A “growth policy” is a new term for what often is referred to as a Comprehensive Plan or a Master Plan. Any of these terms refer to a long-range plan meant to guide development and public policy decisions which shape the physical, environmental, economic and social character of the area included in the plan. A growth policy includes maps and policies which depict land uses, and direct those uses and the arrangement of future uses. On October 22, 2001, the Bozeman City Commission adopted the Bozeman 2020 Community Plan as a growth policy for the City.
Bozeman 2020 Planning Area
The planning area of the Bozeman 2020 Community Plan includes the City of Bozemanas well as a quarter- to one-mile area beyond the City limits. The jurisdictional area of the Bozeman 2020 plan is limited to the area within the corporate limits of Bozeman. However, the plan itself considers areas outside of the current City limits; but the plan is only an advisory document for those areas not within the City. The intent is to provide guidance to real estate owners and public officials as properties are annexed in the future, and to provide a means of coordination between City and County planning efforts.
What information does Bozeman’s 2020 plan contain?
- Community goals and objectives;
- Maps and text describing an inventory of the existing characteristics and features of the community;
- Projected trends for the life of the policy;
- A description of policies, regulations, and other measures to be implemented in order to achieve the goals and objectives;
- A strategy for the development, maintenance, and replacement of public infrastructure;
- A plan for implementing and updating the growth policy;
- A statement of how the governing bodies will coordinate and cooperate with other jurisdictions;
- A statement defining real estate subdivision review criteria, and how the criteria will be applied; and
- A statement explaining how public hearings regarding proposed subdivisions will be conducted.
The Bozeman 2020 plan contains all of this information, and is therefore compliant with state law.
What Does Bozeman’s 2020 Community Plan Contain?
All of the generic requirements outlined in state statutes have been addressed in a way that expresses Bozeman’s unique characters, conditions, and vision. Generally,Bozeman’s growth policy espouses the following principals:
- Development of human scale, walkable neighborhoods where residences, businesses and other commercial uses are within walking distance of one another;
- Infill or redevelopment projects located in already developed areas and relying on adjacent real estate uses, as well as larger new towns complete with their own village centers and hundreds of acres of mixed housing types;
- Neighborhoods that contain a variety of buildings
- ranging from single-family attached and detached homes, to mixed use centers, complete with integrated retail, civic, office, and residential uses, including live-work units, and housing units located above shops;
- Various uses are connected and unified by a network of safe streets, and pedestrian and bicycle pathways;
- Pedestrian-oriented neighborhoods with human scaled buildings that relate to the street, provide safe pedestrian access, and create a distinct district identity; and
- Preservation of environmentally and historically sensitive or significant real estate, and the incorporation of a variety of open space and recreational amenities into new development.
Public Involvement in Bozeman’s 2020 Plan
Public involvement and public education was critically important to the Bozeman 2020 Community Plan planning effort. It was very important that the community had meaningful opportunities to contribute to the plan’s preparation. Montana law requires public hearings to be held and any proposed documents must be available to the public for review. It is best if the general community has been involved since the beginning of the real estate planning process and familiar with the plan prior to public hearings. The Bozeman Planning Board provided a wide range of opportunities for public participation. Some examples include:
Community Characteristic and Opinion Survey
1200 randomly selected households were asked basic questions regarding their housing and economic status, and what they did or did not like about Bozeman.
Four open houses were held on November 15-18, 1999. Persons who attended had the opportunity to comment on housing, transportation, public services, and other subjects. Another informal survey was available for attendees to provide written comments regarding real estate planning.
This three-day event allowed participants to work in small groups to graphically address issues. The objective of the groups was to develop maps, diagrams, and drawings exploring various alternatives.
Persons wishing to participate in planning for specific segments of the plan were provided the opportunity to take part in focus groups. Sign up sheets were available during the kickoff events, and newspaper display ads were used.
The Planning Board was available to meet with community groups, make presentations, and answer questions regarding the real estate planning process.
City Web Site
All documents created during the Bozeman 2020 processes were made available through the City’s web site. The site was available 24 hours a day.
Wrap Up Open Houses
Five open houses were held on four consecutive evenings at four different elementary schools, and one entire day at the Mall. These open houses featured finalized goals & objectives, as well as community plan maps.
The Planning Board held public hearings before recommending approval of the growth policy. The City Commission held public hearings before adopting the growth policy. A total of four public hearings were held.
The Planning Board established a newsletter which was issued at key points during the Bozeman 2020 process. By the end of the planning process, the Planning Department maintained a mailing list of over 300 people and organizations.
Open Office Hours
Any person who had comments or questions was able to visit or write the Planning Department to view documents or discuss the real estate plan with planning staff. All written comments were forwarded to the Planning Board and City Commission during the plan review process. Not only did the Planning Board offer a wide range of public involvement opportunities, they also used a variety of event publicity methods:
- Display ads in newspaper
- Legal notices in newspaper
- Direct mailings
- Flyers in water/sewer bills
- E-mail to e-mail list
- Public service announcements
- TV/radio interviews and event coverage
- Radio call-in shows
- Press release
- Door knocking
- TV advertisement
- Newspaper op-eds, editorials, letters to the editor, articles