Major and Minor Subdivision

Subdivision is enabled by State Law which provides criteria for review and dictates the process. The City has adopted its own Subdivision Regulations in compliance with state law. A subdivision divides land into lots, streets, blocks, alleys and parkland or common areas.

Subdivision review regulates the division of land to ensure compliance with applicable state and City of Missoula laws and ordinances. If you are considering a possible division of your property, call or email the Zoning Desk to submit a Land Use Intake Form and request a Pre-Application meeting. Click here for an PowerPoint Overview of the Subdivision Review Process.

Click here for Subdivision Electronic Packet Submission Guidelines.

There are two types of subdivision applications:

  • Minor Subdivision: containing 5 or fewer lots
  • Major Subdivision: containing more than 5 lots

Contact Us

  1. Current Planning & Land Use
    Zoning Desk
    (406) 552 - 6625
    Available hours: 10 am – 2 pm
    zoningdesk@ci.missoula.mt.us

Intake Form: Applicant submits the Intake Form with required documentation to the Zoning Desk. The Intake Form should state whether the request is for a subdivision Scoping meeting or Pre-application meeting. A draft of the preliminary plat showing, lots, lot sizes, roads and road types, common area, and parkland is required to be included with the Intake Form for Pre-application meeting requests.

Scoping Meeting: Not required but can be helpful for applicants who do not have a draft of the preliminary plat and are looking for general information regarding subdivision and land use information for the land proposed for subdivision. Staff researches the property and the proposal and then schedules a Scoping meeting with the applicant.  At the meeting staff explains the process, informs the applicant on applicable regulations, and explains the criteria for review. The goal is to provide the applicant information and assistance early on before they submit an application and pay a fee so that the proposal has a good chance of meeting the criteria and getting approved with minimal revisions and rounds of review.

Pre-application Meeting: Required step per the City Subdivision regulations. Staff researches the property and the proposal and then schedules a Pre-application meeting within 30 calendar days of receipt of the Intake Form. At the meeting staff explains the process, informs the applicant on applicable regulations and whether the proposed layout conflicts with the regulations. Staff also explains the criteria for review. The goal is to provide the applicant information and assistance early on before they submit an application and pay a fee so that the proposal has a good chance of meeting the criteria and getting approved.

Neighborhood Meeting: After the Pre-application meeting is held, but before the application is submitted for Element Review, the subdivider must meet with the Neighborhood Council, appropriate neighborhood organizations and interested individuals. The meeting must be noticed and the requirements for the meeting and notification is found in the City Subdivision regulations Article 4-010.2.

Application Submittal – Element Review: The applicant submits the application and fee to Development Services. Staff has 5 working days to review the application for completeness per City Subdivision regulations Article 5-010 & 5-020. If the application packet is determined to be incomplete, the Element Review process is repeated until the application packet is certified complete.

Application Submittal – Sufficiency Review: Once staff certifies the application complete for Element Review, the application starts Sufficiency Review. The subdivision application Sufficiency Review packet is posted on Engage Missoula. The applicant notifies a list of agencies that the application is available for Sufficiency Review and directs them to the submittal packet on the Engage Missoula website. Staff and agencies have 15 working days to review the application to determine if the information provided is sufficient for review. Agencies also provide comments on whether it complies with regulations or whether there are impacts that require mitigation.  The applicable Neighborhood Council (Map), appropriate property owner’s associations and neighborhood organizations are also notified by the applicant. This provides Neighborhood Council members an opportunity to know a project is coming and to look at the packet on the website.

If the application packet is determined to be insufficient, the Sufficiency Review process is repeated until the application packet is deemed sufficient.

Governing Body Review Period: Once staff certifies the application sufficient, the application starts the Governing Body Review. The Governing Body Review packet is posted on Engage Missoula. Staff prepares a schedule for City Council meetings, provides notification, prepares a staff report with recommendations, prepares a presentation, and facilitates the review of the project at a Land Use and Planning Committee meeting of City Council.

The state law deadline for Council decision on the subdivision application is 35 working days.

Public Notification: The minor subdivision is approved by City Council at a Land Use and Planning Committee meeting. Public notification occurs a minimum of 15 days prior to the Committee meeting. A memo is sent to Adjacent Property Owners of the subject property. In addition, a poster is placed on the site facing adjacent roads and a legal ad is placed in the Missoulian for two Saturdays.

Public Meeting: The public may provide written comment on the minor subdivision on the Engage Missoula page or by email to the Case Planner. Comment will be forwarded to City Council and available on meeting agenda found on the City’s Meetings page. The Land Use and Planning Committee meetings are in person and virtually. Public comment is taken at the public meeting. Following the approval or conditional approval of the minor subdivision at the committee meeting, the committee action needs to appear on an agenda for the next regular City Council meeting for final approval.

Effective Date: The preliminary plat approval is effective the date of the City Council meeting where Council takes action to approve or conditionally approve the minor subdivision.  The subdivision lots are not created until the final plat for the subdivision or a phase of the subdivision is filed with the County Clerk and Recorder.