County subdivision review process clarified

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Past issues with getting fees paid or having correct subdivision plat maps prompted Beaverhead County officials to update their procedures for plat review and approval.

The Beaverhead County planner, sanitarian, and clerk and recorder officials asked the Beaverhead County Commissioners to put in writing that Certificates of Survey and subdivision plat review payment must be submitted at the time of the plat or certificate recording. They also asked the commission require surveyors or engineers to be present during site plan review and approval.

The commission approved a resolution to that effect at its Feb. 19 meeting.

The wording more specifically lays out the process for plat review in county subdivision regulations.

The changes request a surveyor or engineer – or a representative of those firms familiar with the subdivision proposal – attend all planning board meetings for approval and county commission meetings for preliminary and final approval of the proposed subdivision or certificate of survey. They changes also require payment for plat review or survey certificates be received at the time of submittal to the planning office. The proposed documents would not be accepted or held by the planning office without payment.

The county contracts with an outside agency for land surveying services, and the fees cover the cost for those services, and for recording at the county. Planning Secretary Sadie Caltrider told the commission some surveyors foist the fee off on to the client, leaving the planning documents with the county. Sometimes the client does not get the message that they must pay the fee, and so the documents sit on planning desks and slow down the process.

“We’d like to have teeth (in the regulations) saying we are not taking these until the fee is paid,” she said.

County Planner Rob Macioroski said it does not happen often, but there have been times when unpaid plats were sitting on planning department desks, with no one knowing if the fee had been paid.

The other change – a requirement to have a knowledgeable party present for site plan review and approvals – is intended to alleviate issues when questions arise with a proposed plat. Macioroski said there have been some proposed plats that had to be sent back to the planning board after the commissioners had questions about them. If an engineer or surveyor had been present, those issues could have been ironed out without needing to send it back to the planning board.