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Land Use & Development Committee Policy Statements


  1. MACo believes that the protection of the environment and the wise development and utilization of our natural resources are essential concerns of all citizens and all levels of government.
  2. MACo urges greater commissioner representation on all boards, commissions and advisory bodies related to the field of natural resources.
  3. MACo affirms the need for responsible county planning and community development in all counties in the state by encouraging government officials to control land use to preserve agricultural and other open space lands.
  4. MACo affirms the need for responsible county planning and community development in all counties in the state by assisting in the coordination of local planning and development activities with state and federal agencies and by acting as an information source to counties on current state and federal legislative developments.
  5. MACo affirms the need for responsible county planning and community development in all counties in the state by recognizing that counties are the most appropriate governmental unit to oversee new development in the county and assess the economic impact. Cooperation by counties will afford the advantages of well-planned use of land, preserved open space, less urban sprawl, and a more efficient delivery of public services.
  6. MACo supports the concept of effective land use planning permissively initiated at the local level by local government officials.
  7. MACo supports restructuring Montana tax laws to assure that local governments are adequately reimbursed for increased costs for services by new development.
  8. MACo supports growth policies that adequately plan for economic development and cost-effective infrastructure.
  9. MACo supports state funding for growth policies.
  10. MACo supports developing local government review authority for transfers of private sector land to the public sector.
  11. MACo encourages counties to develop regulations to guide and control land subdivision.  County officials should be given more authority in reviewing proposed subdivisions and adopting subdivision controls to promote the wise use and development of land.  
  12. MACo will support legislation to limit the use of exemptions to the Subdivision and Platting Act and to further authorize local development of criteria for allowable exemptions.
  13. While MACo continues to support the concept of local governments as the foundation of effective planning, there is a role for state government in the process.
  14. MACo recommends that the state, as a facilitator, should provide for the inventory and analysis of data and make the information available to local governments.
  15. MACo recommends that the state, as a coordinator, should develop greater ability to provide specialized technical service where county government cannot support such specialization.
  16. MACo recommends that the state, as a coordinator, should coordinate and encourage planning programs at all levels of government.
  17. MACo recommends that the state, as a coordinator, should provide a funding means to assist county government in developing planning programs based on state revenue as well as federal funds.
  18. MACo believes that the State Department of Commerce should be the agency to coordinate planning between state, federal, regional, and local levels.
  19. MACo believes that the development of a state policy toward planning issues must include the active participation of county government in that development. The policy should not dictate to county government the specific regulations for planning, but should provide a uniform, flexible framework to guide planning efforts.
  20. MACo urges federal government agencies to actively involve local governments in the initiation and refinement of federal planning and policy decisions.
  21. MACo believes that there is a necessity for balance between land use regulation and the protection of private property.
  22. MACo believes that the continued presence of Military missions within Montana is essential to our National defense as well as the economic health of our citizens and communities.  Further we recognize that these missions can present unique challenges in land use planning which can be best addressed by allowing limited local land use regulation through the creation of Military Affected Areas as allowed by Montana State Law.  The limits placed on this type of regulation need to represent a balance between private property rights and the needs of the military.
  23. MACo supports water policy that continues to allow the de minimis use of exempt well water for agriculture, homes, and small businesses without the burden of the water right permitting process; and opposes changes to water policy that would unnecessarily increase the cost associated with accessing water; changes to water policy that limit the county’s ability to properly plan, zone for growth, or review and condition subdivision applications; changes to water policy that would negatively affect the county’s ability to meet Wildland Urban Interface requirements; and changes to water policy that may create added weed infestation in Montana.