Missoula County Survey Regulation Update

In November of 2016, Missoula County updated the rules regulating surveys that are exempt from review as a subdivision, including boundary line relocations, family transfers, agricultural divisions, and mortgage/security interest parcels. These and certain other types of surveys, often referred to as ‘exempt surveys,’ allow for the modification of existing boundaries or the creation of parcels without going through the full subdivision process which would typically allow for public comment – a simple approval from the County is all that is required.

Throughout the summer of 2016, TLI staff members were heavily involved with the county in providing feedback to the proposed regulations. After a year of working under the new regulations we thought it would be a good time for an update to provide a clearer picture of how TLI can help obtain the proper approvals and move through the exempt survey process, from the application for approval to filing with the County Recorder:

Client Focus – for most projects our team has an initial consultation to gain an in-depth understanding of the client and their need so we can accurately guide the project through the detailed exempt survey application process. Client focus is one of our company’s core values, and by understanding our client’s projects thoroughly, we can identify and discuss options to help reach their goals.

Planning – by discussing and understanding the short-term and long-term goals of a client’s property our staff can help plan what surveying and engineering services may be best suited, and vet out the best exemption (if any) for the project.

Guidance – a new addition to the requirements is an analysis of FEMA floodplain maps and information related to the client’s property. By understanding the client’s needs and goals, our team can determine up front if an in-depth floodplain study is required. Sometimes this costly process can be delayed until future developments actually occur, which can save immediate time and money. Likewise, addressing the floodplain study at the time of survey may save money in the long run and raise the potential market value of the property.

Success – while no application is guaranteed to be approved, our team’s understanding of regulations at the local and State levels allows us to work with our clients to avoid common pitfalls and unnecessary expenses. By working closely with our clients, we can determine the proper steps up front for what is needed for the project.

Our team stays up to date on regulation changes that occur in the areas of service our firm reaches. While the recent changes discussed are specific to Missoula County, the process and client focus remains the same regardless of the community. We strive to inform our clients of the regulation changes taking place that may impact timelines or costs associated with projects.

by Matt Jacobson, PLS, Lead Surveyor