Legal Opinion 2018-034
City council ward boundary reapportionment review necessary for 2019 City Council Municipal elections prior to candidate filing commencing.
Legal Opinion 2018-033
In land use project approval context, City Council allowing adjacent property owner satisfaction to be necessary for adjacent land use project approval constitutes an unlawful delegation of legislative authority by City Council.
Legal Opinion 2018-032
Potential inverse condemnation/eminent domain liability exposure if City Council requires a private property owner in a private subdivision exemption project to provide land for a public way to provide ingress and egress to an adjacent property and/or if City Council significantly increases motor vehicle traffic from outside the subdivision exemption project utilizing a private road(s) within the subdivision exemption project for public traffic going to and from an adjacent property.
Legal Opinion 2018-031
Pursuant to Montana traffic regulations municipal law enforcement generally does not have jurisdiction to enforce traffic regulations on private property, such as private streets or roadways within a residential development.
Legal Opinion 2018-029
Necessity that with respect to land use property rights determinations being made by city council as governing body, city council members remain open minded, neutral, impartial, unbiased and objective so that public review process and procedure has “appearance of fairness” and retains credibility.
Legal Opinion 2018-030
Montana state law specifically provides that for properties located outside the city limits a city may require the property owner to consent to annexation in order to connect to municipal utility service. Montana Supreme Court has held that city required waivers of protest to annexation are valid and legal and that any covenant made for the direct benefit of the property runs with the land.
Legal Opinion 2018-028
City Council meetings, deliberations and communications pertaining to proposed land use actions pending before the City Council must occur in city public meetings in which deliberations must be publicly observable and all communications city public record communications.
Legal Opinion 2018-027
Montana Municipal utility rates, charges and classifications for customers as well as for development capital infrastructure expansions must be equitable, reasonable and just in proportion to services and benefits provided. Municipal utility system development fees may be utilized to fund a portion of the expense of future expansion of a municipal water or sanitary sewer system.
Legal Opinion 2018-026
Montana’s prevailing wage law (Montana’s Little-Davis Bacon Act) applies to Public Works construction projects in which the total cost of the contract exceeds $25,000.00
Legal Opinion 2018-025
A majority of City Council members is a quorum for the transaction of City Council business
Legal Opinion 2018-024
Montana municipalities may take urgent interim zoning action to protect the
public safety, health and welfare
Legal Opinion 2018-023
Meaning of public criminal justice information pursuant to Montana Criminal
Justice Information Act of 1979
Legal Opinion 2018-022
Montana state law expressly authorizes Montana political subdivisions to self-insure in whole or in part
Legal Opinion 2018-021
Several Montana State Laws recognize the authority of Montana Cities and Towns to, if necessary, utilize special judgment levies or issue bonds to pay judgments or settlements against a Montana municipality
Legal Opinion 2018-020
Montana State Law allows cities to solicit and accept bequests, donations, or grants of money, property, services or other advantages and comply with any condition that is not contrary to the public interest
Legal Opinion 2018-019
Montana Constitution Article II, section 12 “Right to Bear Arms” is not a specific source of legal authority permitting a person to carry a concealed weapon
Legal Opinion 2018-018
Montana Constitution safeguards the right of a person to be free from imprisonment for debt
Legal Opinion 2018-017
With respect to Montana collective bargaining law, an employer must negotiate in good faith with employees concerning fringe benefits. If collective bargaining negotiations are with police or fire unions, if there is an impasse, the fringe benefit impasse must by Montana law be determined by an arbitrator pursuant to binding arbitration.
Legal Opinion 2018-016
City budget shall be approved and adopted as well as city budget tax levies shall be fixed by the later of the first Thursday after the first Tuesday in September or within 30 calendar days after receiving certified taxable value.
Legal Opinion 2018-015
Each statutory method of municipal annexation is a separate, independent and distinct method of municipal annexation.
Legal Opinion 2018-014
Generally unlawful to discharge guns, pistols, rifles, shotguns, handguns other firearms inside city limits, except at approved shooting ranges or in legal defense of person or property. Montana cities are empowered to prevent and suppress the carrying of concealed or unconcealed weapons to a park under the jurisdiction of the Montana city.
Legal Opinion 2018-013
Pursuant to 45-8-331 MCA Montana local governments are granted power to prevent and suppress the carrying of concealed or unconcealed weapons to a public assembly, publicly owned building, park under its jurisdiction or school.
Legal Opinion 2018-012
Statutorily required public comment on non-agenda items at public meetings are intended to be for public matters that are not on the public meeting agenda that are within the jurisdiction of the public agency conducting the public meeting
Legal Opinion 2018-011
Documents or materials protected by either the attorney-client privilege or attorney work-product privilege are not subject to release or disclosure pursuant to right to know article II, section 9, Montana constitution.
Legal Opinion 2018-010
Plats may be vacated either in whole or in part. Title to platted streets and alleys that are vacated generally revert to property owners adjacent to the street or alley vacation. Any utilities present in the street or alley continue to have an easement for operation and maintenance of public utility facility.
Legal Opinion 2018-009
Montana state law prohibits a Montana local government from exercising any power that affects landlords with respect to either licensing of landlords or regulating activities of landlords with regard to tenants beyond what exists in Montana’s Residential Landlord and Tenant Act of 1977 set forth in title 70, chapter 24 and 25 Montana Code Annotated.
Legal Opinion 2018-008
A Montana city may not, by ordinance, restrict the number of alcohol, liquor, beer
and wine licenses that the Montana Department of Revenue may issue.
