat the project until all the homes have been logged into Bozeman’s database.

 

Source: http://www.montana.edu/news/16076/msu-architecture-students-and-faculty-assist-city-of-bozeman-by-surveying-hundreds-of-downtown-homes

Northwestern Energy and Bozeman Green Light Solar Project

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Bozeman will begin providing solar power to residents on the grid, thanks to an agreement between the city, Northwestern Energy and a local solar panel company in Bozeman. Ideally, the project will help pave the way for additional solar projects, helping lower utility costs in Bozeman for all residents.

Bozeman will donate land along Frontage Road between Bozeman and Belgrade for the new solar project. Northwestern Energy will invest up to $1 Million for the project, which they will use to research the advantages and pitfalls of potential future projects. As the project is primarily research based, Northwestern customers will not see any increases to their bills.

The project will create approximately 1,000 kilowatts of energy a year, or enough to power 12 homes for an entire year. Whether the costs associated with harnessing solar power pay off the later benefits will be determined by Northwestern over the next few years.

The project is to be installed in June 2016 and should be operational by October 2016.

 

Source: http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/northwestern-teams-up-with-bozeman-for-solar-project/39094588

Bozeman Schools Look Into Additional High School Expansion Plan

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

The Bozeman School District has delayed a vote to narrow Bozeman High’s expansion plan in light of a new hybrid plan raised in late March. Officials had been wrestling between two high school expansion plans, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. The third plan, if accepted, would try to lower the drawbacks seen in previous plans.

Bozeman had been debating two expansion plans. In the first idea, Bozeman would build a new, fully separated high school. The new school would operate as a separate entity from BHS. This expansion plan would follow the model set by towns in Montana who already have two to three high schools (i.e. Missoula, Helena, Billings etc.). A new highschool would cost the most money to build but would lead to less renovations and expansions in the future. Funding the two high schools would become the biggest drawback going forward, as both schools would then be expected to field separate athletic teams, music groups and clubs. Operating costs for new administration, librarians, custodians etc. would cost $1.5 million alone. Many residents worry that optional classes like Advanced Placement Coursework, art and foreign languages would be narrowed if funding became an issue.  

In the second idea, the school district would build a new building for Freshman only. The building would house up to 800 students and would be designed to be expanded later down the line. This plan would keep all students under the Bozeman High School umbrella. Although more classes could be offered in comparison to idea one, idea two will make athletics and music highly competitive and therefore would be offered based on merit, instead of being an open activity.

In late March, officials came up with a third idea to try and negotiate between the drawbacks of the first two plans. In this hybrid idea, Bozeman would move forward building a new high school. However, the district would shuffle which grades attended which schools, to help make numbers even between Elementary, Middle and High School. Currently, Bozeman High is a 4 year school, housing 2,000 students. The new school, capable of holding 2,200 students, would only take  10th, 11th and 12th graders, leaving plenty of room to grow into the building.

Eighth and ninth graders would then attend Junior High School in the current building. Chief Joseph and Sacajawea would take 5th through 7th graders (currently taking 6th through 8th) while elementary schools would take Kindergarten through 4th graders (currently Kindergarten through 5th grade.) By redistributing the students, both high schools would be left with plenty of room to expand.

In light of the new idea, as well as the impending bond vote on the new Law and Justice Center in Bozeman in November, officials will not put the bond before voters until May 2017. Which plan they put in front of voters will in be determined in May.

 

 

Source: http://www.kbzk.com/story/31594431/new-idea-on-the-table-for-bozeman-high-expansion

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/decision-delayed-to-check-out-new-plan-for-bozeman-high/article_46b8b65e-6c13-5b91-93bb-41bf8e33d332.html

Gallatin Valley Single Family Home Sales Through February 2016

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

This month, we will compare the first two months of single family home sales in 2015 to the first two months in 2016. Here are some statistics:

  • Total home sales decreased by 15.98% in January and February this year. (253 sold in Quarter 1 of 2015, 169 through February 2015. 142 sold through February 2016.)
  • Total dollar volume decreased by 6.90% in January and February this year. ($104,984,245 in Quarter 1 of 2015, $69,989,501 through February 2015. $65,158,535 through February 2016.)
  • Homes have spent 13.91% less time on the market this year. (115 days on the market in Quarter 1 of 2015, 99 days on the market in 2016.)

HOWEVER, its important to note that as of 2/29/16, 286 single family homes were under contract in 2016, representing $135,862,319 in dollar volume. (To put this in perspective, Quarter 1 last year had $104,984,245 in dollar volume for all 3 months). Those figures do not contribute to 2016 totals until those homes have closed.

Summary – It was a sleepy start to the Gallatin Valley real estate market in 2016. January and February saw home sales and dollar volume decrease compared to 2015. However, a huge number of pending home sales have still yet to be added in, suggesting that March numbers will be extremely high. Although the above numbers would not suggest it, Quarter 1 of 2016 is on track to outpace the first quarter of 2015.

