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.