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:

    FAQs

    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)

    Intent & Area

    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 DURD Plan set forth the following district goals to guide redevelopment within the downtown:

    1. Build a Cohesive Downtown Identity
    2. Add to Downtown Vibrancy with a Mix of Uses
    3. Upgrade Underperforming Properties
    4. Invest in the Public Infrastructure Needed to Attract Development
    5. Connections
    6. Promote Historic Preservation to Create a Quality and Unique Experience

    The district was originally established with boundaries generally located east of Benton and Park Avenues, west of Warren and Jackson Streets, and south of Lyndale Avenue, including Centennial Park north of Lyndale. The boundary was subsequently amended on November 18, 2019 to incorporate the Rodney Street area (generally located between 6th Street and Pine Street from Rodney, to the edge of the original district boundary on Warren Street), with the final passage of Ordinance 3275.  

    Board

    In early 2020, the Montana Department of Revenue certified taxable property valuations for the establishment of the Tax Increment Financing provision for the district, which was followed by the creation of the Downtown TIF Advisory Board. The Board is comprised of 14 members, ranging from residents and landowners to business sector representatives and non-profit and education sector representatives. 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 Downtown Urban Renewal District Plan.

    DURD Tax Increment Financing Opportunities

    Tax Increment Financing (TIF) dollars are available for eligible projects that meet the goals of the DURD Plan that incentivize private development and promote a more vibrant downtown. Projects that improve economic vitality, generate employment opportunities, encourage investment, and improve infrastructure are being sought for review by the Downtown TIF Advisory Board for eventual consideration for approval by the City Commission.

    The TIF application form is provided below in the “Additional Information” section of this page. The Downtown TIF Board are currently accepting applications through the month of January 2021. All prospective applicants are requested to contact the City of Helena Community Development Department, 316 N. Park Avenue, Room 445, Helena, MT 59623, (406) 447-8490, citycommunitydevelopment@helenamt.gov, to discuss the project and determine eligibility for TIF assistance prior to making an application to the city.

    Additional Information

    Past Projects

    For additional information on the Downtown 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.

    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.

    Board

    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.

    RURD Tax Increment Financing Opportunities

    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

    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.

    Additional Information

    Past Projects

    • Midtown Industries Barn Demolition (2018) – Fifty percent match provided for the demolition of a blighted barn/storage structure along National Avenue.
    • Ray Kuntz Development, LLC (2019) – Fifty percent match provided for stormwater and sidewalk infrastructure improvements for non-profit commercial office space along Helena Avenue.

    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.