Legal Opinion 2018-007
Montana public agency issued compilations of lists of persons might be identified as a distribution list that may not be utilized to facilitate unsolicited contact of those persons identified on the public agency compiled and issued list
Legal Opinion 2018-006
Lack of evidence to support a rezoning downzoning of Waterworks Hill caused Montana Supreme Court to hold city council abused its discretion in 1974 Lowe v. City of Missoula decision
Legal Opinion 2018-005
Appearance of Fairness legal doctrine requires that, with respect to public bodies, quasi-judicial land use decisions concerning property rights, the review process must be fair and appear to be fair, neutral, impartial, unbiased and objective in order to be valid
Legal Opinion 2018-004
City Council votes requiring either an extraordinary majority or a majority of entire total number of actual city council members in order for a proposed action to be adopted
Legal Opinion 2018-003
Montana public constitutional and statutory rights to observe the deliberations of public municipal governing bodies, boards, authorities, committees, subcommittees or other entities created by a municipality and be afforded reasonable opportunity for citizen participation prior to public entity making a vote, decision, recommendation, approval, disapproval or other action or inaction that involves the use of discretionary authority
Legal Opinion 2018-002
All meetings of Montana municipal governing bodies, boards, authorities, committees, or other entities created by a municipality shall be open to the public.
Knowingly conducting a meeting of a public body in violation of Montana’s open meeting laws is potentially a criminal offense
Legal Opinion 2018-001
Montana state laws pertaining to local government officials ethical rules of conduct and control of conflict of interest
Legal Opinion 2017-025
Section 61-8-507 of Montana state law provides that persons may not stand on a highway for the purpose of soliciting employment, business or contributions from occupants of vehicles unless the solicitation is authorized by the city
Legal Opinion 2017-024
A city plan to control, remove and restrict game animals within the city limits must be approved by Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks may impose conditions on any city plan to control, remove, and restrict game animals
Legal Opinion 2017-023
Montana state law provides that provisions of vehicle traffic regulations may not be enforced against alleged violators if, at the time and place of the alleged violation, an official traffic control device is not in proper position and sufficiently legible or visible to be seen by an ordinarily observant person
Legal Opinion 2017-022
Montana local governments may not impose a tax, fee, require a license or impose any operational requirements on passenger transportation network carrier services
Legal Opinion 2017-021
Pursuant to Montana state law sections 76-2-401 and 76-2-402 MCA, Montana state and local governments are not subject to municipal zoning regulations
Legal Opinion 2017-020
Statutory restrictions or prohibitions for public officers and public employees use of public work time, public facilities equipment, supplies, personnel or funds for political activity purposes
Legal Opinion 2017-019
Political candidates may not campaign at city neighborhood council, community forum and leadership team meetings
Legal Opinion 2017-018
Montana state law prohibits self-government local governments from exercising any power that applies to or affects landlords when that power is intended to license landlords or to regulate landlord activities with regard to tenants beyond what is provided for in Montana’s landlord tenant laws set forth in title 70, chapters 24 and 25, MCA
Legal Opinion 2017-017
City council option of scheduling municipal election by passing a resolution not more than 10 days after the close of filing when number of candidates for municipal election do not meet certain statutory thresholds for requiring a municipal primary election
Legal Opinion 2017-016
Montana municipal contract laws do not require competitive bidding for (1) professional, (2) technical, (3) engineering, or (4) legal services retained by a Montana municipality
Legal Opinion 2017-015
Montana traffic regulation laws allow law enforcement agencies to appoint civilian accident investigators authorized to provide assistance at the scene of accident incidents for the purpose of investigating the accident
Legal Opinion 2017-014
1990 Montana Supreme Court held that municipal public utility system development fees were allowable public utility fees that could be implemented and collected to fund a portion of future expansion of municipal water and/or sanitary sewer service
Legal Opinion 2017-013
Preservation of established existing commercial vineyard crop pursuant to utilization of helicopter to push warm air downward onto vineyard crop is an agricultural activity entitled to protection from local nuisance ordinances
Legal Opinion 2017-012
Public employee names, addresses, salary, job titles, merit pay, vacation and sick leave, dates of employment, and hours worked are examples of public record information pertaining to public employees in Montana
Legal Opinion 2017-011
Legality of persons who are not blocking ingress or egress to a building, nor obstructing passage of pedestrians on public sidewalks soliciting contributions while on public sidewalks
Legal Opinion 2017-010
Municipal office becomes vacant when elected or appointed office holders cease to discharge their duty of office for a period of 3 consecutive months, except when prevented by illness or when absent with city council permission
Legal Opinion 2017-009
City local government public board or commission positions may be declared vacant if board or commission member ceases to discharge duties of office for three (3) consecutive months or alternatively openly neglects and refuses to discharge duties of office
Legal Opinion 2017-008
2003 Amendment to Montana State Subdivision Exemption law addressing security exemptions for mortgages, liens or trust indentures provided that a mortgage security parcel could only be transferred to the entity holding the security interest
Legal Opinion 2017-007
Montana Recall Act narrowly limits statutory grounds for recall of public officers
Legal Opinion 2017-006
Pursuant to Montana state law 18-2-425, City may not require a Public Works project contract contractor, subcontractor, material supplier or carrier to execute or otherwise become a party to any project labor, agreement, collective bargaining agreement, prehire agreement or other agreement with employees, their representatives, or any labor organization as a condition of bidding, negotiating, being awarded, or performing work on a Public Works contract
Legal Opinion 2017-005
Unlawful for city council legislative body to condition hotel and conference
center construction project approval to be based on a mandate in city developer
agreement provision that developer must enter into labor peace agreement with
union in order to be able to implement hotel and conference center construction
Legal Opinion 2017-004
