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Lewis & Clark County seeking feedback on proposed zoning regulations

Posted at 6:57 PM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 20:57:27-04

HELENA — Lewis and Clark County is asking the public to weigh in on the latest proposal for implementing “county-initiated” zoning across the Helena Valley.

The county has released a proposed draft of zoning regulations, along with a map for where they would be implemented.

“We’ve really tried to solicit as much feedback as possible, and now that we’ve got the regulations drafted, we’d like folks to be able to give us feedback based on those written documents,” said Peter Italiano, the county’s director of community development and planning.

Leaders say the new regulations are aimed at managing growth, creating more predictability for residents and property owners, and making it easier to address issues like water availability, wastewater, roads, flooding and fire protection.

You can find a link to the full draft regulations and the updated map on the county’s website.

This draft has already been updated, based on feedback the county received on its first proposal. The biggest change was in rural areas. The current proposal says rural property owners wouldn’t be able to divide their land into parcels smaller than 10 acres. Under the original plan, that minimum size would have been 10, 20 or 160 acres, depending on the location.

Landowners in the valley, especially farmers and ranchers, opposed the original minimum parcel size rules, saying they would harm property values.

Italiano said the county initially planned to introduce these planned regulations earlier, but that the process was delayed because of COVID-19. He said the city-county planning board is scheduled to consider the draft at a May 19 meeting, but that could change due to the pandemic.

If you want to comment on the proposed regulations, you can email the county Planning Division at planning@lccountymt.gov or mail comments to County Planning Division, Room 230, 316 N. Park Ave., Helena, MT 59623.