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Questions about Montana building codes

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Questions about Montana building codes

Postby BuckShot » Sun Dec 13, 2015 8:37 am

After many hours of googling I have came up far short of informed..

I am looking to purchase land in Montana for an off grid location.

Preferably a larger tract above 30 acres.

While these are readily available, it is next to impossible to find the legal documentation to support the purchase. My plans are multiple small cabins, each on solar power, each its own little compound yet all on the same tract.

Does anyone have some info or links relating to laws, codes, zoning rules, etc in Western Montana?

I know each county will have its own rules outside of state law but it seems they keep the info "secret" ;) .
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Re: Questions about Montana building codes

Postby AuntBee » Sun Dec 13, 2015 3:41 pm

As you say, counties have their own regulations, so I think you have to narrow it down to a particular property or area. Then look up "zoning" and the place

This is a link to Flathead County. It might help give you ideas about what questions to ask.
http://flathead.mt.gov/planning_zoning/faq.php
Lots of information there.

Each county should have a link to the zoning maps.
http://flathead.mt.gov/gis/

You can also talk to a Realtor. Tell them you're just looking, thinkng about it, etc.

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Re: Questions about Montana building codes

Postby Lifelong Survivalist » Mon Mar 28, 2016 12:45 pm

First of all I want to point out that there is a big difference between Building Codes and Zoning Laws, Rules and Regulations. Building codes are for construction Quality and Safety. Minimum standards that must be met to pass inspection, such as electrical wiring, breaker boxes, plumbing, Septic Systems, Building Materials, Concrete, fire suppression systems, exit signs, fire extinguishers, handicapped access and other construction details and components. Zoning refers to what can be built or what can not be built in certain areas in a county. Such as industrial, commercial, residential, etc Sounds to me like you are seeking a small farm, or subdivided tract of land that has been surveyed and divided into plots. The most common of which I have seen are 90 acres. Many small farms and ranches in Montana range in size anywhere from 40 acres on up to thousands of acres...1 square mile = 640 acres. You can find just about any information about land in Montana by using your internet search engine and enter the key search words of the info. that you are seeking. It may take several attempts using various key words or combinations of key words. Some times the land is divide into Quarter sections (a section is a square mile). Places to seek further info. are: Montana Construction Contractors Association, Real Estate Agencies, County Zoning Boards and County Commissioners, City Chambers Commerce, etc. For most construction projects (other than sidewalks, decks and storage buildings) a building permit is required and a final inspection must be passed. Hope this clarification is helpful. :-)
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Re: Questions about Montana building codes

Postby Suncat » Mon Mar 28, 2016 5:26 pm

Remember that you won't be hiding when you do this. You'll probably have to go through all that when you purchase the land and go to build.. getting permits and whatnot. So call the areas you looking at and ask them questions. I imagine the attitudes will tell you as much as the answers.
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Re: Questions about Montana building codes

Postby Senah » Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:00 pm

The main differences when building in Montana are whether you are in the city limits or in the county, and whether you are on 80 acres or less, or on more. Depending on where you are located, there would be city and other codes you have to satisfy within the city limits (building, city, and perhaps even neighborhood, and you have to meet and petition all three in some cases), whereas in the county you wouldn't have to meet more than 1 set of codes. Additionally however, in many places now if you have a property that is less than 80 acres it is considered to be "subdivision" size, and falls into the ability to have an HOA. If it does have an HOA (and you would be surprised the places that do - some places in Madison County have unoccupied land way on the top of a mountain with no power, water, or septic that takes 45 minutes to get to from a town of 700!), you will also have to satisfy their additional building codes.

So, you basically need to find the land you are interested in, and then either speak to a realtor about what codes would apply, or do the research online to see if it falls into a subdivision, has covenants, and then speak to the county about what the codes are.
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Re: Questions about Montana building codes

Postby Lifelong Survivalist » Wed Mar 30, 2016 5:40 pm

Right on, Senah. But I think Montana might have far fewer "FLAMING HOOPS" TO JUMP THROUGH THAN MANY OTHER STATES AND LOCALITIES. Some of the codes are national standard, some are federal laws and Regs, and some are state, county, and local as well as industry standards. Many have to do with fire safety and prevention, sanitation, quality construction and similar areas of concern. Gawd, I hate H.O.A.s and covenants! Some LEASE AGREEMENTS are terrible too. I also hate FINE PRINT ON ANYTHING. If I can't read it without magnifying reading glasses or a magnifying glass then it must be bad, because they don't want you to read it, not really. Just be cautious and check with Title Search companies for clear title, right of way, water rights, timber rights and mineral rights, encumbrances, land taxes, and liens as well. I also want to just mention putting any funds in an ESCROW ACCOUNT before making any payment or signing any loans or contracts. Be absolutely sure of all the facts before you finalize and close the deal. And do CYA. I love to have backup and contingency plans for nearly everything. Plan A, plan B, Plan C etc.
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