Mont. Code Ann. § 7-32-4105 expressly prohibits the chief of police from providing service of process in a civil action if the city is not a party
Legal Opinion 2017-003
Montana municipal SID law provides that federal property is omitted from SID assessments
Legal Opinion 2017-002
Schools have the right of eminent domain and are eligible to utilize a subdivision exemption review
Legal Opinion 2017-001
No explicit statutory time limits on timing of local government budget fiscal year amendments
Legal Opinion 2016-030
Qualifications to be a City Council member
Legal Opinion 2016-029
Montana law and City of Missoula Charter provisions for filling a vacancy in a City Council office
Legal Opinion 2016-028
Competitive bidding phrase “Lowest Responsible Bidder” is not limited to lowest pecuniary bid
Legal Opinion 2016-027
Government competitive bidding laws are for the purpose to obtain competitive pricing as well as for protection and benefit of public and government and not for the benefit of an unsuccessful bidder
Legal Opinion 2016-026
Either Mayor or eight (8) members of City Council may call a special City Council meeting if they deem it necessary to do so
Legal Opinion 2016-025
In Montana, by virtue of Montana state law, a Public Utility has a Statutory Right to Use Public Rights of Way for Utility Lines and Facilities, including for underground public utilities
Legal Opinion 2016-024
Municipal revenue bond issuance does not require a vote of city electors
Legal Opinion 2016-023
Montana Municipal Government law does not empower a municipal urban renewal agency or department with the power to sue to be sued
Legal Opinion 2016-022
Medical records and medical information of public officials and employees are private confidential records unless the person the medical records concern requests that the medical records be made public
Legal Opinion 2016-021
Montana Supreme Court decision upholding enforcement of statutory limitations on public official and public employee political activity
Legal Opinion 2016-020
Easements create a right to control and use another’s land for a specific purpose, such as a utility easement
Legal Opinion 2016-019
Public Utility Statutory Right to Use Public Rights of Way for Utility Lines and Facilities
Legal Opinion 2016-018
Reminder Mayor as Chief Executive executes all documents on behalf of the City of Missoula
Legal Opinion 2016-017
Reasonable meaning of term “Error” in City of Missoula Zoning Title 20 Section 20.85.100 Missoula Municipal Zoning Code Appeals of Administrative Decisions
Legal Opinion 2016-016
Title 20 Zoning Missoula Municipal Code Appeals of Administrative Decisions to City Council Review as Review for error rather than de novo review
Legal Opinion 2016-015
When interpreting a law or ordinance the interpretation must ascertain what is stated and may not insert what has been omitted or omit language that has been inserted by the legislative body
Legal Opinion 2016-014
Evidence may include testimony, documents and tangible objects that tend to prove or disprove the existence of an alleged fact and is the means from which an inference may logically be drawn as to the existence of a fact
Legal Opinion 2016-013
Absentee, electronic or proxy voting by members of municipal public bodies not allowed pursuant to Montana law
Legal Opinion 2016-012
Montana State Law restrictions on public officers and employees political activities while at work as well as prohibitions on use of public work time, public facilities equipment, supplies, personnel or funds for political activity purposes
Legal Opinion 2016-011
Appearance of Fairness legal doctrine application to conduct and communications of members of public body
Legal Opinion 2016-010
Appearance of Fairness legal doctrine provides that members of public bodies making quasi-judicial determinations concerning private property rights must be neutral, impartial, unbiased, fair and objective, prior to making the public body’s review determination
Legal Opinion 2016-009
Limited Authority Granted to City of Missoula Historic Preservation Commission by City Council Adopted Ordinances
Legal Opinion 2016-008
Montana State Laws require Municipal Public Utility rates or charges to be uniform for all like services reasonable and just and as nearly equitable as possible in proportion to services and benefits rendered
Legal Opinion 2016-007
Montana State Law Statute Duties of Municipal Mayor include Recommending Measures
Legal Opinion 2016-006
Montana Constitutional Right to Know includes Constitutional Right of all Persons to Observe the Deliberations of all Public Bodies
Legal Opinion 2016-005
Historic Preservation Permit (HPP) Process for Demolition Permit Pursuant to 20.85.085 Missoula Municipal Code (MMC)
Legal Opinion 2016-004
Municipal Water and Sanitary Sewer System Development Fees authorized by Montana Supreme Court many years ago based on state laws. A subsequent 2005 Impact Fee law to fund certain Capital Improvements was not applicable to sewer and water system development fees already authorized by Montana law.
Legal Opinion 2016-003
Montana Municipal Zoning Laws Require Appeals of Municipal Zoning Board of Adjustment Decisions to be Made to a Court of Record Within 30 Days of the Filing of the Decision
Legal Opinion 2016-002
Unsuccessful city firefighter collective bargaining goes to binding arbitration and the decisions from binding arbitration are not subject to city council approval
Legal Opinion 2016-001
City Council votes requiring either an extraordinary majority or a majority of the total number of actual city council members in order for a proposed action to be adopted.
Legal Opinion 2015-032
Terms of all municipal officers elected at municipal election commence on first
Monday in January after such municipal election.
Legal Opinion 2015-031
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America’s request for Municipal ordinance requiring background checks for private firearms ownership transfers in order to check and determine if prospective transferee is an ineligible convicted
felon, adjudicated mentally incompetent person, illegal alien or a minor.
Legal Opinion 2015-030
Montana local government public safety authority with respect to firearms pursuant to Montana state law.
Legal Opinion 2015-029
Numerous court decisions have invalidated durational time limits imposed on political signage, especially prior to elections
Legal Opinion 2015-028
Statutorily required recording of ayes and no votes at City Council meetings.
Legal Opinion 2015-027
Legal concerns about political candidates campaigning at city neighborhood council, community forum and leadership team meetings.
Legal Opinion 2015-026
Montana local government powers are constitutionally required to be liberally
Legal Opinion 2015-025
Municipal ordinance penalties authorized by Montana State Law.
Legal Opinion 2015-024
Mayor as City of Missoula Chief Executive executes all documents on behalf of the City of Missoula.
Legal Opinion 2015-023
Release of the name of the Missoula Police Officer involved in a Caras Park Celtic Festival incident who is the subject of Missoula City Police investigation.
Legal Opinion 2015-022
Statutory authority for public bodies to close some meeting discussions pertaining
to litigation. Minutes of closed meeting must be kept.
