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A very busy week ahead as the House Local Government Committee is moving on land use bills quickly. We had a few hearings last week, and many coming up this week.

Last Week– We testified in support of two bills last week

SB 130 – Allow for a county consolidated land use board

This is a simple bill that allows a jurisdiction to consolidate land use boards into one board. It may really help jurisdictions that have trouble finding quality volunteers to sit on boards.


HB 211 – Revise the local subdivision review process

This bill clarifies what is new information in a subdivision, makes some changes to how final plats are filed in phased subdivisions, and allows for variances in the expedited review process. We don’t love everything in the bill, but it does enough good things to earn our support.


This Week

HB 299 – Revise resolution and ordinance requirements re: land use regulation enforcement

A real simple clarification that land use regulations are not affected by a bill from the last session.


SB 158 – Revise family transfer law

The first of our priority bills in the second half of the session. This bill allows family transfers in subdivisions, allows family transfers larger than 5 acres to be exempt from zoning, and puts a 2-year waiting period on family transfers. It was amended to require conditions of approval of a subdivision to apply to family transfer lots. Our main concern is the 5-acre exemption from zoning.


SB 152 – Revise minor subdivision laws

A simple bill that changes the date in which you need to count tracts of record to determine if a subdivision is a first minor from 1973 to 2003. 1973 was 50 years ago, it is time to move that date.


SB 131 – Revise exempt subdivision review timelines

Applies review timelines to exemptions and clarifies that you cannot condition exemptions. We felt this bill is codifying what should be best practice.


SB 382 – Create the Montana Land Use Planning Act

Our second priority bill for the second half of the session. AKA the “big bill” AKA “the Working Group bill.” This bills totally restructures our land use planning statutes for some cities in Montana. Other cities and counties can “opt in.” MAP played a large part in drafting this bill.


SB 245 – Revise municipal zoning to allow multifamily and mixed use development

Our third priority bill for the second half of the session. Requires a municipality allow multifamily development anywhere retail, office, or parking is permitted, and applies the least restrictive standards in the city to all multifamily. Allowing multifamily use isn’t the issue here. Allowing it to have different standards then all other uses in a district, and those standards be the same as your Central Business District is the issue. This bill is going to incentive communities to prohibit retail and office uses from residential areas effectively promoting the expansion of Euclidean Zoning principals.


SB 268 – Revise Laws Relating to Short Term Rentals

This bill requires a community to allow residents to have a short-term rental in their house, on their property, or on an adjacent property they own when the subject property is their principal residence. It does allow a community to ban or regulate short term rentals when not related to a principal residence. There were some issues with the notification requirements that have been addresses in amendments. We still have some concerns with not allowing regulation of all short-term rentals.


SB 178 – Generally revise cryptocurrency laws

This bill prohibits a ban on crypto mining through zoning. It was amended to address all our concerns. We not planning to testify on the bill, but we are planning to submit a comment thanking the Sponsor for the amendments.