Frontier Institute Statement In Support Of SB 245

Frontier Institute Statement In Support Of SB 245

Legislation gives landowners in Montana city centers more freedom to build denser starter homes

HELENA – Today the Frontier Institute offered support for SB 245, a bill that follows Governor Gianforte’s Housing Task Force recommendations to reform city zoning regulations to give landowners more freedom to build denser starter homes to address the housing crisis.

“SB 245 will give Montana landowners more freedom to build new homes where they are most in demand – directly in our city centers,” said Kendall Cotton, President and CEO of the Frontier Institute. “This bill will help contain Montana’s population growth to existing urban areas and protect surrounding rural areas and ranch land from California-Style urban sprawl.”

SB 245 reverses strict California-Style zoning practices by broadly restoring the right of landowners to build multifamily or mixed-use housing in existing commercial or retail zones. 

Frontier Institute has promoted extensive research showing excessive California-Style zoning:

  • Contributes to Montana’s housing shortage, driving up the cost of housing for everyone.
  • Prohibits affordable starter homes in desirable and opportunity-rich areas of town.
  • Forces landowners to jump through regulatory hoops to build affordable homes.
  • Violates landowners’ right to build affordable starter homes on their own property.
  • Drives urban sprawl, eating up surrounding open space and rural land with development.
  • Inflates city infrastructure costs by forcing housing development to sprawl outward, requiring more government spending and higher taxes.
  • Robs cities of new sources of revenue by blocking more residents and businesses in city limits.

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