What is the UDC?
The UDC, or Unified Development Code, sets forth regulations around what kinds of development can occur in which areas through development standards, zoning districts, and subdivision rules.
The ongoing project to update the UDC is an effort to implement the vision and goals established in Bozeman's guiding documents, such as the 2020 Community Plan, the Climate Action Plan, and strategic priorities like affordable housing. We are working to amend the development rules and regulations so that the built environment in Bozeman better reflects our Commission-adopted goals and desired outcomes.
What can (and can't) the UDC regulate?
The UDC doesn't control everything. Key aspects of UDC-based regulations include zoning (which regulates things like building height, shape and size, transitions, parking requirements, and land uses), the subdivision of land, the building permitting process, and certain aspects of the public realm, like new sidewalks.
The UDC does not set City policy, nor does it control tax revenues or City expenditures. The UDC also does not regulate things in the Building Code (like fire safety standards and insulation requirements), transportation planning, or items governed by state and federal law (such as protected wetlands or certain utility standards). The UDC cannot force a person to sell or redevelop their property, and it cannot simply require a developer to build affordable housing (per Montana Code Annotated Sec. 76-2-302).
Where does the UDC apply?
The Unified Development Code only applies within the limits of Bozeman and has no authority outside of the city limits. Bozeman occupies a smaller space than many expect. This map shows the City limits shaded in blue. Areas outside of Bozeman are regulated by Gallatin County or other municipalities.
Will there be future updates to the UDC?
Yes. The current update project is targeted on specific focus areas. The City regularly updates the UDC as laws change, policies are revised, and plans are adopted.
What is the Community Plan?
The 2020 Community Plan was adopted by the City Commission and serves as the fundamental policy document guiding further growth and community development in Bozeman. It was adopted after a thorough public engagement process and meets the requirements of Section 76-1-601 of the Montana Code Annotated. The City has had five community plans dating back to 1958, the most recent previous one being the 2009 plan.
What is Zoning?
Zoning includes the regulations which govern the built form and the private use of land in Bozeman. These regulations utilize zoning districts which are drawn onto a zoning map. Each district has its own allocated physical and land use-related rules. Zoning authority is granted to cities and incorporated towns by the Montana Code Annotated, Sec. 76-2-301.
Are there other planning and regulatory updates underway?
Yes. The City is currently developing water conservation regulations that will move forward to public review in early 2023. The City is also working on a sensitive lands plan for the broader Gallatin Valley with various public and private partners, and is nearing completion of the Parks, Recreation, and Active Transportation master plan update (visit engage.bozeman.net/pratplan for more information).
What is the Gallatin Valley Sensitive Lands Protection Plan?
The Gallatin Valley Sensitive Lands Protection Plan is an ongoing planning effort in the Bozeman area which will create recommendations for new policy and programs, regulatory tools, funding sources, legislative initiatives, and partnerships related to wildlife and environmental protection throughout Gallatin Valley. This effort include multiple groups and jurisdictions, including the City of Bozeman, and is a separate process from the development code update.
To learn more about the Sensitive Lands Protection Plan, visit the project site here.