Legal Opinion 2015-021
Montana state regulation of wild animal menageries and zoos including regulations for the housing, care, treatment, feeding and sanitation of animals.
Legal Opinion 2015-020
Public works contracts may not be separated into multiple contracts, work orders or similar devices so that the effect is circumvention or avoidance of bidding
requirements of public contracts such as prevailing wages.
Legal Opinion 2015-019
2015 computation of time period for City Council to adopt resolution requiring
primary election after the close of filing by candidates for election during the 2015 municipal election.
Legal Opinion 2015-018
What constitutes a quorum pursuant to Montana municipal government law?
Legal Opinion 2015-017
City of Missoula Job Quality and Labor Protection Ordinance.
Legal Opinion 2015-016
Appointed members of the Public Art Committee become temporary holdover
public officers or officials when no successor is timely qualified and legally
appointed in order to assure continuation of public functions.
Legal Opinion 2015-015
United States Marines wearing/bearing/carrying fire arms in the Missoula City Council Chambers.
Legal Opinion 2015-014
Montana state law qualifications for eligibility to be appointed as a Parking Commission member.
Legal Opinion 2015-013
Permissible land uses within floodplain but outside of floodway.
Legal Opinion 2015-012
Montana state alcohol laws prohibit alcoholic beverage bottle clubs at premises not licensed for the sale of alcoholic beverages.
Legal Opinion 2015-011
Montana municipalities may not restrict the number of alcohol licenses that the
Montana Department of Revenue may issue; but may define certain areas within
city limits where alcoholic beverages may or may not be sold.
Legal Opinion 2015-010
A new city council member must have an oath of office on file with the County
Election Administrator before being able to perform official City Council member
Legal Opinion 2015-009
Montana Constitutional right to bear arms in Article II, Section 12, is the only
Montana Constitutional provision specifically pertaining to persons and firearms or weapons.
Legal Opinion 2015-008
A self-governing municipality in Montana may exercise any power not expressly
prohibited by the Montana Constitution, Montana state law or its own charter. All
reasonable doubts regarding the existence of a Montana municipality’s power are
to be resolved in favor of finding that the power exists.
Legal Opinion 2015-007
Montana Pawnbroker law requires that pawnbroker register be open to the
inspection and examination of peace officers or other persons. Montana state law broadly defines the term person.
Legal Opinion 2015-006
Montana State Pawnbroker law authorizes peace officers to issue administrative
warrants to pawnbrokers to hold or surrender stolen property.
Legal Opinion 2015-005
City Council ward boundaries shall ensure that each City Council ward population is as equal in population as practically possible.
Legal Opinion 2015-004
A city employee may not simultaneously serve as a city council member pursuant to the legal doctrine of incompatible offices
Legal Opinion 2015-003
Montana state law requires pawnbrokers to keep a register describing every article
pawned or purchased which register must always be open to inspection and
examination of any peace officer or other persons.
Legal Opinion 2015-002
Montana law and City of Missoula provisions for filling a vacancy in an elective office.
Legal Opinion 2015-001
Qualifications to be a City Council member.
Legal Opinion 2014-032
Choice of assessable area as special improvement district manner of assessing
special improvement district costs.
Legal Opinion 2014-031
Protestants to propose special district improvement district shall have the statutory right to withdraw protest or protests at any time before final action thereon by the City Council.
Legal Opinion 2014-030
City Council conclusively determines benefit with respect to creation of special
improvement districts and what properties to include within the boundaries of the
special improvement district absent proof of mistake or fraud that precludes
exercise of sound judgment.
Legal Opinion 2014-029
Montana state law requires that every local government contract or subcontract
for construction of public buildings or other public works or for goods or services
must contain provisions that all hiring must be on the basis of merit and qualifications as well as a nondiscrimination provision.
Legal Opinion 2014-028
Montana municipalities may require municipal annexation of real property receiving municipal sanitary sewer service.
Legal Opinion 2014-027
Public Works contracts for construction or non-construction services that potentially cost in excess of $25,000.00 must include a copy of current standard
prevailing wages in both the bid specifications as well as in the Construction
Legal Opinion 2014-026
City Ordinance Restrictions for Bow and Arrow Shooting, Firing, or other Discharge within the City Limits.
Legal Opinion 2014-025
Use of Public Land Contrary to Local Zoning Regulations by a Public Agency
Requires a Public Hearing before the Zoning Board of Adjustment. However, the Zoning Board of Adjustment has no Power to Deny the Proposed Use.
Legal Opinion 2014-024
Expenditure of development impact fees must be reasonably related to the benefits accruing to the development paying the impact fees.
Legal Opinion 2014-023
Any committee or subcommittee appointed by a City Council must abide by Montana’s right to know and public participation open meeting constitutional provisions and state laws.
Legal Opinion 2014-022
Potential Determination of Vacancy in Municipal Office Pursuant to Section 7-4-4111 MCA, if an Incumbent is Absent from City Continuously for Ten (10) Days
without Consent of City Council.
Legal Opinion 2014-021
Limited Statutory Grounds for Recall of Public Officers Pursuant to Montana
Legal Opinion 2014-020
Montana state law generally denies Montana self-government local governments the power to prohibit or penalize vagrancy.
Legal Opinion 2014-019
Montana laws prohibit local ordinances from making it a crime for a person to be a vagrant, a common drunkard, or intoxicated as one of the elements of a criminal offense giving rise to a criminal penalty.
Legal Opinion 2014-018
Montana state law regarding criminal law failure of disorderly persons to
Legal Opinion 2014-017
Confidentiality of information obtained from any individual under Montana Unemployment Insurance law and criminal penalties for violating confidentiality law.
Legal Opinion 2014-016
City created Municipal Parking Commission powers pursuant to Montana State Law.
