Frontier Institute Statement In Support Of SB 382

Frontier Institute Statement In Support Of SB 382

Overhaul of Montana’s outdated land use planning laws will support housing development

HELENA – Today the Frontier Institute offered support for SB 382, a bill that follows Governor Gianforte’s Housing Task Force recommendations to expand areas in Montana’s cities where affordable starter homes like duplexes and triplexes are permitted by-right.

“SB 382 is a comprehensive approach to tackling the strict California-style zoning regulations in Montana cities that stifle affordable housing development and drive urban sprawl,” said Kendall Cotton, President and CEO of the Frontier Institute. “SB 382 makes sure cities are planning for the future and providing landowners the freedom they need to build homes to accommodate Montana’s population growth.”

SB 382 accomplishes several notable pro-housing reforms, including: 

  1. Broadly restores the rights of landowners to build affordable starter homes in Montana cities, eliminating discretionary permit approvals contingent on public hearings.
  2. Requires local governments to adjust zoning regulations to provide landowners the freedom necessary to adequately meet projected demand for housing.
  3. Establishes a menu of specific pro-housing zoning reforms that local governments must select from to encourage housing development. 

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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