16-4-212. Resort area determination. (1) To obtain a resort area designation, the resort area developer or landowner must submit an application with a plat setting forth the resort area boundaries and designating the ownership of the lands within the resort area. The plat must show the location and general design of the buildings and other improvements existing or to be built in the resort area. A master plan for the development of the resort area may be filed by the resort area developer in satisfaction of this section.
(2) (a) In addition to the other requirements of this code, at the time of application, a resort area must:
(i) not be located within the boundaries of a quota area as described in 16-4-201;
(ii) have a current actual valuation of resort or recreational facilities, including land and improvements, of not less than $1 million, at least half of which valuation must be for a structure or structures within the resort area;
(iii) be under the sole ownership or control of one person or entity;
(iv) contain a minimum of 50 acres of land; and
(v) provide details of the recreational facilities that are or will be on the grounds of the resort that warrant the resort designation being granted. These recreational facilities must be completed prior to licenses being issued in 16-4-213.
(b) For the purposes of this section, "control" means land or improvements that are owned or that are held under contract, lease, option, or permit.
(3) Within 15 business days after the application is filed, the department shall schedule a public hearing to be held in the proposed area to determine whether the facility proposed by the resort area developer or landowner is a resort area. At least 30 days prior to the date of the hearing, the department shall publish notice of the hearing in a newspaper published in the county or counties in which the resort area is located, once a week for 4 consecutive weeks. The notice must include a description of the proposed resort area. The resort area developer or landowner shall, at the time of filing an application, pay to the department an amount sufficient to cover the costs of publication.
(4) A person may present, in person or in writing, a statement to the department at the hearing in opposition to or in support of the application.
(5) Within 30 days after the hearing, the department shall approve or deny the application. If the application is denied, the applicant may request a review of the decision of the department pursuant to the Montana Administrative Procedure Act.
(6) Once a resort area has been approved by the department, the boundaries of a resort area may not be changed without a new application.