The citizens of Chouteau County have a long history of implementing good planning processes and looking ahead and preparing for the future. As early as the late 60s and early 70s documents were produced visioning growth, development, and recreation in the County. In 1976 public meetings were held in the county to create a vision for the future. There was then a public comment period and questionnaires were eventually sent out to all registered voters. This was an ongoing process between 1976 and 1985 that culminated in the adoption of the first comprehensive plan and development regulations in 1985. The development regulations were created in response to a concern that the Wild & