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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 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

Job Market Spurs US Housing Market Forward

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Job growth in 2015 certainly helped spur the housing market forward. Most experts believe 2016 will follow the pattern, with job creation leading to increased activity in the United States Housing Market. Most believe the two sectors are linked and that as people find new, higher paying jobs, home values and activity will both rise with it.

The job market created 2.6 million new jobs in 2015. Unemployment hit 5% in 2015, down from 5.8% in 2014. Urban centers and high tech hubs experienced the most growth in both job creation and housing activity. Places like San Francisco, Denver and Seatlle all had huge employment gains. Low and behold, they are also some of the nation’s busiest and most expensive housing markets.

The relationship between job growth and housing market growth seems pretty apparent. As great jobs come onto the market, new workers will need to find places to live. The influx of workers leads to increased activity as well as increased price in these hot markets.

Bozeman, though certainly not a city, has experienced huge real estate growth recently. Guess what? The Gallatin County remains one of the top counties in the state for high wages and low unemployment. Montana had its lowest unemployment rate since 2007. And, it seems like no coincidence that Bozeman is also considered the tech capital of Montana and that it also has the fastest growing economy in Montana.

The improved economy has fueled a rise in real estate transaction across the nation. Bozeman’s housing market activity has increased consistently year over year, showing that Bozeman is also falling in line with patterns established by the national housing market.

 

Source: http://www.realtor.com/news/trends/housing-industry-rises-with-job-market/

 

 

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

Bozeman Planning for Growth in 2016

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Bozeman officials made it clear they are planning for growth in 2016 when they outlined their goals and hope for the town for the coming year. With the fastest growing economy in Montana and part of the fastest growing county in the state, officials will need to continue working to stay ahead of growth.

The city wants to focus on improving infrastructure, streets and transportation and affordable housing. Street maintenance and traffic have both been impacted by Bozeman’s booming housing market—a market that has driven up home values in the area. As Bozeman continues to grow, officials will need to continue staying ahead of the curve on city growth and planning.

To do this, commissioners recently approved hiring an Oregon consultant to study and improve Bozeman’s strategic planning effort. HDR engineering will look at policies, land use planning, infrastructure and budgeting to develop a plan that will keep Bozeman on its positive track. The consultant will look for vague and contradictory planning strategies and look to improve them.

Leaders have also started to tackle plans to put a plan for a new Law and Justice Center on the November ballot. Ideally, Bozeman wants to make the new center more affordable by using the building for both Bozeman and Gallatin County legal matters. Right now, officials estimate that the building will cost between 50 and 80 million. To narrow the estimate by November to give voters a better sense of what they may or may not be approving, Bozeman has hired a contractor to provide a plan and price quote by July 1st.

Bozeman officials have done well to stay ahead of Bozeman’s growth. In depth planning, coupled with improving plans already in place, should help maintain Bozeman’s beautiful landscape and culture amidst its growth.

 

 

Sources: http://www.abcfoxmontana.com/story/31298368/bozeman-sets-goals-for-new-year

 http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/split-bozeman-commission-approves-k-strategic-planning-effort/article_6a350d69-4e36-57ad-839b-c6c53a649674.html/#utm_source=bozemandailychronicle.com&utm_campaign=related-by-section&utm_medium=direct&utm_term=split%20bozeman%20commission%20approves%20%24124k%20strategic%20planning%20effort

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/bozeman-gallatin-county-officials-to-hire-justice-center-contractor/article_c32249cf-8ae4-552f-90c6-7064b65f07f0.html

Bridger Alternative Program Now Montana’s First Charter School

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

In late February, the Bozeman School Board agreed unanimously to turn Bridger Alternative into Montana’s first Charter School. The school had originally been founded as an alternative program within Bozeman High School to help at risk teens graduate from high school.

Bridger Alternative’s program utilizes a competency model to determine how and when a student graduates. In traditional public schools like Bozeman High School, students complete a minimum number of days to graduate and also need passing grades. Bridger alternative students can earn credits by showing clear mastery of a skill, such as math, physics, English etc, allowing students to move quicker or slower through material when necessary.

Now that the school has grown to 80 students and has six full time faculty, the school board has gone ahead with designating Bridger Alternative as a Charter School. Although no immediate changes will be seen with the designation, eventually the school will be able to offer more performance based courses now that they aren’t tied to a public school and its rules. Currently, students at Bridger Alternative split time between the program traditional classes at Bozeman High. One day, with Charter designation and the ability to offer additional classes, students might be able to take every class at Bridger Alternative.

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/bozeman-votes-to-create-state-s-first-charter-school/article_7ba1f0ae-6d1c-506d-b1cc-2dfb2fe55153.html

 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 167

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