Bozeman, Belgrade and Gallatin County to Coordinate Land Planning Efforts

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

The Gallatin County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a new committee designed to improve coordination between Bozeman, Belgrade and Gallatin County planners. The Bozeman City Commission and the Belgrade City Council are planning on approving similar measures in the coming weeks.

The new committee has been approved to help the whole valley better address the rapid growth seen in the area in the past few years. Both Bozeman and Belgrade real estate markets have been extremely fast paced and new residents come almost daily to Bozeman or Belgrade.

Currently, incorporated cities like Bozeman and Belgrade are responsible for planning and development within their own borders. The Gallatin County generally takes care of planning and development in unincorporated areas of the county. Now, the new committee will help direct planning efforts between the cities and the county, helping keep the overall growth organized and positive.

The idea first took form in 2014, from a study that suggested an overarching committee coupled with frequently updated formal growth plans would be necessary to grow effectively. Before this, land use planning had not been formally addressed between the three governments.

The committee will help the governments share information and discuss planning issues before they become bigger problems. The committee will meet a few times a year and will serve in an advisory role to the three governments.

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/county-endorses-planning-coordination-with-bozeman-belgrade/article_b1eb8e5a-1eaa-5868-8a52-3465411f6fbe.html

Bozeman to Update Historic District Regulations in Future

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

The Bozeman City Commission approved a plan to adjust Bozeman’s Historic District Regulations in the future. However, the city will not remove any existing rules until a new system has been put into place.

Since 1991, Bozeman has used a Neighborhood Conservation Overlay District, or NCOD, to regulate where and how residents can update historically significant buildings. Because the district represents Bozeman’s approximate boundary in 1957, many buildings have historical significance to the city and contribute character and cultural significance to Bozeman.

However, in the attempt to preserve history, some regulations might be seen as bureaucratic by some. For example, every homeowner within the Neighborhood Conservation Overlay District must apply for a certificate of appropriateness before they can alter their home, particularly its exterior. In its current form, the district functions much like a Home Owner’s Association, regulating changes within the neighborhood to keep a consistent culture and feel within a neighborhood.

Last year, Bozeman commissioned a study in April that ultimately recommended that changes would be needed. In the midst of high growth and rising property values, Bozeman wants to break up the large overlay and create more specified districts. City officials believe this will help neighborhoods address their specific problems with less wait and less hassle. Changes might also open the door for additional infill and subdividing, alleviating high home prices by adding more home inventory to the market.

Each neighborhood could also direct growth with better communication from and between officials and residents.  By creating multiple districts, some emphasizing history, others design, regulations will be better tailored to fit the needs of the neighborhood.

The City of Bozeman also announced that it would update Bozeman’s inventory of historic buildings. The list hasn’t been updated since the 1980’s. Some Bozeman residents could see their property values change if their property is labeled as historic.

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/commissioners-back-tweaking-bozeman-historic-preservation-regs/article_5cc86b26-77f2-5a89-9c75-00796e2af278.html

Bozeman Book Mobile Ready to Roll

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

The Bozeman Public Library has officially raised enough money to purchase their Book Mobile, a mobile library designed to bring library amenities to all Bozeman residents.

The library purchased the mobile libray for $320,000. Originally, the library had hoped to raise $600,000 for costs. The library has raised $400,000, with extras going towards an endowment designed to maintain the vehicle. They received a $300,000 dollar donation in mid 2015. However, $600,000 will eventually be needed to stay within budget. The Book mobile will be 40 feet long, come with solar panels and will be handicap accessible. It will also have wi-fi, allowing it to be used for other library programs.

Now, library officials will work on continuing to fundraise while designing the new Book Mobile’s route around Bozeman.

The book mobile will be used to help residents in Bozeman use the amenities provided by the library if they cannot make it to the physical library themselves. Children and the elderly have been highlighted as main segments of the population who might not have full library access. Having a mobile library will help these people get books, information and any help they might need.

 

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/library-foundation-moves-forward-with-bozeman-bookmobile-purchase/article_9e4f2a67-faf5-50b0-ab3f-90ec8c9dff00.html

Land Trust Donates to Future Bozeman Park

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

The Trust for Public Land bought a 5-acre piece of land from the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Montana. The parcel adjoins the to-be-built Story Mill Community Park to the Northeast of town. The Trust for Public Land intends to donate the property to the City of Bozeman for the new park.

Adding new, adjacent public land to the park will make the public area near Bridger Canyon all the better. The park received $75,000 in 2015 as well, helping park officials carry out their goals.

