Long Range Planning

The Growth Policy is the foundational guiding document that establishes the City’s long-term vision.  The Planning Division is also actively involved in supporting the efforts of city neighborhoods to develop their own neighborhood plans. These plans are intended to provide a critical examination of neighborhood scale issues that expand on the vision laid out in the City's Growth Policy. 

2019 Growth Policy

2019 Growth Policy

On June 29th 2020, the Helena City Commission approved the 2019 City of Helena Growth Policy. This update will focus city resources, formalize and facilitate a more robust public process, encourage better coordination with Lewis and Clark County, state agencies and the private sector as well as making the document more user friendly with updated information. A main component of the update is the shift to focusing our growth into “Neighborhood Centers” which is a more place based and contextual development paradigm.

If you have questions, please call (406) 447-8492 or email mmcconnell@helenamt.gov.

    Growth Policy Update process materials

    Storefront Studio Event (Video)

    Below are linked materials, including two workshop exercises and a photo archive, from a Storefront Studio participation event held by the City Planning Division on April 3rd-6th.

    Activity Centers 123

    Workshop #1: Groups 12345 

    Workshop #2: Groups 1234

    Graffiti Wall 12 

    Scenario Boards/Comments 123

    Development and Neighborhoods 12

    Streets and Public Realm 12

    Relevant Planning Documents:


    View Frequently Asked Questions

    Neighborhood Plan

    Downtown Neighborhood Plan

    Downtown Neighborhood Plan

    Downtown Neighborhood Plan

    The Downtown Helena Master Plan is the story of a grassroots effort to define, understand, and capture opportunities for the Downtown and the greater Helena community. The Master Plan is an exciting glimpse into the future, and will help Downtown Helena build on past success, leverage its unique sense of place, and prepare for new opportunities to achieve the best potential for this magnificent place.

    Below are links to the Downtown Neighborhood Plan and its related appendices.

    Urban Renewal Districts

    Downtown Urban Renewal Districts & Tax Increment Financing (TIF)

    Downtown Urban Renewal Districts & Tax Increment Financing (TIF)

    On October 29, 2018, the Helena City Commission approved the establishment of the Downtown Urban Renewal District (DURD), with final passage of Ordinance 3242, creating the district, establishing its boundaries, and formally adopting the Downtown Urban Renewal District Plan, inclusive of a tax increment provision in accordance with state statute (MCA 7-15-42 and 7-15-43).

    The City Commission ultimately wishes to utilize Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to finance improvements in the District that will incentivize private development and promote a more vibrant downtown. The Montana Department of Revenue will now be provided with the adopted DURD Plan and associated ordinance in order to proceed with calculating the taxable values of property in the district in the creation of a tax increment financing provision for the district.

    Rodney Street Area Amendment to the Helena Downtown Urban Renewal District

    On November 18, 2019, the City Commission approved an amendment to the Downtown Urban Renewal District to include the Rodney Street area, with final passage of Ordinance 3275.  The Rodney Street Area includes the area between 6th Street and Pine Street from Rodney Street to the edge of the original Downtown URD boundary on Warren Street.

    By including the Rodney Street Area to the Downtown URD, it is intended to improve economic vitality, generate more employment opportunities, encourage investment and generally improve infrastructure in an otherwise small area with limited resources to thrive as it's own separate URD.

    Additional Information


    Recent Projects

    Railroad Urban Renewal District

    Railroad Urban Renewal District

    Intent & Area

    The City of Helena established the Railroad Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District in 2016, which roughly extends from North Last Chance Gulch east to Interstate I-15 and includes land for several blocks on either side of the railroad. The URD/TIF District's goals are to revitalize the area by improving economic vitality, creating jobs, and encouraging investment in targeted neighborhoods.


    The City of Helena established a Railroad TIF Advisory Board in August 2017. The Board is comprised of 8 representatives of private businesses, property owners, and residents within the district, public associations and non-profits, the Helena School District, and Helena College. The Board is tasked with completing annual work plans, reports, evaluations, and budgets and making recommendations for allocation of TIF funding and any future amendments to the Railroad Urban Renewal District Plan.

    For additional information, the following links are being provided:

    2018 RURD TIF Application

    The city is currently seeking applications for urban renewal projects within the RURD. Applications will be received on a rolling basis until available funds are expended, and each will be reviewed by the Board in the order received. Applications may address any of the following project priority areas, and may receive an award of up to 50% of the project’s cost:

    1. Infrastructural Needs
    2. RURD Sidewalk Projects
    3. Transportation Planning
    4. Demolition Program
    5. Development of a District Branding and Marketing Initiative that Reflects the Historic and Cultural/Economic Importance of the Area

    Only $40,000 is currently available to serve as project match funding for all projects, and applications will be accepted on a rolling basis for eligible projects until funding is no longer available. If applications are found to be eligible, applicants will be informed in advance of the meeting time and location. The application and criteria for review are available in the Community Development Department Office in Room 445, 316 N. Park Avenue as well as below:

    2018 RURD TIF Application Form

    2018 RURD Application Priority Areas and Criteria for Review

    City staff welcome any questions on the application process or potential projects. Please call the Community Development Department at (406) 447-8491 for further information.

    For additional information on the Railroad Urban Renewal District, please contact the City Community Development Department, City of Helena, 316 N. Park Avenue, Room 445, Helena, MT 59623, phone: (406) 447-8490, or email: citycommunitydevelopment@helenamt.gov.