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.
2011 Growth Policy - Growth Policy Adopted 5-9-11
Click the links to view the Growth Policy sections.
- 1 Introduction and Organization
- 2 Population
- 3 Economic Conditions
- 4 Housing
- 5 Public Facilities and Services
- 6 Transportation
- 7 Environment
- 8 Water
- 9 Culture
- 10 Land Use
- 11 Statement of Coordination
- 12 Subdivision Review
- 13 Future Review, Evaluation and Updates
Introduction and Organization
- 2009 Helena Climate Change Action Plan Recommendations
- Appendix - WUI
- Climate Change, World-Wide, National and State Perspectives
- Damage caused by noxious weeds
- Description of EPA Air Quality Criteria Pollutants of Concern in Helena
- Local Air Quality Program History
- PM 2.5 Particulate Matter
- Urban Deer Management Plan
- Demolition Review
- Helena - A Historical Perspective
- Historic Preservation Issues And Options
- Properties Individually Listed on the National Register
- Recreation Programs
Growth Policy Amendments
On October 17, 2016, the Helena City Commission adopted Resolution No. 20313 to include the Downtown Master Plan as the Downtown Neighborhood Plan. Please click on the links below for the Downtown Neighborhood Plan and Resolution No. 20313.
Downtown Neighborhood Plan
Resolution No. 20313
2011 Growth Policy Maps
Several new maps have been created for the Growth Policy update for incorporation into the document.
The development constraints map identifies issues within the City of Helena and up to approximately 4.5 miles from the city limits that can affect the location of land uses and the type of development standards that may be required. This map shows the general locations of floodplains (blue color), liquefaction (areas prone extensive rolling moving like shaking jello during an earthquake due soil type) (brown color), and wildland-urban interface areas (red) that may be more susceptible to wildfire.
The land use map identifies current land uses within the City of Helena and up to approximately 4.5 miles from the city limits. These land use designations include agricultural/low density of less than 1 residential dwelling unit per 5 acres (light green color); rural density, 1-5 acres (yellow); urban density residential, less than 1 acre per residential dwelling (orange); commercial/industrial (red); public/government (blue); and recreation/open space/parks (dark green).
The proposed future land use map identifies potential areas for commercial, industrial, open space, public, and mixed uses. The proposed map also identifies areas for urban, suburban and rural development. Refer to the Land Use chapter
for the Future Land Use Map – Categories and Characteristics and Mixed Use Areas descriptions for each of these categories.
The Future Land Use map of the February 1, 2011 Draft City of Helena Growth Policy, as originally posted on this website, had some technical drafting errors. This map has been corrected to more accurately reflect the narrative language contained in Chapter 10 and as proposed by the City Commission. The corrected map is now contained on this website and includes the following changes:
* "Mixed Use Area B" was extended eastward from Montana Avenue to I-15 instead of being shown as "Urban."
* Revised the "Public" land use designation boundary of the Helena Regional Airport to distinguish between the land use categories for "Public," "Industrial/Transportation" and "Mixed Use."
* Revised the area recently annexed by East Helena located east of the Helena Regional Airport as included in the "East Helena Growth Policy Boundary."
* Added previously-omitted parklands and open spaces.
2019 Growth Policy Update
The City of Helena, in its efforts to provide a more inclusive, dynamic and vibrant community, has chosen to undertake certain long-range planning activities including a Growth Policy update. This guiding document provides a road map for the management of growth within and adjacent to the city limits. The City hopes that this along with other adopted documents can provide residents, staff, and investors with the tools they need to better understand the City and how to best navigate the development process.
Below you will find the latest draft of the Growth Policy. This is the version that was presented at the Planning Board Public Hearing on Wednesday, November 6, at 6pm in the Council Chambers.
If you have questions, please call (406) 447-8492 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Introduction
- Chapter 2: Population & Economy
- Chapter 3: Land Use
- Chapter 4: Housing
- Chapter 5: Public Facilities & Services
- Chapter 6: Transportation
- Chapter 7: Natural Environment
- Chapter 8: Community Culture & Design
- Chapter 9: Coordination & Implementation
- Chapter 10: Subdivision Review
- Appendix A
- Appendix B
- Growth Policy Staff Report
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.
Relevant Planning Documents:
- Growth Policy Interviews Summary
- Adopted 2011 Growth Policy
- Wastewater and Water Facilities Plans
- Draft Parks and Recreation Master Plan
- 2014 Long Range Transportation Plan Update
- Studio Summary
- Home Show Comments
- July mgts Flyer
- Growth Policy Update Studio Comments
- Goals Objectives Draft
- Growth Policy outline
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.
Downtown Urban Renewal Districts & Tax Increment Financing (TIF)
On October 29, 2018 the Helena City Commission moved forward with 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
Background & Update as of October 11, 2019
The City of Helena is interested in adding the Rodney Street Area to the Helena Downtown Urban Renewal District (URD). The proposed Rodney Street Area includes the area between 6th Street and Pine Street from Rodney Street to the edge of the existing Downtown URD boundary on Warren Street.
The Downtown URD is intended to improve economic vitality, generate more employment opportunities, encourage investment and generally improve infrastructure. The proposed Rodney Street Area is too small to thrive as it's own separate URD, so the City is considering adding it to the Downtown URD.
July 19, 2019, Assessment of Potential for Amendment
August 1, 2019, Statement of Blight Report, a report required by Montana statute as a first step in developing a URD.
August 8, 2019, OPEN HOUSE to discuss Rodney Street Area Amendment
September 4, 2019, Draft Rodney Street Area Amendment for Public Review
September 12, 2019, OPEN HOUSE to discuss Rodney Street Area Amendment
October 11, 2019, Final Draft Rodney Street Area Amendment for Public Review
October 15, 2019, Planning Board Review of Draft Report
November 4, 2019, First Reading and Public Hearing for Establishing a District Amendment
November 18, 2019, Final Passage for Establishing the District Amendment
Proposed Boundary Map (Larger Map Available here)
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:
- Map of Boundary
- Railroad Urban Renewal District Plan
- Ordinance No. 3214 Creating the Railroad Urban Renewal District, Establishing Its Boundaries, and Adopting the Railroad Urban Renewal District Plan
- Resolution 20374 Establishing the Railroad TIF Advisory Board
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:
- Infrastructural Needs
- RURD Sidewalk Projects
- Transportation Planning
- Demolition Program
- 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:
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: email@example.com.