City of Laurel issues statement on extra-territorial zoning

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Compiled By Torrey Anderson
Thursday, September 22, 2022

In a press release issued on Sept. 16, Laurel city officials sought to clarify their position on extra-territorial zoning outside of city limits. The press release states that the City “does not have legal authority to exercise extra-territorial zoning control over County properties, as the County has not ceded this authority to the City of Laurel.” The statement also informs residents that, “no zone Change Application by any County resident is in front of City Council for consideration.”

According to the document, the City is bound by a “long standing law” that governs zoning issues in Montana, and “cannot take any legal action to consider, evaluate, enforce, or otherwise assess zoning issues for County residents and properties.”

Under current standards, the City of Laurel’s zoning boundaries extend to one mile beyond the city limits. However, the City’s authority over this space is limited. According to Montana law, “a municipality may only implement zoning and subdivision regulation in an area beyond the city limits if the surrounding county has not adopted zoning or subdivision regulations in that area and only until the surrounding county adopts a growth policy.”

Yellowstone County has issued Subdivision Regulations for the surrounding area within that one mile radius, so the City of Laurel does not hold any zoning authority outside of city limits.

If residents have questions regarding the zoning issue, they may contact the City of Laurel’s Civil Attorney’s office via email at civilattorney@laurel.mt.gov. The full press release is available on the City of Laurel’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/cityoflaurelmontana.

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