UDC Update


The City of Bozeman’s development code update continues.  We are aggressively working to stay on track and are making great headway.  The Midtown zoning modifications and zoning map changes are complete, we recently brought proposed changes cash-in-lieu of parkland dedication and maintenance and demolition of historic properties before the City Commission, and other revisions will follow.  These modifications will be fully implemented in the spring with all other proposed changes.  Additional changes will be discussed in future meetings so stay tuned.  A complete adoption schedule is now available. 
Our reorganized development code is complete.  Bozeman's existing Unified Development Code (UDC) has been updated incrementally over several decades and is now organized into 44 articles.  This organization makes the code increasingly difficult to use and amend.  The re-organization consolidates it into seven articles as part of the effort to make the UDC easier to use for all participants.

Click Here to View the New Development Code Format
(Articles 1-7 under Development Code Reorganization and Numbering)

New Organization

  1. General provisions (user guide, and purpose & authority)
  2. Permits, legislative actions & procedures (consolidates project applications, review procedures, and approval criteria)
  3. Zoning districts & land use (introduces zones, permitted uses, and density & dimensional standards)
  4. Community design (includes standards related to public and larger scale community design issues such as streets, block size & connectivity, subdivision design, and parks)
  5. Project design (includes standards to apply to the design of individual developments, including development frontages, site planning, building design, parking, landscaping, signage, etc.)
  6. Natural resource protection (mostly wetlands and floodplain regulations)
  7. Definitions

These article titles are broad enough that future code amendments should easily be able fit within one of the articles (without having to add new articles at the end – a common current practice). 


Updated Chapter Hierarchy

The pyramid below identifies the updated hierarchy of the reorganized code.  The chart on pages 3-5 compares the article organization of existing code with the proposed code (as in several cases, current articles may be consolidated under one article as separate “divisions”.

This pyramid identifies the updated code.

Other User-Friendly Changes

Two other notable user-friendly changes have been made to the UDC update:

  1. Emphasize clear tables over long and often repetitive text lists.  The best examples of this are the permitted use  and form and intensity standards charts in Article 3.  Currently, there are several permitted use charts spread among multiple articles.  In the proposed update, the use charts are consolidated into two charts: one for residential-based districts and another for commercial and mixed-use districts.  A similar approach has been taken with the form and intensity standards.
  2. Illustrations are now located together in the section with applicable standards or provisions, rather than clustered at the end in an appendix.  This makes them much more accessible.

Existing Code Citations

For each section in the proposed new code, there is a citation of the applicable existing code number in parentheses and italicized

No Content or Policy Changes

The draft herein is strictly a re-organization with other user-friendly updates as noted above.  Though elements have shifted around and some clarifying text has been added, no changes to policies or standards have been made. 

Comparison Between Existing/Proposed Organization

The   Intro, Cross Reference & TOC runs through each article and identifies the new location for the UDC components – both in this initial re-organization and for updates that are planned with the full UDC text amendments (Phase 2).  For each existing/proposed article and division there are italicized notes indicating corresponding location of the provision in the existing/proposed code.



Last June, the City distributed a brief questionnaire regarding many of the recommendations made for phase one. A complete tally and list of comments from that effort are available here, but to summarize:

  • Respondents generally approved update recommendations, with close to 70% of the tally supporting concepts as either “Great idea” or “Good idea.”
  • Respondents liked recommendations proposed for Bozeman’s commercial districts, but also supported diversity, avoiding a “cookie cutter” look.
  • Concerns were expressed where strong buffer/transition areas were needed, preventing drastic changes in types of use and/or building heights.
  • Respondents offered strong support for housing diversity, including cottage housing, townhomes and accessory dwelling units (ADU’s), but were divided on whether to incentivize “affordable housing.” 
  • Respondents were nearly unanimous in requiring the dedication and/or improvement of parks, open spaces, and trails with new development. 

Community Design Framework

Our growing community is creating new challenges. Looking back, development has been relatively incremental and proportionate to the existing neighborhoods. With an annual growth rate of approximately 3.6% from 2014-2015. That's a lot of new people who call Bozeman home. To accomodate new residence while maintaining the character of our existing neighborhoods and develop in a manner that retains our sense of identity, the City is exploring a concept of a Community Framework to inform how revitalization, infill and new development integrates into our community. 

We have developed this map identifying areas that may employ this:

Select the Area maps below to zoom in and find out more about each area:

Area 1
Area 2 and 3
Area 4 and 6
Area 5
Area 7 and 10
Area 8
Area 9
Area 11
Area 12

About the Code Update

The Community Development Department is currently in the process of updating Bozeman's Development Code. The intent is that the Development Code clearly communicate the community's expectations for development as expressed in the Community Plan. The purposes of the 2015 Development Code Update are to:

  1. Implement the recommendations of the City's adopted Comprehensive Plan (2009) and its detailed neighborhood and special area plans by:

  • Encouraging the creation of vibrant mixed-use districts,

  • Achieving high-quality infill and redevelopment,

  • Integrating thoughtful greenfield development,

  1. Generate North 7th Corridor Plan (Midtown) implementation and design provisions.

  2. Include traditional neighborhood development zoning districts for the Neighborhood Conservation Overlay District (NCOD)

  3. Include additional provisions to promote and support sustainability including best management practices (BMPs) for storm water, water use, and lighting, and linking land use and transportation (auto, transit, biking and pedestrian).

  4. Support the Comprehensive Plan to promote and support a safe, diverse, healthy, and affordable housing stock.

  5. Comply with changes to State Law.

  6. Make the Development Code a more concise and useable document.

The Development Code Update is a comprehensive update that covers many topics, diverse geographic area, and complex development-related issues. Please note that the calendar and news will be updated on an ongoing basis to reflect community interest as well as Planning Board, Zoning Commission and City Commission direction. All public meetings of proposed Development Code Amendments will be posted when available.

Please Contact Tom Rogers at 406-582-2260 for more information.


The City is also reviewing the Design Objectives Plan

. Please visit this project's page to learn more. 

Project Manager

Tom Rogers, AICP
Community Development
City of Bozeman