Update: Bozeman commissioners OK plans that would force renters out of homes

GALLATIN COUNTY

POSTED: 6:50 PM Jun 10 2013   UPDATED: 10:53 PM Jun 10 2013
New development plans force Bozeman renters out of their homes
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Late Monday evening, Bozeman City Commissioners approved of subdividing a downtown block. A resident renting on the block said he has been served an eviction notice to make way for new development.

The development will sit between Black and Tracy Streets, and East Lamme and Beall Streets.

NBC Montana caught up with the renter, Elisha Mann, who lives in one of the homes scheduled to be demolished. Mann told us he received a letter terminating his lease and has until June 30 to move out.

"I don't like it. This house is over 100-years old. I'm being forced to move. We haven't done anything wrong to be kicked out," said Mann.

Mann told us he had no idea this project was in the works and now has no idea where he will live.

"We have three weeks to find a place; hopefully we can," he said.

Three houses will be demolished, now that Bozeman City Commissioners have greenlighted the Block M project.

On Monday night, they approved subdividing the lot from 10 to 20 spaces for the townhouses. After a lengthy discussion, they gave the OK for the Infill Project Site Plan, with a few conditional changes.

A few residents spoke up at Monday night's meeting. One said the project would help build a vibrant downtown. But another said demolishing the historic houses would ruin the character and charm of the neighborhood.

Property owners Kenyon Noble Lumber Company and Block M LLC want to build townhouses. City officials say the project would provide more housing in the downtown area.

We sat down with Bozeman's Economic Development Director, Brit Fontenot, who told us the city supports the plan.

Fontenot explained to us city officials want a project that will drive more visitors and residents into the area. "For good business to occur and quality of life levels to be raised and add to our tax base -- creating a self sustaining local economy," said Fontenot.

NBC Montana will continue to follow the latest developments on this story.