Legal Opinion 2014-015
Employer may pay sheltered workshop individuals less than prevailing wages if sheltered workshop is compliant with Subsection 18-2-403(5), MCA pursuant to statutory special purchasing conditions for purchasing services from vocational rehabilitation supervised work programs.
Legal Opinion 2014-014
Municipal oaths of office are to support, protect and defend the United States and Montana Constitutions and perform duties with fidelity. Only qualified electors
entitled to vote for the specific elected official may vote to recall an elected official for allegedly violating their oath of office.
Legal Opinion 2014-013
Statutory special purchasing conditions for purchasing services from vocational rehabilitation supervised work programs.
Legal Opinion 2014-012
Mayoral authority to veto all or part of a City Council ordinance or resolution prior to the next regular City Council meeting after the ordinance or resolution is adopted.
Legal Opinion 2014-011
Montana’s Disaster and Emergency Services laws authorize municipal governments to levy up to 2 mills per year for addressing disasters or emergencies, including snowstorms that is in addition to the general statutory maximum number of mills allowed to be levied.
Legal Opinion 2014-010
Constitutional challenges to ordinances/laws “as applied” different from “facial challenges” of unconstitutionality to ordinances.
Legal Opinion 2014-009
City waiver or failure to require performance, labor and material bonds for building or construction projects means the City could be liable to persons intended to be protected by such bonds to the full extent and for the full amount of the contracted debts of any subcontractor or contractor on the building or construction project.
Legal Opinion 2014-008
Montana state law prohibits pedestrians from standing on a highway width or publicly maintained right-of-way for the purposes of soliciting contributions from occupants of vehicles.
Legal Opinion 2014-007
Primary Montana state legislative prohibitions, restrictions and limitations on Montana local government powers.
Legal Opinion 2014-006
Montana state legislative prohibitions on Montana local government’s power to tax, except when such power is specifically authorized to or specifically delegated to municipal local government by Montana state legislature.
Legal Opinion 2014-005
The Montana Supreme Court indicated Montana’s 1987 “Wrongful Discharge
from Employment Act” effectively eliminated, superseded, and impliedly repealed Montana’s former “Termination at Will” statute which statute was then
subsequently repealed in 2001
Legal Opinion 2014-004
Public employees may not use public time, facilities, equipment, supplies, personnel, or funds for private business purposes.
Legal Opinion 2014-003
Montana Constitutional rights and statutory rights of public to both participate in operation of government and to observe the deliberations of public bodies at
public meetings that shall be conducted openly, unless privacy clearly exceeds merits of public disclosure.
Legal Opinion 2014-002
Pursuant to Montana collective bargaining laws municipal firefighter and police collective bargaining may be determined pursuant to binding arbitration that does not require City Council approval.
Legal Opinion 2014-001
City Council votes requiring either a majority of the total number of actual city council members or an extraordinary majority vote of city council members in order for a proposed action to be adopted.
Legal Opinion 2013-026
Limited power of Montana Municipalities to prohibit or penalize vagrancy by ordinance.
Legal Opinion 2013-025
Municipal Housing Authority Commissioners may not also be City Officials.
Legal Opinion 2013-024
Montana State Law statutory protections for irrigation districts that create both non-duties as well as non-liabilities for irrigation districts.
Legal Opinion 2013-023
Committees and Subcommittees of public entity meeting to conduct the people’s business shall perform their actions and deliberations openly in public meetings.
Legal Opinion 2013-022
Commencement of elected terms of office for newly elected City of Missoula Municipal Public Officials will be Monday, January 6, 2014.
Legal Opinion 2013-021
Community Residential facilities statutorily defined as including group homes for disabled, youth foster homes, kinship foster homes, youth shelter care facilities, transitional living programs and youth group homes, halfway houses, licensed adult family care home, and license assisted living facilities are residential land uses allowed in any residential area in the State of Montana including zones for single family dwellings.
Legal Opinion 2013-020
Retroactive laws may be legal in some instances; but always must declare their retro-activeness.
Legal Opinion 2013-019
Confusion of Legislative Applicability Date Provision with Legislative Effective Date Provision.
Legal Opinion 2013-018
Definition of the term “Immediate Family” for City Cemetery purposes.
Legal Opinion 2013-017
Organizations or agencies supported in whole or in part by public funds or expending public funds must be open to the public at least as those meetings pertain to the receipt and expenditure of public monies.
Legal Opinion 2013-016
Public utility right to continue to maintain public utility already located within a dedicated public street or alley to be vacated.
Legal Opinion 2013-015
Montana Municipalities’ lack of power to make non-wearing of a seatbelt a primary offense.
Legal Opinion 2013-014
City Council option of scheduling municipal primary election by passing a resolution not more than 10 days after the close of filing when number of candidates for municipal election do not meet certain statutory minimum thresholds for filing by candidates.
Legal Opinion 2013-013
Pursuant to Montana state traffic regulation laws bicycles are vehicles that when parked within public rights-of-way including at bicycle racks located within
public sidewalks, as well as on public property are subject to the 120 hour/five (5) day parking regulation set forth in Section 61-8-356 Montana Code Annotated.
Legal Opinion 2013-012
Neighborhood councils and community forum required public meetings, public participation, and public decision making.
Legal Opinion 2013-011
Legal zoning nonconforming land uses are not illegal land uses.
Legal Opinion 2013-010
Mayor as Chief Executive Officer of City of Missoula executes all documents on behalf of the City of Missoula.
Legal Opinion 2013-009
2013 Montana State Legislative significant substantive procedural revisions to Montana Special District laws.
Legal Opinion 2013-008
Montana Municipalities may require municipal annexation of property receiving Municipal Sanitary Sewer Service. Petition method of Municipal Annexation may be utilized.
Legal Opinion 2013-007
While a majority of City Council Members present and voting generally may adopt an ordinance, two-thirds of entire City Council must approve general emergency ordinances.
