Frontier Institute Statement In Support Of SB 227

Frontier Institute Statement In Support Of SB 227

Legislation advances Housing Task Force recommendation for streamlining permitting

HELENA  – Today the Frontier Institute offered support for SB 227, a bill that follows Governor Gianforte’s Housing Task Force recommendations for state and local governments to pursue creating self-certification programs to speed up permit reviews. 

“SB 227 creates a framework for state and local governments to adopt a tried and true method to speed up permits for housing,” said Kendall Cotton, President and CEO of the Frontier Institute. “SB 227 will reduce permit red tape and decrease the bureaucracy involved with building more homes to meet demand.”

Self-Certification programs allow registered professionals to bypass the normal permit process, particularly engineering and design review, and get these permits approved quickly as long as they’ve passed a government-sponsored certification program and undergo random audits for compliance. 

The Montana Housing Task Force noted that Self-Certification programs would help mitigate review staff shortages and speed up the review process for approving permits. 

Frontier Institute has promoted extensive research showing:

  • Prolonged permit approval times add thousands of dollars to the costs of construction, making housing more expensive.
  • In Missoula, for example, permit approvals can take 10-12 weeks and add upwards of $20,000 to the cost of new developments.

The City of Phoenix has had a Self-Certification program in place since 2010. The City of Phoenix notes they can process self-certified permits in 1-5 business days, compared to the around 30 days it takes to approve a basic site plan under the normal process.

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