03 Feb MARLS Poll – House Bill No. 317

Here’s one to take a look at and weigh in on. As requested by Gallatin County and supported by MACo, this would give local governing bodies the option of holding public hearings for first minor subdivisions.

Click here for a link to House Bill No. 317

What action should MARLS take on HB 317?

View Results

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  • Dan Stahly
    Posted at 08:43h, 04 February

    The Bill gives local governing bodies the option of requiring a public hearing for Minor Subdivisions. Local governing bodies would have to adopt new or amended subdivision regulations to enact this policy, a process that is publicly noticed, discussed, etc. Seems to me that some larger Counties may need a public hearing for minor subs and should have that option. This bill simply leaves that option up to the local governing body, and in subdivision law, I like that better than the State legislature dictating review requirements. I don’t think it would be time well spent by MARLS to support or oppose HB317.

  • Mark Larson
    Posted at 12:10h, 04 February

    Well stated Dan, and you make a great point. However I just don’t agree with a public hearing for minor subdivisions.

  • mattm
    Posted at 17:07h, 07 February

    I am not passionate about this, and time may be better spent on other bills of interest. If this passes, it will allow for individual counties to choose if they require a hearing.. If a county would choose to make this a requirement, that county will need to revise the county specific regulations, which would allow for local comment about the benefits and costs associated with the requirement.

  • Brian Huotari
    Posted at 18:53h, 08 February

    The discussion that we had the NE Chapter meeting last night was to look into preparing a “short form” for applications on minor subdivisions. Densely populated counties and ones that are subject to dense development along a stream, around a lake or resort area might be served well by 317 adding a hearing, but the occasional rural non-developer wanting to split off a parcel is potentially just drug through an elongated process and incurs more cost. That can amount to a big penalty and is counter productive to rural development. Currently under 76-3-609-2(e) the local governing body is blocked from a holding a hearing. If 317 is enacted it forces one to go through a variance process which is another application and hearing and time delay. The variance process is already in place and a viable option, so why add to the process. Maybe I’m missing something here but HB-317 just seems like an exercise in “word-smithing” and not really necessary on the State level. There is a lot of State east of Lewistown and if someone wants to do something locally for development restrictions they can go through writing new zoning ordinances.

    • Dan Stahly
      Posted at 20:22h, 08 February

      Good points. This legislation uses the word “may” with regard to Minor Subdivision hearings. Just like requiring an EA, Traffic Study, or anything else, this could be clarified in local sub regs to allow Commissioners to choose on a case by case basis. Out in the boondocks and no concerns, no public hearing required. Complex access, environmental, neighbors (ha), etc, etc then require a hearing. Just doesn’t seem like a big deal.

  • Russ
    Posted at 15:26h, 09 February

    As discussed previously, we all are familiar with the policies adhered to in the various counties we do business in. Pass or fail, I do not see where this bill will impact our profession either way. Yes, in counties with high development activity, it will most likely become a norm to hold a hearing on a minor SD, to me, that just means budgeting for additional meetings with the client. I would like to see MARLS hang on to very valuable testimony time for bills that may come up yet in the session that have significant impact on Land Surveying.

  • kirkA
    Posted at 16:54h, 09 February

    I am opposed to allowing the options for local governments to add a public hearing to minor subdivisions. In Montana, there is no “short plat” or “partition” subdivision process, although some counties apparently have an “expedited” process. This ability to have a public hearing just adds more process, review, and probable additional “issues”, and provides ability for NIMBYs to testify in opposition and restrict other landowners from exercising their land rights. If we had a real partition or short plat (3 or fewer lot subdivision, with limited review) in Montana, I would probably be OK for 4-6 lot subdivisions having a public hearing. But, we don’t have that, so this will allow for the subdivision review on minor subdivisions to be dragged out based on public comments by those that may be opposed. Yes, we could just adjust our fees and bill more time, but I am concerned about what I see as an already overly involved review process for subdivisions that don’t create much impact, at least in the counties in which I work.


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