1999 Montana Legislature

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     WHEREAS, the Legislature previously amended the definition of tract of record; and

     WHEREAS, the Attorney General, in 47 A.G. Op. 10 (1997), and 38 A.G. Op. 66 (1980), rendered opinions regarding the division of land and tracts of record that are inconsistent with the intent of the Legislature; and

     WHEREAS, it is the intent of the Legislature that each parcel of land identified on the same deed by aliquot part, government lot, or other legal description and separated by a comma or other punctuation is an individual parcel of land and a tract of record;

     WHEREAS, local government units implementing the Montana Subdivision and Platting Act need further clarification of the definition of "tract of record"; and

     WHEREAS, clarification of the definition of "tract of record" promotes reasonable land development, reasonable local government land use control, the rights of Montana's private property holders, and the Montana economy; and

     WHEREAS, clarification of the definition of "tract of record" is in the interest of all citizens of Montana.

     THEREFORE, the Legislature finds it appropriate to define "aliquot part" and to clarify the definition of "tract of record".


     Section 1.  Section 76-3-103, MCA, is amended to read:

     "76-3-103.  Definitions. As used in this chapter, unless the context or subject matter clearly requires otherwise, the following definitions apply:

     (1)  "Aliquot part" means a tract or other parcel of land definitely located by reference to the division of a United States government survey township into sections (640 acres), half-sections (320 acres), quarter-sections (160 acres), half-quarter sections (80 acres), quarter-quarter or 1/16 sections (40 acres), 1/32 sections (20 acres), 1/64 sections (10 acres), 1/128 sections (5 acres), or 1/256 sections (2.5 acres).

     (2) "Certificate of survey" means a drawing of a field survey prepared by a registered surveyor for the purpose of disclosing facts pertaining to boundary locations.

     (2)(3)  "Dedication" means the deliberate appropriation of land by an owner for any general and public use, reserving to the landowner no rights that are incompatible with the full exercise and enjoyment of the public use to which the property has been devoted.

     (3)(4)  "Division of land" means the segregation of one or more parcels of land from a larger tract held in single or undivided ownership by transferring or contracting to transfer title to or possession of a portion of the tract or properly filing a certificate of survey or subdivision plat establishing the identity of the segregated parcels pursuant to this chapter. The conveyance of a tract of record or an entire parcel of land that was created by a previous division of land is not a division of land.

     (4)(5)  "Examining land surveyor" means a registered land surveyor appointed by the governing body to review surveys and plats submitted for filing.

     (5)(6)  "Final plat" means the final drawing of the subdivision and dedication required by this chapter to be prepared for filing for record with the county clerk and recorder and containing all elements and requirements set forth in this chapter and in regulations adopted pursuant to this chapter.

     (6)(7)  "Governing body" means a board of county commissioners or the governing authority of a city or town organized pursuant to law.

     (7)(8)  "Immediate family" means a spouse, children by blood or adoption, and parents.

     (8)(9)  "Irregularly shaped tract of land" means a parcel of land other than an aliquot part of the United States government survey section or a United States government lot, the boundaries or areas of which cannot be determined without a survey or trigonometric calculation.


     (9)(10)  "Planned unit development" means a land development project consisting of residential clusters, industrial parks, shopping centers, or office building parks that compose a planned mixture of land uses built in a prearranged relationship to each other and having open space and community facilities in common ownership or use.

     (10)(11) "Plat" means a graphical representation of a subdivision showing the division of land into lots, parcels, blocks, streets, alleys, and other divisions and dedications.

     (11)(12) "Preliminary plat" means a neat and scaled drawing of a proposed subdivision showing the layout of streets, alleys, lots, blocks, and other elements of a subdivision that furnish a basis for review by a governing body.

     (12)(13) "Registered land surveyor" means a person licensed in conformance with Title 37, chapter 67, to practice surveying in the state of Montana.

     (13)(14) "Registered professional engineer" means a person licensed in conformance with Title 37, chapter 67, to practice engineering in the state of Montana.

     (14)(15) "Subdivider" means a person who causes land to be subdivided or who proposes a subdivision of land.

     (15)(16) "Subdivision" means a division of land or land so divided that it creates one or more parcels containing less than 160 acres that cannot be described as a one-quarter aliquot part of a United States government section, exclusive of public roadways, in order that the title to or possession of the parcels may be sold, rented, leased, or otherwise conveyed and includes any resubdivision and further includes a condominium or area, regardless of its size, that provides or will provide multiple space for recreational camping vehicles or mobile homes.

     (16)(17) (a) "Tract of record" means an individual parcel of land, irrespective of ownership, that can be identified by legal description, independent of any other parcel of land, using documents on file in the records of the county clerk and recorder's office. The term includes but is not limited to land described:

     (i) by aliquot part that is separated by a comma or other punctuation in the same deed on file in the records of the county clerk and recorder's office; or

     (ii) as a government lot that is separated by a comma or other punctuation in the same deed on file in the records of the county clerk and recorder's office.

     (b)  Each individual tract of record continues to be an individual parcel of land unless the owner of the parcel has joined it with other contiguous parcels by filing with the county clerk and recorder:

     (i)  an instrument of conveyance in which the aggregated parcels have been assigned a legal description that describes the resulting single parcel and in which the owner expressly declares the owner's intention that the tracts be merged; or

     (ii) a certificate of survey or subdivision plat that shows that the boundaries of the original parcels have been expunged and depicts the boundaries of the larger aggregate parcel.

     (c)  An instrument of conveyance does not merge parcels of land under subsection (16)(b)(i) (17)(b)(i) unless the instrument states, "This instrument is intended to merge individual parcels of land to form the aggregate parcel(s) described in this instrument" or a similar statement, in addition to the legal description of the aggregate parcels, clearly expressing the owner's intent to effect a merger of parcels."

     NEW SECTION.  Section 2.  Effective date. [This act] is effective on passage and approval.

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