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Why Create a Plan?

     For communities in the midst of population growth, there are questions about how to provide additional services and maintain a quality of life that current residents have come to appreciate. In communities that are losing population, questions surround topics such as how to keep schools and other services operating and how to maintain existing businesses or attract new ones.

     Regardless of the circumstances a city, town or county faces, planning is important. Whether a community is growing or facing population loss, most residents want a common vision for the future that reflects their values. A growth policy is one means to accomplish that vision. Ultimately, developing such a plan should result in commonly accepted goals and objectives that will help create and maintain the type of community that residents want to live, work, and play in. In addition, a growth policy should provide a consistent framework for local governments to make decisions and reduce ambiguity and inconsistency in the decision-making process.


What is a Growth Policy?


     A growth policy is an official public document adopted and used by Montana cities, towns, and counties as a guide for making decisions about their future, particularly with regard to land use. A growth policy is not a regulation; rather, it is a community’s official policy meant to guide and help manage change for the benefit of residents. For communities in Montana that are declining in population or experiencing very slow growth, the term growth policy can seem a misnomer. Nonetheless, whether growing or declining, a growth policy is an essential tool that communities can use to make themselves resilient in the face of inevitable change. While the statutory requirements for a growth policy focus primarily on land use, the document should also address topics such as economic development, housing needs, local services, infrastructure, natural environment, and other issues of importance to each individual community.

Dept. of Commerce, (p. 1). Montana's Growth Policy Resource Book. 

Retrieved on 24 January 2023 from


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