Downtown Zoning Code Update

Project Overview

The City of Helena is currently updating its zoning code for the downtown neighborhood, as designated in the 2016 Helena Downtown Neighborhood Plan (DNP). The DNP sets forth an exciting vision for the future of downtown Helena, one that incorporates significant redevelopment potential, activates public spaces and supports increased connectivity, and recommends a progressive approach to parking requirements and housing opportunity around the downtown core.  To align the downtown’s code with the plan’s vision, the consolidated code will introduce one district that emphasizes higher density development with minimal setbacks, design standards that compliment Helena’s historic built environment and the natural environment, enhanced pedestrian access, encourages more ground floor retail and commercial activities, and much more.

The code update project kicked off during the week of April 10-13 with a series of stakeholder meetings, in-depth site analysis and a public open house. This initial series of meetings with stakeholders and the public was intended to provide the consultant team with insight on technical aspects of the current code that should be modified or streamlined, current zoning designations (there are 9 unique zones that affect downtown Helena) that can be consolidated, design standards that are desired and reflect the vision of the Downtown Neighborhood Plan, and ideas for re-development incentives that could be incorporated in the updated code. Around 50 participants joined City staff in these discussions, and Orion Planning and Design consultants are now hard at work reviewing the comments received and crafting the downtown’s new zoning code.

Please click here for a draft copy of the Downtown zoning code.

Further Details

For additional information on the downtown zoning code update, and to stay informed about upcoming public meetings and opportunities to participate, please revisit this website or visit the project webpage at We will share news of future events as and when they are scheduled.

If you have questions or comments throughout the process, please contact the City of Helena Community Development Department at citycommunitydevelopment(at) or call (406) 447-8490.

The City of Helena is committed to providing access to persons with disabilities for its meetings, in compliance with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Montana Human Rights Act. The City will not exclude persons with disabilities from participation at its meetings or otherwise deny them the City’s services, programs, or activities.


Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations to participate in the City’s meetings, services, programs, or activities should contact the City’s ADA Coordinator/Central Services Director, Sharon Haugen, as soon as possible to allow sufficient time to arrange for the requested accommodation, at any of the following:

(406) 447- 8490; TTY Relay Service 1-800-253-4091 or 711; citycommunitydevelopment(at); 316 North Park, Avenue, Room 445, Helena, MT 59623.