Frontier Institute Statement In Support Of HB 337

Frontier Institute Statement In Support Of HB 337

Legislation advances Housing Task Force recommendation for zoning reform

HELENA – Today the Frontier Institute offered support for HB 337, a bill that follows Governor Gianforte’s Housing Task Force recommendations to prohibit excessive minimum lot areas in cities.

“Addressing excessive minimum lot areas must be a key part of the 2023 pro-housing platform,” said Kendall Cotton, President and CEO of the Frontier Institute. “HB 337 will give landowners more freedom to build affordable starter homes that are desperately needed in Montana cities.”

Minimum Lot Areas are a common local government zoning regulation which mandates that a certain type of home can only be built on a certain size of lot within a particular zoning district. 

Frontier Institute has promoted extensive research showing:

  • Excessive Minimum Lot Areas contribute to Montana’s housing shortage, driving up the cost of housing for everyone.
  • Excessive Minimum Lot Areas prohibit affordable starter homes like duplexes, townhomes and triplexes when the lot size required exceeds the dimensions of existing lots.
  • Excessive Minimum Lot Areas penalize affordable starter homes by requiring larger and more expensive lots for each additional unit added to a building, even if the building takes up no additional room.
  • Excessive Minimum Lot Areas drive urban sprawl, eating up surrounding open space and rural land with development.
  • Excessive Minimum Lot Areas inflate city infrastructure costs by forcing housing development to sprawl outward, requiring more government spending and higher taxes.
  • Smaller lots are 40% cheaper to serve with up-front utility needs than excessive lots.
  • Excessive Minimum Lot Areas rob cities of new sources of revenue by blocking more residents and businesses in city limits.

HB 337 follows Governor Gianforte’s Housing Task Force Recommendation 2A. Frontier Institute’s Cotton served as a member of the Housing Task Force.

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