Bozeman proposed land use map

Residents look at some of the proposed land use maps compiled by the City of Bozeman as part of its growth policy during an open house on Wednesday evening.

BOZEMAN, Mont. – The big question ringing around Bozeman as its explosive growth continues: where will the next tens of thousands of residents expected to move to the area in the coming decades live and work? On Thursday night, city officials presented a plan to the public that they hope will address that question.

The proposed land use map is part of the larger Bozeman Community Plan, the city’s growth policy.

Thursday’s open house allowed residents to raise concerns to city officials and planners and get their questions answered.

Some estimates suggest Bozeman will have a population of more than 100,000 - twice its present size and roughly the population of Montana’s largest city currently, Billings - within decades.

As many native Bozemanites often point out, the Gallatin Valley’s biggest town is beloved as it is now, and - possibly even more - as it was in the past. But with approximately ten new people moving to the area everyday, change is inevitable.

The city has said it hopes to grow Bozeman in a responsible way, starting with its larger community plan.

Some of the residents who attended Thursday’s open house told Montana Right Now they hadn’t come to a conclusion on the proposed map yet, but they admire the city’s work.

“I don’t know if we know enough yet,” said Bridget Wilkinson on whether or not she approved of the map. “I mean, I think that was part of being here, was that I think we’re still trying to understand that.”

“Yeah, I agree completely,” added husband Tyler. “It’s very tough, the road that they have to walk every single day. And I think that they’re doing a great job. There’s a lot of steps to be had, though.”

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