Subdivsion Exemptions

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Montana law allows for division of land that is exempt from subdivision review under certain circumstances. This information is intended to help you better understand the available exemptions and the application process and determine whether you qualify to use one of these exemptions. There is a $200 review fee for subdivision exemptions.


Subdivision Regulations, Chapter 8 Divisions of Land Exempt from Review

List of Exemptions

Before Applying

How to Apply

Notes on the Process

Mortgage Exemption Information

Family Transfer Hearing Questions and Rebuttable Presumptions


This is a partial list of the most commonly used exemptions provided for in Montana state law.

  • 76-3-201(1)(b) creates a parcel to provide security for a construction mortgage, trust indenture, or lien. This division does not create a transferable parcel unless the property is foreclosed upon, at which time the financial institution takes ownership of the security parcel.
  • 76-3-201(1)(c) creates an interest in oil, gas, minerals, or water that is severed from the surface ownership.
  • 76-3-201(1)(d) creates cemetery lots.
  • 76-3-201(1)(e) creates a parcel by the reservation of a life estate.
  • 76-3-201(1)(g) divides land over which the state does not have jurisdiction.
  • 76-3-201(1)(h) divides land for right-of-way or utility lots.
  • 76-3-203 divides land for certain condominiums, townhomes, and townhouses.
  • 76-3-205 divides land for airport land and state-owned lands.
  • 76-3-207(1)(a) allows you to relocate property boundaries of a parcel outside a platted subdivision.
  • 76-3-207(1)(b) creates a parcel for transfer to an immediate family member, defined as spouse, child, or parent.
  • 76-3-207(1)(c) creates a parcel to use for agricultural purposes, and no structure requiring sewage facilities may be located on the parcel.
  • 76-3-207(1)(d) allows you to relocate property boundaries of five or fewer lots within a platted subdivision.
  • 76-3-207(1)(e) allows you to relocate property boundaries between lots within a subdivision and adjoining lots outside of the subdivision.
  • 76-3-207(1)(f) allows you to aggregate parcels or lots.


Contact Missoula County Community & Planning Services and the Missoula City‑County Health Department to discuss your proposal.

You will want to determine if your proposal will require any additional permits and whether it complies with existing rules and regulations.


1. Complete Sections 1.1 through 1.6.

2. Attach the applicable documents required for your exemption(s)

  • Boundary Line Relocation: See Sections 2.1.K and 3.1 of the application
  • Aggregation: See Section 3.1 of the application
  • Mortgage Security: See Sections 2.1.B and 3.1 of the application
  • Family Transfer: See Sections 2.1.L and 3.1 of the application

    • Once the completed application is received, your family transfer request will be set for a hearing before the Board of County Commissioners.
  • Agricultural Covenant: See Sections 2.1.M and 3.1 of the application

3. All owners of the claimant property must sign the affidavit before a notary public.

4. Submit the application, $200 fee, and all requested attachments to ensure timely processing of your request.


  • Claimants may also have their agent or representative sign the affidavit.
  • The application can be completed without the assistance of a surveying or engineering firm.
  • If the exemption request is approved, a survey of the approved division prepared by a registered land surveyor may be required.
  • Please remember that an affidavit means you are swearing that the information you have provided is true and correct.
  • Exemption approval will be subject to surveying requirements of MCA 76-3-401 and filing of the survey.
  • You are required to pay all levied property taxes prior to filing the survey.
  • If your application is approved, you may still need other approvals, such as a building permit, zoning compliance or land use permit, approach permit, sanitation approval, or a floodplain permit.


PDF available here

Note: Evasion is evaluated based on rebuttable presumptions, below, which are also found in Chapter 8 of the Missoula County Subdivision Regulations.

  • State your name for the record:
  • Did you buy the property with the intent of dividing it?
  • Do you or your transferees intend to transfer the property within the next year?
  • Have you talked to anyone at the County about going through subdivision review?

Questions to Ask if Recipient is Not a Minor

  • Will the property be developed?
  • Will the recipient of the property be residing on the property?

Questions to Ask if Recipient is a Minor

  • Do you have a trust established for the child(ren) to hold the property?
  • Who is the trustee of the trust or who controls it?
  • If the property is sold, will the money be held in trust?


Section of the Subdivision Regulations

The use of this exemption may be presumed to have been used for the purpose of evading the MSPA if:

  1. A transfer of a tract of land by one family member to another, by quitclaim deed, is followed by an attempted use of this exemption on the same tract.
  2. The landowner intends to divide land for the purpose of a gift or sale to the landowner’s spouse and/or minor children.
  3. The remaining tract is intended to be sold so as to finance construction on a tract gifted and transferred to a spouse.
  4. The division is made for the purpose of speculation by the landowner or for resale for the benefit of the landowner by using the grantee as a “straw person.”
  5. The remaining tract or the transferred tracts are marketed for non-family related development purposes where benefit to family members appears to be secondary to development purposes.
  6. There is no clear intent declared on the occupancy or use of the transferred tracts by receiving family members.
  7. The parent purports to act as a guardian and/or conservator for a minor child without establishing a trust instrument and the bona fide assurance that the property will be managed on behalf of the child and not the parent.
  8. The proposed division is on a tract that was previously created through use of a family transfer exemption, mortgage security exemption, or occasional sale exemption, or has received preliminary plat approval.
  9. The transfer could be accomplished by a different exemption that would be more appropriate for the intended use.


If you have any questions, please call the Community and Planning Services office at 258-4657.