Real Estate

Gianforte Extends Housing Task Force

The task force, overseen by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, was formed in July of 2022

By Mike Kordenbrock
A subdivision off of Three Mile Drive on the westside of Kalispell on Sept. 22, 2021 Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte has issued an executive order extending his housing task force through June 2025.

In a recent press release issued by his office, Gianforte touted the task force’s achievements so far, but indicated that there remains a need for further efforts to improve the housing situation in the state.

“While we’ve made great progress to increase the supply of affordable, attainable housing for Montanans there’s more work to do, and we’re not done yet,” Gianforte said in a prepared statement. “I look forward to our Housing Task Force continuing to develop more commonsense solutions to address one of the most pressing issues facing hardworking Montanans.”

The task force initially was formed in July of 2022 with the intent to produce recommendations and reports to try and make housing more affordable and attainable for Montanans. Oversight of the task force was given to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, and a number of Flathead Valley residents were named to the task force, including Polson Republican Sen. Greg Hertz, Shelter WF president and co-founder Nathan Dugan, Glacier Bank Market President Mike Smith, and Montana Association of Realtors President Bill Leininger.  

The task force produced a document published in October 2022, which broadly advised legislators to consider three overarching strategies. One such advised strategy was to achieve regulatory reform for streamlining processes and “restoring the rights of landowners to build attainable forms of housing, particularly in areas where existing infrastructure can be maximized through infill development. Lawmakers were also encouraged by the task force to consider incentives to encourage regulatory reforms, and to consider prioritizing investments to improve state and local government efficiencies and incentivize private sector construction.

Gianforte has signed a number of housing related bills passed during the last legislative session into law, and the press release highlighted 10 of them. They range from legislation increasing opportunities for landowners to develop with density, and legislation altering various review and approval processes, in some cases by eliminating reviews or hastening the timeline within which they must take place.  

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