In Montana, a subdivision is any division of land that creates one or more parcels containing less than 160 acres (exclusive of public roadways) that cannot be described as a one-quarter aliquot part of a United States government section, so that the title to the parcel may be sold or otherwise transferred. A subdivision also means the creation of condominiums and/or any area, regardless of size, that provides multiple spaces for rent or lease on which recreational vehicles or mobile homes will be placed.
The Montana Subdivision and Platting Act requires all local governments to adopt subdivision regulations that are consistent with the State’s regulations. The primary purpose for regulating land divisions is to promote orderly growth and development while protecting the natural environment and public health and safety.
Subdivision applications fall into one of three categories based on the extent of development and previous divisions of land:
1. Major Subdivision: A subdivision containing 6 or more lots/units/spaces.
2. First Minor Subdivision: A subdivision containing 5 or fewer lots/units/spaces occurring on a tract of record that has not been subdivided or created by a subdivision or has not resulted from a tract of record that has had 5 parcels created from that tract of record under Section 76-3-201, MCA or Section 76-3-207, MCA since October 1, 2003.
3. Subsequent Minor Subdivision: A subdivision containing 5 or fewer lots/units/spaces that is not a first minor subdivision.
Differences between major, first minor, and subsequent minor subdivisions generally pertain to the length of the review period, need for an environmental assessment, and public hearing requirements.
Subdivision review typically consists of a two-step process: preliminary and final plat review. During the preliminary plat review process, a preliminary plat is approved, conditionally approved, or denied by the Board of County Commissioners (BoCC). During the final plat review process, a conditionally approved preliminary plat is given final approval once all conditions of the preliminary approval have been satisfied. (NOTE: Lots may not be transferred until after final approval by the BoCC, and all subdivision documents and mylars have been recorded with the Clerk and Recorder’s office.)
Prior to making application for a subdivision, a pre-application meeting is required, which allows staff an opportunity to review plans, answer questions, and address any concerns of an applicant. Pre-application meetings are scheduled through the CDP.
Current Subdivision Regulations