Legal Opinion 2013-006
State v. Stewart zoning decision pertained to a homeowner violating a Missoula County low density resident single family zoning district classification with a triplex
Legal Opinion 2013-005
Factors to consider when evaluating legality of spot zoning.
Legal Opinion 2013-004
Property owner municipal zoning protests that trigger requirement of
extraordinary majority vote of City Council to adopt the municipal zoning proposal.
Legal Opinion 2013-003
A property owner may in writing withdraw a previously filed zoning protest at any time prior to final action on the zoning regulation amendment by the governing body.
Legal Opinion 2013-002
City residency requirements for City Employees.
Legal Opinion 2013-001
Pursuant to Missoula Municipal Code, barbed wire fences are only allowed as
security fencing for commercial, industrial, or public lands, to secure livestock for
agricultural purposes or to protect vegetation from wildlife.
Legal Opinion 2012-024
Pursuant to the Montana Constitution and State Law, deliberations of public bodies must be conducted openly and the public must be provided the ability to observe the deliberations of a public body.
Legal Opinion 2012-023
Legal authority for municipalities for public safety purposes to prevent carrying of concealed or unconcealed weapons in publicly owned buildings and parks under the municipality’s jurisdiction.
Legal Opinion 2012-022
Montana Subdivision and Platting Act Section 76-3-204, MCA subdivision review exemption, with respect to a building, structure, or improvement, potentially not applicable to mobile units that are not permanent additions to land.
Legal Opinion 2012-021
Legislative Body Member personal liability immunity pursuant to Legislative Immunity for Legislative Acts such as adoption of laws (ordinances) during Legislative Meetings.
Legal Opinion 2012-020
Freeholder requirements as qualifications for holding City Office are unconstitutional pursuant to both equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article II, Section Four of the Montana Constitution.
Legal Opinion 2012-019
Factual circumstances that generate a requirement for supermajority City Council
Member vote to approve a zoning regulation, restriction, and boundary
amendment, supplement, change, modification, or repeal
Legal Opinion 2012-018
Limitations on potential gifts to public servants/ public employees.
Legal Opinion 2012-017
Adjacent property owners to remove snow and ice from public sidewalks adjacent to their property.
Legal Opinion 2012-016
City council ward boundary reapportionment review necessary for 2013 City Council Municipal elections prior to candidate filing occurring.
Legal Opinion 2012-015
Legal ability to withdraw petition signatures prior to a final decision being made
Legal Opinion 2012-014
Montana Recall Act grounds for recalling elected government officials.
Legal Opinion 2012-013
Procedure for establishing residential on-street parking permit districts pursuant to
Missoula Municipal Code Sections 10.22.250 through 10.22.290 MMC.
Legal Opinion 2012-012
Sole Source Provider Contract with Missoula Correctional Services - Missoula Municipal Court.
Legal Opinion 2012-011
Not legal pursuant to public citizen right to participate and right to know for
public bodies, boards, commissions, bureaus, committees, subcommittees, and
agencies to conduct votes of approval by email.
Legal Opinion 2012-010
Montana Law requires that deliberations of public bodies and public agencies be conducted openly pursuant to the public’s right to observe deliberations of public bodies and public agencies.
Legal Opinion 2012-009
Potential creation of accessory apartments or accessible dwelling units in single family homes in single family zoning districts pursuant to zoning regulations that require at least one of the dwelling units to be owner occupied
Legal Opinion 2012-008
Municipal Government limited time, place, manner regulations for political
Legal Opinion 2012-007
Montana State Law Political Activity restrictions on public officers and employees while at work and prohibitions on use of public work time, public facilities equipment, supplies, personnel or funds for political activity purposes
Legal Opinion 2012-006
Legality of time, place, or manner restrictions or limitations applicable to
petition signature gatherers at temporarily permitted events occurring on public
Legal Opinion 2012-005
Vested rights related to land development projects involving multiple buildings
in identical ownership on same lot(s), parcel(s)and tract(s)
Legal Opinion 2012-004
General land use Planning Board advisory role to governing body through proposals, recommendations, and advice.
Legal Opinion 2012-003
Generally, committee, commission, or board-appointed public officers or officials hold over as de facto hold-overs when no successor is qualified and timely, legally appointed in order to assure continuation of public government functions.
Legal Opinion 2012-002
The Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution generally prevents local government regulation of railroads, except as authorized by law.
Legal Opinion 2012-001
City Council votes requiring either a majority of the total number of actual city council members or an extraordinary majority vote of city council members in order for a proposed action to be adopted.
Legal Opinion 2011-028
Public officers or public employees may not use public time, facilities, equipment, supplies, personnell, or funds for political activity purposes.
Legal Opinion 2011-027
Land uses permitted in flood plains and flood ways pursuant to Montana state law
Legal Opinion 2011-026
Montana criminal law provides that a person commits the criminal offense of disorderly conduct if the person knowingly disturbs the peace by disturbing or disrupting any public meeting.
Legal Opinion 2011-025
A majority of the entire City Council is required to elect a municipal officer to fill a vacancy in a City elected office.
Legal Opinion 2011-024
Public sidewalks, curbs, and gutters should be included within construction, reconstruction, maintenance, and repair of public streets that may be funded with local-option motor-fuel excise tax revenues.
Legal Opinion 2011-023
Local government powers must be exercised consistently with state law or state administrative regulation in areas affirmatively subjected to state-regulation or control.
Legal Opinion 2011-022
Statutorily authorized voter elections for local option county-wide motor-fuel excise tax up to 2 cents per gallon.
Legal Opinion 2011-021
Municipal officials elected at municipal elections commence terms on the first Monday in January after election. Oaths of office must be filed with the county election administrator.
Legal Opinion 2011-020
City Council resolutions are legislative acts. City council resolutions make statements of policy.
Legal Opinion 2011-019
Laws applicable to City Council filling vacant municipal court judgeship
Legal Opinion 2011-018
Political activity restrictions on public officers and employees while at work.
