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HB 531, Revising Laws Governing Exemptions for SLR and for Townhouses


Posted Date: 
February 21, 2013
Contact: 
Tara DePuy, MACo JPIA Land Use Attorney

Read the Bill:  HTML  |  PDF  |  Additional Information

HB 531, Revise exemptions for certain divisions of land, is one of three subdivision for lease or rent bills before the legislature.  This bill deleted the reference to townhouses/homes in Section 76-3-203, Exemption for Certain Condominiums.  The bill also adds a new exemption to subdivision law that states that subdivisions created by rent or lease are exempt from county/city review if the governing body has adopted zoning regulations that “include standards for uses of property that create subdivision by rent or lease.”  The bill also adds a cross reference from Section 76-3-208, Subdivisions Exempted from Surveying and Filing requirements but Subject to Review Provisions, to the new exemption.

The Sponsor of the bill, Representative Lesier, stated that this bill provides alternative methods for governing bodies to review subdivisions for rent or lease, if the governing body so desires. 

Proponents of the bill included Bob Horn, a Planning Consultant, MAP, City of Missoula and MEIC.  Opponents of the bill included the MBI and MARs who stated that the bill does not go far enough to address the subdivision for rent or lease issues.  MACo also opposed the bill pointing out that very few counties have subdivision regulations that would fit under the criteria of “include standards for uses of property that create subdivision by rent or lease” and that this term is vague and it would be better to use specific standards in the bill so the language is not interpreted differently by counties.  The bill will require counties to amend citizen initiated and or/county imposed zoning districts if they do not have the requisite “standards” in zoning to address subdivision created by rent or lease.  Lewis and Clark County also opposed the bill.

The only question was whether there are existing standards for subdivision created for lease or rent.  The question was answered by Planning Consultant Horn who stated that counties do have standards in subdivision regulations for subdivision created of rent or lease.  This is true but zoning and subdivision law are completely separate sections of the law and cannot cross-reference to each other.  Counties cannot use subdivision standards as zoning standards. 

Executive action was also taken and the bill was passed with no amendments.

Additional Information: 
  • Heard before House Local Government on February 21, 2013
  • Executive Action Scheduled:  February 21, 2013
Tara DePuy | 406.223.1803 | attorney@riverworks.net