The park already plans to develop 54+ acres, creating a top tier park for Bozeman residents. Park officials have discussed including picnic areas, shelters, climbing rocks, playground equipment, fields, dog parks and an outdoor ampitheatre, potentially creating the most amenity filled park in Bozeman. Park creators want to connect the park into the vast Bozeman Trail system as well as the nearby M hike and Drinking Horse Trails.

The land includes a 11,000 plus square foot building with gymnasium and meeting rooms.

Read more about Land Trusts here and how they serve the community by safeguarding public land.  

 

Source: http://www.belgrade-news.com/news/municipal/article_ca6b7aae-efab-11e5-ad29-97dce0c1ab40.html

 

 

Bozeman High School Narrows School Expansion Plans to Two

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Bozeman School officials have narrowed Bozeman High School’s inevitable expansion down to two solutions. Officials also eliminated any possibility of expanding the current high school any further.

One option remaining calls for building a separate campus for Freshmen, still under the Bozeman High School umbrella. That campus would accommodate 800 students.

The second option calls for building a second high school right away. This school would be a separate entity from Bozeman High School.

The third option, now no longer being pursued, called to expand the current high school again—this time to 3,000 students.

High school enrollment in Bozeman is projected to reach 2,400 students by 2020. The pros and cons of building a freshmen campus over a full high school focus on money available compared to expected growth in Bozeman. Creating a separated Freshmen campus would be cheaper on the front end, but could potentially limit future expansions. Creating a full high school would cost more but allow for more flexibility in the future. Creating a separate high school would also require initial growing pains as districts would need to be redrawn, class availability could be affected and athletics would require new organization.

In light of narrowing down their choices, Bozeman school officials have also moved to delay the multi-million dollar bond proposal for the new school. Initially to be brought up in November 2016, officials have moved the vote to May 2017 to avoid competing against the other multi-million dollar proposal –a new Bozeman/Gallatin County Law and Justice Center. The Bozeman community already approved expansions of Sacajawea Middle School and Hawthorne Elementary in 2015.

Although the vote might be delayed, the school district continues to gather funds to address Bozeman growth. The board approved a $550,000 property tax increase for 2016 for dealing with growth and building repairs. The plan will increase taxes by 9.9 million over six years. The 10% raise will hire 11 more teachers to address Bozeman’s 3.2% increase in enrollment. The money will also go towards repairs of school buildings.

 

 

Source: http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Bozeman-s-high-school-expansion-plans-narrowed/38554020

http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Bozeman-s-high-school-expansion-plans-narrowed/38554020

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/bozeman-school-board-to-vote-on-tax-levies/article_4124e0e1-7ac8-55bb-aff0-d8863f20c76b.html

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/bozeman-high-bond-may-wait-until/article_d7994ac1-ea72-5b5a-8db7-e6c1c7cf4a5c.html

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/bozeman-high-full-already-expecting-more-students/article_5cc06f8f-06f2-57cb-aa04-e79d02b1b7ee.html

Bozeman Addressing Wages and Cost of Living

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Bozeman’s new mayor, Carson Taylor, has probed interest from residents and city officials to see how they would react to a potential minimum wage hike in town. The query comes in response to the cost of living in Bozeman, coupled with its average wages.

Bozeman’s cost of living is slightly above average. Bozeman’s score for 2015 hit 102.7. An average cost of living scores a 100 flat, so Bozeman’s cost of living is 2.7% above the national average. Last year, Bozeman living sat at 0.8% above the national average. Manhattan, New York has an average cost of living at 27% above the national average.

The report researched six different categories: groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, health care, and goods and services.

Housing affordability has been one of Bozeman’s major obstacles as its grown. Housing costs were 12.9% above the national average. Low utility rates, 15% below average, helped bring Bozeman to a more average level.

However, once coupled with wage growth in Bozeman, the city may actually be less affordable than it appears on the surface. Bozeman’s wages sit at about 73% of national averages due to its high tourism, university jobs, and its status as retail center for Gallatin Valley. All of these sectors offer few full time jobs, often at lower pay grades. Once wage-adjusted, Bozeman’s cost of living increases to 140.1, or 40% above the national average.

Bozeman makes up for its costs with its amenities. Bozeman has been honored as one of the nation’s most livable places as well as a a top 16 worldwide destination. Its activities and its community continue to counteract above average costs. Although the cost of living may appear daunting, Bozeman’s economic growth bodes extremely well for wage growth in the future. As businesses continue to find great success in the area, competition will increase for qualified employees, helping job hunters negotiate for higher wages going forward.

 

Source: http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Bozeman-mayor-considers-minimum-wage-hike/37785442

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/study-says-bozeman-s-cost-of-living-above-average/article_f87743af-6c4d-5326-8fa5-4dafcb0359b4.html

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/economy/low-bozeman-wages-put-cost-of-living-stats-in-perspective/article_150aa8f2-0acc-560d-93b7-472cfbdd11b3.html

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 283

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