Free the ADUs
Some Montanans are turning to manufactured tiny homes as an affordable alternative to standard sized homes. But in many areas of our state, regulations stand in the way of tiny home development.
“The entrepreneur profits to the extent he has succeeded in serving the consumers better than other people have done” – Ludwig Von Mises
As an answer to the housing shortage, some Montanans are turning to manufactured tiny homes as an affordable alternative to standard sized homes. But in many areas of our state, regulations stand in the way of tiny home development.
Foothold, a company in Bozeman, is trying to develop tiny homes in Butte, but the city currently prohibits Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). ADUs, are typically secondary dwellings built on an existing lot like a guest house or mother-in-law suite, and often can take the form of tiny homes. Experts argue that ADUs can help increase the supply of housing at affordable price points, especially for renters and first-time home buyers. They can also be ways that current lot owners can supplement their income to continue affording their existing home.
While Butte is looking at revising zoning regulations to allow such developments, similar regulatory barriers exist in Livingston and many other cities in Montana.
This week, Kalispell voted to begin allowing ADUs, but with some strong regulatory caveats. ADUs would only be allowed on lots already zoned for duplexes, leaving out a majority of lots in the city with single family homes. Additionally, the ADUs would be limited to no more than 1000 sq ft of living space. And despite the small size of the units, lots would be required to reserve two parking spaces for each ADU.
Research clearly shows that regulations like those imposed by Kalispell stifle development and increase the costs to build more housing. While entrepreneurs are striving to provide cheaper, more affordable homes, local government regulations continue to serve as some of the biggest barriers to affordable housing development.
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Return to Work
- Governor Gianforte announced a new process for employers to notify the Montana Department of Labor & Industry (DLI) if an unemployment insurance (UI) claimant fails to appear for a scheduled interview. Montana law requires UI claimants to make an active, good-faith effort to secure employment every week benefits are claimed – which includes interviewing for open jobs.
“We’ve recently heard from employers across the state with a common complaint: candidates for open positions submit applications and schedule interviews, only to skip out on it,” Governor Gianforte said. “This new process established by Commissioner Esau will cut down on wasted time for Montana small businesses and ensure UI claimants are adhering to program rules.”
This is a great move by the Governor. By creating a process to crack down on fraudsters, Montana can ensure that unemployment insurance funding continues to be available for those who truly need it.
Markets not Government
- Don’t miss Frontier Institute Director Larry Reed’s latest column in F.E.E. about how Montana is revolutionizing healthcare with markets instead of government.
SB 101, a Frontier Institute bill signed this spring to allow the maximum freedom for medical entrepreneurs to offer affordable Direct Patient Care to their patients, is quickly becoming a model that states around the country are looking to implement. Frontier Institute CEO Kendall Cotton was invited to speak to Wisconsin lawmakers at Concordia University last week about how they can follow Montana’s lead.
- Our friend David Balat, Director of the Right on Healthcare Initiative, wrote an excellent column highlighting President Biden’s “refreshing” Executive Order on competition in our economy and parsing out areas where the left and the right might be able to agree:
“‘Too often,’ the President noted recently, ‘the government has actually made it harder for new companies to break in and compete.’ Let’s see if his actions match his words.”
President Biden’s focus on promoting market competition is certainly encouraging. I hope that this leads to bipartisan consensus around repealing government regulations like Certificate of Need laws that protect market incumbents at the expense of entrepreneurs and competitors. After all, the most competitive markets are free markets.