Legal Opinion 2011-017
Legal Opinion 2011-016
Municipal elected officials control of conflict of interest pursuant to Montana state law
Legal Opinion 2011-015
Municipal city council power to authorize contracts, including escrow agreements, binding on successor city councils
Legal Opinion 2011-014
Mayoral appointments to City Zoning Board of Adjustment
Legal Opinion 2011-013
City council rules allow city council committees to conduct business without a quorum as long as any report or recommendation notes that a quorum was not present
Legal Opinion 2011-012
Easements are interests in land that can only be disposed of by a 2/3 vote of approval by the entire City Council
Legal Opinion 2011-011
A current rezoning request for 1500 39th St. involves rezoning property from zoning classifications RM1-35 and RT2.7 to B1-1 and RM1.5. The current separate zoning classifications will not have the same boundaries pursuant to the proposed zoning classifications.
Legal Opinion 2011-010
Two-thirds of the entire City Council must approve general emergency ordinances.
Legal Opinion 2011-009
Mont. Code Ann. § 2-18-704(5) provides retirees shall pay full premium for continued group health insurance coverage
Legal Opinion 2011-008
All city government boards, committees and commissions are required to adhere to Montana’s right to know and public participation open meeting laws by providing advance public notice of meeting agendas setting forth items to be discussed and voted on
Legal Opinion 2011-007
Reasonable fees up to $200 per application may be charged for subdivision exemption application reviews
Legal Opinion 2011-006
Group homes/community residential facilities are statutorily authorized in any residential area in Montana if established in compliance with applicable Montana statutes
Legal Opinion 2011-005
Inappropriate for City Elected Officials to Testify on Specific Land Use Project Proposals at Planning Board when Land Use Project is Going to City Council Public Hearing
Legal Opinion 2011-004
Guided tours to advisory board members or city elected officials by opponents to rezoning violates appearance of fairness doctrine with respect to land use decision making
Legal Opinion 2011-003
Missoula City Charter and Montana law require City council ward populations for City elections be maintained as nearly equal in population as practically possible
Legal Opinion 2011-002
Validity of "spot" or "island" zoning depends on the factual circumstances reviewed in each instance
Legal Opinion 2011-001
A city employee may not simultaneously serve as a city council member pursuant to the legal doctrine of incompatible offices
Legal Opinion 2010-017
Montana law and City of Missoula provisions for filling a vacancy in an elective office
Legal Opinion 2010-016
Qualifications to be a City Council member
Legal Opinion 2010-015
Generally the city may prohibit the carrying of concealed weapons to a public assembly, public building, public park under its jurisdiction, or school
Legal Opinion 2010-014
Montana state law pertaining to operating a bicycle on public sidewalks
Legal Opinion 2010-013
Montana laws pertaining to public employees’ health insurance
Legal Opinion 2010-012
Montana state law pertaining to disposal or lease of municipal property must occur pursuant to adoption of either city council ordinance or resolution approved by two-thirds of all city council members
Legal Opinion 2010-011
Municipal sanitary sewer fees may legally be charged to unconnected property owners
Legal Opinion 2010-010
General emergency ordinances of Montana municipal governments
Legal Opinion 2010-009
All city government boards, committees and commissions as well as any subcommittees must abide by Montana’s right to know and public participation open meeting constitutional provisions and state statutes
Legal Opinion 2010-008
Questions concerning proposed anti-discrimination ordinance
Legal Opinion 2010-007
City government boards, committees and commissions are required to conduct deliberations in public pursuant to Montana’s right to know and public participation open meeting constitutional statutes
Legal Opinion 2010-006
Disposal and Lease of Municipal Property Pursuant to Montana State Laws
Legal Opinion 2010-005
Statutory Grounds for Recall of Municipal Elected Officials Pursuant to Montana
Legal Opinion 2010-004
Statutory Limits on Maximum Fines Imposed by Municipalities for City
Legal Opinion 2010-003
Statutory, ordinance or city council rule provisions requiring a vote of approval by a majority of the city council membership requires that a majority of the actual existing city council membership must vote to approve the city council action for the vote to be successful
Legal Opinion 2010-002
De facto holdover appointed public officers or officials when no successor is qualified and timely legally appointed in order to assure continuation of public government functions
Legal Opinion 2010-001
City Council votes requiring at least a majority of the total number of actual city council members or an extraordinary majority vote of city council members in order for a proposed action to be adopted
Legal Opinion 2009-021
Public Right to Observe Public Body Deliberations unless Chair Determines an Individual Privacy Right Outweighs Public Right to Know
Legal Opinion 2009-020
Section 2-3-103 MCA Public Comment at Government Agency Meetings on Non-Agenda Items are Identified to be for Public Matters within the Jurisdiction of the Agency
Legal Opinion 2009-019
Violation of Appearance of Fairness Doctrine with Respect to Land Use Zoning and/or Subdivision Applications Based on Evidence of City Elected Official Pre-Public Hearing Bias or Prejudice Could Disqualify a City Elected Official’s Participation
Legal Opinion 2009-018
Municipal Government Employee Promotions are to be Based on Merit and Qualifications without regard to Several Statutorily Identified Potentially Discriminatory Factors
Legal Opinion 2009-017
Montana Municipal Law and City of Missoula Self-Government Charter do not Require City Council Approval of Firefighter Promotions
Legal Opinion 2009-016
Montana State Statutory Limitations on Local Municipal Government Power to Address Various Conduct of Homeless Street People such as Montana Laws Prohibiting Local Ordinances Making it a Crime for a Person to be a Vagrant, a Common Drunkard, Intoxicated, or Drinking as One of the Elements of the Offense Giving Rise to a Criminal Penalty.
