| Bill Tracker, Bills Tabled

HB 470 by Marty Malone (R-Pray) would make it more difficult for counties in Montana to conduct zoning.

Under Section 1, the bill would remove the sole authority of the board of county commissioners to establish a planning board. Before they can even introduce a resolution to form a planning board, it must be petitioned for by a majority of the electors residing in the county, but outside of a city-county planning board jurisdictional area, and outside of the corporate limits of a city or town, within the county. In addition, the electors must reside “in an area that conforms to a reasonably defined geographic or development pattern,” which is incredibly ambiguous language. This is a huge limitation to the commissioners’ authority from the way 76-1-104 currently reads.

Under Section 2, the bill adds language which requires the commissioners to consider in the adoption of zoning regulations, “the best evidence available that contemplates various social, economic, and environmental considerations.” Just below this language in subsection (4), the bill defines ‘best evidence’ as “…evidence that provides the best empirically based explanatory power, the most compelling, equitable argument, and the least bias.” 

HB 470 also includes a provision that mandates a referendum to eliminate all or part of an “adopted plan” upon petition of only 15% of the registered voters in the district, a very low bar to mandate a referendum.




There’s a hearing scheduled for Thurs. Feb 25 in the House Local Government Committee. Email them and urge a No vote on this bill.

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