Downtown Zoning Code Update

Project Overview

The City of Helena has been updating its zoning code for the downtown neighborhood, as designated in the 2016 Helena Downtown Master Plan (DMP). The DMP 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 City of Helena Zoning Commission has been drafting a code based on design standards for the Downtown District since early 2017. As part of the drafting process, the Zoning Commission held 12 work sessions, conducted an extensive walking tour, and held multiple stakeholder and public outreach sessions with district residents, architects, developers, business owners, and others. Last year, the Zoning Commission held a public hearing, and unanimously recommended approval to establish regulations for a Downtown Zoning District Transitional Downtown district.

To update the public on this ongoing process, the City of Helena Community Development Department will hold a public meeting on March 28, 2019 at 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. at the Helena Civic Center. The purpose of the meeting is to introduce the proposed code language to be put before the City Commission and the associated boundary for the Downtown District and the Transitional Residential District. Staff will be on hand to answer questions and to accept comments and concerns regarding the proposed changes to the Downtown Zoning Code and the proposed boundary.

A copy of the draft boundary can be found here and a copy of the draft zoning code can be found here. Please note that the draft zoning code is subject to change.

The City Commission will hold a hearing later this spring/summer to consider first passage of an ordinance establishing the Downtown Zoning District language. Future hearings to consider final passage of the Downtown Zoning District code and establish the boundary will occur in ensuing months.


For additional information on the downtown zoning code update or to share questions or comments, please contact the City of Helena Community Development Department at citycommunitydevelopment(at)helenamt.gov 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.

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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)helenamt.gov; 316 North Park, Avenue, Room 445, Helena, MT 59623.