Legal Opinion 2009-015
Municipal Sanitary Sewage Collection Facilities are Capital Expenditures Serving and Benefit Public Health of Entire Community whether or not Structures Proximate to Sanitary Sewer Main are connected. Unconnected Property Owners whose Proximate Structures are not Connected, may Legally be Obligated to Pay Sanitary Sewer Assessments since they Receive a Benefit from the Establishment of the Sanitary Sewer System.
Legal Opinion 2009-014
Municipal sanitary sewer rates shall be uniform for like services in all parts of the municipality
Legal Opinion 2009-013
Three Court Cases from other States indicate that Significant Substantive Revisions to Permitted uses within a Zoning District could Require a Rezoning Process
Legal Opinion 2009-012
City Council Adopted Ordinance Provisions Segregating Amendments to Zoning General Regulations and Amendments to Zoning Designations
Legal Opinion 2009-011
With respect to use of an adopted growth policy, a 2003 Montana State Legislature amendment provides that a growth policy is not a regulatory document
Legal Opinion 2009-010
With respect to use of an adopted growth policy, a 2003 Montana State Legislature amendment provides that a growth policy is not a regulatory document
Legal Opinion 2009-009
City County Planning Board may serve as Advisory Zoning Commission
Legal Opinion 2009-008
Municipal Annexation is not a taking of Property for just Compensation Purposes
Legal Opinion 2009-007
There is no existing Montana municipal zoning statute or case law that requires a City Council to enter written findings in support of municipal zoning decisions
Legal Opinion 2009-006
Property owners’ legal ability to Petition to have their land annexed into a Municipality
Legal Opinion 2009-005
Montana Subdivision and Platting Act Impact on Agriculture Provisions
Legal Opinion 2009-004
Montana Municipal Statutes pertaining to Mayoral veto procedure
Legal Opinion 2009-003
Missoula City Charter and Montana state law provide that City council ward populations be maintained as nearly equal in population as practically possible
Legal Opinion 2009-002
Replacement of Existing Residential Structure on a Lot Area Zoning Regulation Substandard Parcel of Land
Legal Opinion 2009-001
Potential Facts Negating Any Presumed Intent to Abandon Nonconforming Use of Land
Legal Opinion 2008-018
Municipal Government General Emergency Ordinance Statutes
Legal Opinion 2008-017
Reports, Recommendations and Amendments During Fiscal Year
Legal Opinion 2008-016
Establishing speed limits inside the city limits
Legal Opinion 2008-015
Non public record ex parte communications, meetings, or discussions should be avoided by City Council and Mayor with respect to specific subdivision and/or zoning land use projects
Legal Opinion 2008-014
City Council denial of a subdivision application proposal triggers a statutory requirement that City Council shall prepare a written statement both identifying subdivision regulations and statutes used to reach the decision to deny the subdivision as well as providing the facts and conclusions the governing body relied upon in making its decision to deny
Legal Opinion 2008-013
City’s extraterritorial health powers
Legal Opinion 2008-012
Each statutory method of municipal annexation is a separate and independent method of municipal annexation and the City may determine which statutory method of annexation to utilize
Legal Opinion 2008-011
Circumstances requiring favorable extraordinary majority City Council vote pursuant to Montana's municipal zoning protest statute in order to adopt zoning
Legal Opinion 2008-010
A person may in writing withdraw a previously filed protest at any time prior to final action by the governing body
Legal Opinion 2008-009(2)
Political activity restrictions on public officers and employees while at work
Legal Opinion 2008-009
Panhandling issues somewhat affected by Montana laws prohibiting local ordinances making it a crime for a person to be a vagrant, a common drunkard, intoxicated, or drinking as one of the elements of the offense giving rise to a criminal penalty
Legal Opinion 2008-008
Subsequent subdivision public hearings for consideration of information that is new, relevant, and credible
Legal Opinion 2008-007
Established fees for examination of subdivision exemption applications
Legal Opinion 2008-006
Missoula Parking Commission membership
Legal Opinion 2008-005
Montana statutory restrictions on political activity of public officers and employees with respect to ballot issues and/or political candidates
Legal Opinion 2008-004
Court-recognized property owner right to rebuttable presumption of zoning ordinance provisions discontinuing or abandoning nonconforming uses as well as continuous vested land use rights application to nonconforming uses pursuant to Kensmoe v. City of Missoula (1971) to existing decades old continuous land use for which a replacement building is desired
Legal Opinion 2008-003
Existing residence on zoning regulation nonconforming 6,112 sq. ft. lot may be replaced
Legal Opinion 2008-002
When zoning regulations directly incorporate provisions of a neighborhood land use plan into zoning regulations provisions, the incorporated neighborhood plan provisions will have zoning regulation effect
Legal Opinion 2008-001
City Council votes statutorily requiring at least a majority of the whole number of total City Council members or an extraordinary vote of the City Council in order for a proposed action to be adopted
Legal Opinion 2007-025
Zoning compliance permits for unzoned lands pursuant to City Council adopted regulations
Legal Opinion 2007-024
Montana's municipal zoning protests that require two-thirds of City Council members present and voting to override protest
Legal Opinion 2007-023
Statutory Park Dedication Requirements Within Montana Subdivision and Platting Act
Legal Opinion 2007-022
Use of adopted growth policy pursuant to Montana law
Legal Opinion 2007-021
A government board, commission, authority, or committee may not take action during their respective meetings on items arising out of public comment for which specific notice of the matter is not included on the entity’s agenda for that meeting
Legal Opinion 2007-020
Potential religious discrimination law violations if City I-1 industrial zoning district permits numerous uses involving assembly of people but prohibits church service assembly
Legal Opinion 2007-019
Transfer of ownership of municipal property pursuant to sale, other disposal or lease must occur pursuant to adoption of either City Council ordinance or resolution approved by two-thirds of all City Council members
Legal Opinion 2007-018
Montana statutory protection of shooting range locations and investments
Legal Opinion 2007-017
Substantive deliberations about agenda items by electronic communications between city council members during city council meetings