Big Sky works toward more affordable housing units for year-round employees


Big Sky needing more affordable housing units for year-round employees

BOZEMAN, Mont. - A new effort to bring more affordable housing to Big Sky for workers who are employed at year-round jobs is underway.

The project will be formed under what will be called the Big Sky Community Housing Trust, which will operate as a land trust and apply for tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service.

The trust will provide permanently affordable housing units by acquiring land and removing it from the for-profit real estate market.

The Big Sky Chamber of Commerce says about 83 percent of the city's primary workforce commutes every day.

"The vast majority of the people who are year-round, full-time employees want to live in Big Sky and not commute," said Kitty Clemens, the executive director of the chamber.

Clemens says housing in Big Sky is expensive. She says the average sale price of a housing unit is approaching $900,000. For workers, especially those who have never owned a home before, the prices are overbearing.

"The cost is expensive, the down payment is expensive, the homeowner dues and the property taxes," said Clemens.

The Big Sky Chamber of Commerce is working with the HRDC on the project. A special land donation from a local family will serve as a launching pad for the effort.

The family donated about 10 acres of land in the Westfork subdivision with the intention of providing housing for firefighters, law enforcement, teachers and others who work in Big Sky all year.

"The teachers come. It's too hard for them to live here, so once they have a little bit more experience on their resume, they're gone to a place where they can buy or rent something. And the children keep losing their favorite teachers, and it's just not good for anyone," said Clemens.

The housing will be reserved for only people who work in Big Sky year-round. If the unit gets sold, it must go to another person with a similar situation.

Clemens believes there will be a mixture of rental properties and multi-family units.

There will be an affordable housing meeting with potential homebuyers at the Big Sky School District in early April.

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