Montana Governor Signs Zoning Reform Bills

Four bills that target housing production promise to streamline permitting processes, reform ADU regulations, and loosen zoning restrictions in commercially zoned areas.

1 minute read

May 24, 2023, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Aerial view of Missoula, Montana

jonbilous / Missoula, Montana

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed into law four new zoning reform bills aimed at encouraging more housing development in the state and promoting smart growth that limits sprawl and protects the state’s agricultural areas, a key flashpoint for the housing debate in Montana. David Erickson covers the story in Missoulian.

Senate Bill 407, according to the governor, “streamlines permitting for commercial and residential development by eliminating local design review by volunteer boards, reducing costs associated with permitting delays.” Sen. Shane Morigeau, who sponsored the bill, expressed disappointment that Republican lawmakers opposed efforts to include more immediate relief efforts for renters and other residents struggling with housing costs.

Another bill, SB 382, requires local governments to develop plans for meeting future housing needs through zoning and land use reform. Yet another allows for the construction of accessory dwelling units (ADUs), while the fourth bill allows housing development in some areas previously zoned for commercial uses.

The package of bills was passed by the state legislature in April.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023 in The Missoulian

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