The Montana Subdivision and Platting Act: Regulating Montana's Land Use and Development, A Time for Change

Date of Award


Document Type

Capstone Project


Environmental Policy And Management

Degree Name

Master of Environmental Policy And Management


Environmental Policy And Management


William Robinson


Land subdivision -- Law and legislation -- Montana; Land use -- Law and legislation -- Montana; Land use -- Planning -- Law and legislation -- Montana; Montana; Montana. Montana Subdivision and Platting Act -- Legislative history; MSPA; Platting; Subdivision


The Montana Subdivision and Platting Act has been fraught with dissention since enactment in 1973. Because private property rights reign supreme with the Legislature, drafters of the Act knew that zoning as land use regulation on a county or state-wide level was an unrealistic vision. The Act was drafted as enabling legislation to encourage local governments to engage in predictable, cumulative planning with public participation. Instead, the Act was criticized and amended in nearly every Legislative session since enactment. An interim study group was formed in the 2005 Legislature to examine the confusion and inconsistencies caused by these modifications. This Capstone provides a complete history of the Act and provides the study group with an explanation of all the substantive changes that have occurred.

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