For the past decade, the population in Western Montana has been growing. Increased population creates a demand for more housing and infrastructure like roads, sewer lines, and water. Increased population puts pressure on natural resources like ground and surface water, air quality, wildlife and wildlife habitat, agricultural resources, and community pocketbooks.
Only a handful of counties in Montana, including the rapidly developing counties, has implemented county-wide zoning. This means the conflicts between neighbors will only increase with time. Western Montana’s prime farmland is being eaten up by 20-acre ranchettes. Our urban areas are being surrounded by houses using septic systems that require one or more acres. This means any future community sewer or water systems that need to be extended into these neighborhoods will be difficult and prohibitively expensive. This is leading to leapfrog development that requires people to use cars to get around. Air quality suffers. Water Quality suffers. Wildlife and its habitat suffer. And most of all, communities suffer.
MEIC is working to solve these problems. MEIC works with the Montana legislature [internal link to leg. Home page] to pass legislation that will encourage progressive growth management and prevent sprawl. We provide advice to citizens and communities worried about inappropriate subdivisions. And we are a founding member of the Montana Smart Growth Coalition.