By KAITLYN NICHOLAS/Montana State New
The Bozeman City Commission unanimously voted to approve the student housing project proposal on Feb. 3. Commissioners voted four to zero in favor of the plan during their weekly Monday meeting. Commissioner Cyndy Andrus was not present for the vote.
“There is a significant need for student housing somewhere in the city, and we’ve been looking at this particular area for some time,” said Deputy Mayor Carson Taylor.
The approval was the first action needed to pass the motion to build the South University District subdivision on Kagy Boulevard between 19th Avenue and 11th Avenue.
The end goal of the proposal is a student living facility called Stadium View Apartments. The plan is to construct eight buildings with a total of 499 bedrooms within 139 apartments. Additionally, contractors hope to build a gym, outdoor volleyball court and parking lot in the center of the complex.
Supporters of the plan say that it upholds the Bozeman growth plan and will solve the lack of housing available to students attending Montana State University. City Commissioner Chris Mehl noted that Bozeman has just a 1 percent vacancy rate each year and the student population is growing significantly.
Residents of the area voiced their objections to the proposed complex. Brent Little, the owner of a local real estate company said the housing facility would lower surrounding real estate values and strongly suggested spreading out student housing throughout the city rather than clustering it in one area.
Other residents voiced opinions that the apartments would disrupt the neighborhood and increase traffic.
Local Edward Dratz, stated that the complex would create a “student ghetto” and make the neighborhood an undesirable location to live.
Bozeman Mayor Jeff Krauss insisted that locals needed to consider the fact that Montana State University is Bozeman’s largest employer. By increasing the housing for students, more jobs could become available.
“We have a very definitive plan going forward about how we see the city and a lot of it has to do with our largest employer,” said Krauss.
Those wanting to learn more about the student housing proposal can visit the Bozeman City Commission’s website at www.bozeman.net.
– Edited By Scott Phelan