Montana Zoning Atlas Roundup

Montana Zoning Atlas Roundup

"Our leaders can adopt pro-housing reforms that give landowners the freedom to build new homes where they are needed most."

“Only prices determined on the free market will bring it about that demand equals supply.” – Friedrich Hayek

In case you missed it, we recently released a new report called The Montana Zoning Atlas, an interactive resource demonstrating how strict local zoning regulations exclude low and middle-income residents and worsen Montana’s housing shortage.

The report is already making waves across the state, provoking responses from newspaper editorial boards, legislators, local officials, and other leaders from all sides of the political spectrum. While some of those weighing in may not see eye-to-eye with us on everything, we truly appreciate the consideration being given to our report. We are driving forward a growing consensus that strict local zoning regulations are making Montana’s housing crisis worse, and must be addressed.

In this month’s Legislative Viewpoints column, legislative leaders in both the Majority and Minority parties reacted to our report’s findings:

Majority Reaction

This month’s Majority column is authored by five of Montana’s youngest legislators, Rep. Casey Knudsen, Rep. Caleb Hinkle, Rep. Katie Zolnikov, Rep. Braxton Mitchell and Rep. Mallerie Stromswold.

“Many of the factors causing the housing crisis, such as migration, supply costs and the labor shortage, are largely outside of Montana’s control. But a recent analysis by the Frontier Institute highlights one of the biggest problems, and it’s one that’s fully within our power to address: government regulations.”

Minority Reaction

This month’s Minority column is authored by Kim Abbott, House Minority Leader, and Jill Cohenour, Senate Minority Leader.

“The Frontier Institute’s recent “Montana Zoning Atlas” highlights one of the drivers of this mismatch — outdated and regressive zoning regulations that block the construction of multi-family housing. At a time when we are in a supply crunch, multi-family housing like duplexes and triplexes can provide more bang for the buck. And increasingly, these homes are most in reach for younger, first-time homebuyers.”

For Liberty,
Tanner Avery

The Latest

The Montana Zoning Atlas has already been featured in a number of newspapers around the state. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • “Our leaders can adopt pro-housing reforms that give landowners the freedom to build new homes where they are needed most. The best part? These reforms can be implemented at no cost to taxpayers.” – Frontier Institute CEO & President Kendall Cotton in Lee Newspapers

  • “We find that Bozeman is one of the worst cities in Montana in terms of welcoming more-affordable multifamily housing. Whereas expensive single-family housing is welcome in all neighborhoods in Bozeman, multifamily housing is still restricted to less than half of residential areas.” – Montana Zoning Atlas Co-Author Mark Egge in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle

  • “Bozeman Deputy Mayor Terry Cunningham said he would be interested to study whether eliminating lot size requirements could produce any affordable housing, though he noted he would need to know more about potential unintended consequences of the policy.” – Bozeman Daily Chronicle

  • “The report says Montana cities should rewrite zoning codes to make it easier to build medium-density housing in urban areas currently reserved for single-family dwellings. It also calls for the Montana Legislature to pass bills that force local governments to use less stringent development standards.” – Montana Free Press

  • “[The] study…found much land zoned for higher density housing consists of lots too small to accommodate such housing. That’s a problem city planners need to address.” – Bozeman Daily Chronicle Editorial Board

  • “​​We challenge city and county officials to take a hard look at the study to see what can be done locally to encourage the medium-density housing that would produce the homes we need for the families who want to live here. Then work to rewrite zoning codes, as necessary, to make it easier for denser housing to be developed.” – Daily Inter Lake Editorial Board

Want more? Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you, we'll keep you informed!