Bozeman City Commissioners rejected the proposal by Bozeman area builders to lighten parkland requirements to make homes more affordable. They city remained open to the idea of lowering lot size requirements to increase inventory and lower prices of homes in Bozeman.
Bozeman builders were asked by City Commissioners to come up with several proposals in mid March to lower the prices of homes in the area. Despite high permit requests, new construction has not alleviated rising home values. Builders pushed for less mandated parkland in new subdivisions—a request, they believed would help lower prices while keeping their jobs affordable and feasible. City code currently specifies that 0.3 acres be set aside as parkland for each dwelling unit in new subdivisions. Builders believe that not being able to use this land has been a major cost driver for home values because there are less total homes available in Bozeman. Their proposal was denied outright by the city.
They came with another alternative as well, one that is still being considered by commissioners—lowering lot size requirements. Current minimum lot size is set 5,000 sq. ft. but builders want this lowered to 2,000 sq. ft. Again, this would be to raise home inventory, and having more homes would lower existing prices based on competition.
Other proposals included subsidizing impact fees and improving down payment assistance programs, but both would need public funds and much more deliberation to be considered.
The city was open to lowering their lot sizes, but they did not decide on what size they would be comfortable with moving forward. The city has also looked into adding more “pocket neighborhoods,” based on how their experiment in the Lakes at Valley West is received. When the decision comes from commissioners on how they will tackle affordability, it will be a major decision that affects home building, home prices, and the overall Bozeman real estate market for years to come.