Pillory: Heartless Homeowners

If you like the view, live in town.

Bozeman isn’t getting any smaller, and neither are the houses going up on the outskirts of town. Make no mistake: we understand that this is an inevitable result of growth. But there are certain homes (and homeowners) that have taken it too far. And none are more deserving of public scrutiny than the growing number of skylined estates and waterfront citadels.

You can’t miss them, even if you try. Just head up Springhill or take a drive through the Madison Valley. These are open spaces, no doubt, but it’s likely you won’t find a horizon free of gargantuan residences, some of which are just second or third homes.

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We get it: you have more money than most of us will make in our lifetimes and you’re really proud of it. The view from your 70-foot-tall living-room window has gotta be great. But must you flaunt it to the entire county? Your five-bedroom, ten-bathroom McMansion may seem cool to your elitist friends, but to everyone else, it’s an eyesore. Not to mention the unavoidable inference of compensation. Maybe get a surgical extension? It’ll save you money and nobody else will have to look at it.

Sure, you get to admire your stately manor from the road in; but what about the rest of the community? Yes, community—we’re all in this together, bro. Did you consider anyone else when deciding where to build? Did you think about how constructing a colossal villa directly on top of the nearest hill or five feet from the riverbank might ruin a beautiful view forever? The more pronounced your house, the bigger your ego—and egos are unattractive adornments worn by folks who are really, really into themselves. Thing is, in Montana, we’re into other people, too. “Love thy neighbor” means something ‘round here, and a gross display of personal excess is far from love.

Try this mantra on for size: fewer selfies, more photos of beautiful landscapes—and apply it both literally and figuratively.

Not to mention, why would you spend all that cash for a view of cars and watercraft cruising past? Wouldn’t you rather be nestled in the trees or tucked back in a ravine, enjoying the solitude, nothing but nature all around? Oh right, then everyone else wouldn’t know how much money you have.

In sum: if you moved here with a high net worth, fine—welcome to town. But for God’s sake, man, respect the interests of others and observe the values of your new community. When building your house, keep ‘er below the skyline or set back from the river. If not, to the pillory with you! You may be surprised at how many folks show up to pelt you in the face with rotten veggies.