House Bill No. 376

Introduced By tropila, franklin, masolo, j. johnson, tuss, van valkenburg, marshall, denny

A Bill for an Act entitled: An Act increasing public input into state agency decisions by requiring a public hearing held for an action that directly impacts a specific community or area to be held in an accessible facility in the impacted community or area; excepting the board of regents; and amending sections 2-3-111, 16-4-202, and 75-10-924, MCA.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:

Section 1.  Section 2-3-111, MCA, is amended to read:

"2-3-111.  Opportunity to submit views -- public hearings. (1) Procedures for assisting public participation shall must include a method of affording interested persons reasonable opportunity to submit data, views, or arguments, orally or in written form, prior to making a final decision that is of significant interest to the public.

(2) When a state agency other than the board of regents proposes to take an action that directly impacts a specific community or area and a public hearing is held, the hearing must be held in an accessible facility in the impacted community or area or in the nearest community or area with an accessible facility."

Section 2.  Section 16-4-202, MCA, is amended to read:

"16-4-202.  Resort licenses. (1) It is the intent and purpose of this section to encourage the growth of quality recreational resort facilities in undeveloped areas of the state and to provide for the orderly growth of existing recreational sites by the establishment of resort areas within which retail all-beverages licenses may be issued by the department under the terms and as more particularly prescribed below. In addition to the licenses as otherwise set forth in this code, the department may issue resort retail all-beverages licenses in a resort area.

(2)  For the purposes of this section, a resort area is defined as a recreational facility meeting the qualifications determined by the department as hereinafter provided in this section.

(3)  The department shall determine that the area for which licenses are to be issued is a resort area,. such The determination to must be made under and pursuant to rules to be first promulgated on or before December 31, 1975.

(4)  In addition to the other requirements of this code, a resort area, for the purposes of qualification for the issuance of a resort retail all-beverages license, must have a current actual valuation of resort or recreational facilities, including land and improvements thereon, of not less than $500,000, at least half of which valuation must be for a structure or structures within the resort area, and must be under the sole ownership or control of one person or entity at the time of the filing of the resort area plat referred to in subsection (5) of this section. The word "control" shall mean means lands held under lease, option, or permit.

(5)  The resort area must be determined by the resort developer or landowner by a plat setting forth the resort boundaries, and designating the ownership of the lands within the resort area,. which The plat must be verified by the resort developer or landowner and must be filed with the department prior to the filing of any applications by individuals for licenses within the resort area. Such The plat must show the location and general design of the buildings and other improvements to be built in said the area in which resort retail all-beverages licenses are to or may be located. A master plan for the development of the area may be filed by the resort developer in satisfaction of this section.

(6)  Upon such filing, the department shall forthwith schedule a public hearing to be held in Helena, Montana the proposed area, to determine whether the facility proposed by the resort developer or landowner is a resort area within the meaning of the rules of the department. At least 30 days prior to the date of the hearing, the department shall publish notice thereof of the hearing, with a description of the location of the proposed resort area, in a newspaper published in the county or counties in which the resort is located, once a week for 4 consecutive weeks. Each resort developer or landowner shall, at the time of filing his the application, pay to the department an amount sufficient to cover the costs of said publication.

(7)  Persons may present statements to the department at the hearing in person or in writing in opposition or support of the plat.

(8)  Within 30 days of the hearing, the department shall accept or reject the plat. If rejected, the department must shall state its reasons and set forth the conditions, if any, under which the plat will be accepted,. and the The decision of the department may be reviewed pursuant to the review procedure set forth in 16-4-406.

(9)  Once filed with the department, the boundaries of a resort may not be changed without full hearing, as above provided in this section, and the prior approval of the department,. which The approval shall must be made according to public convenience and necessity.

(10) (a) When the department has accepted a plat and a given resort area has been determined, applications may then be filed with the department by persons for the issuance of resort retail all-beverages licenses within the resort area.

(b)  Each applicant must submit plans showing the location, appearance, and floor plan of the premises for which application for a license is made.

(c)  If an applicant otherwise qualifies for a resort license but the premises to be licensed are still in construction or are otherwise incomplete at the time of such application, the department shall issue a letter stating that the license will be issued at such time as when the qualifications for a licensed premises have been met,. setting The letter must set forth such time limitations and requirements as that the department may establish.

(11) In addition to the restrictions on sale or transfer of a license as provided in 16-4-204 and 16-4-404, no a resort retail all-beverages license may not be sold or transferred for operation at a location outside of the boundaries of the resort area.

(12) A resort retail all-beverages license shall not be is subject to the quota limitations set forth in 16-4-201, and if the requirements of this section have been met, a resort retail all-beverages license shall must be issued by the department on the basis that the department has determined that such the license is justified by public convenience and necessity, in accordance with the procedure required in 16-4-207."

Section 3.  Section 75-10-924, MCA, is amended to read:

"75-10-924.  Hearing date -- location -- department to act as staff. (1) Upon receipt of the department's report submitted under 75-10-922, the board shall set a date for a hearing to begin not more than 120 days after receipt of the report. A certification hearing must be conducted by the board in Helena or in the county seat of the county in which the facility or the greatest portion of the facility is to be located.

(2)  Except as provided in 75-10-926, the department shall act as the staff for the board throughout the decisionmaking process and the board may request that the department present testimony or cross-examine witnesses as the board considers necessary and appropriate."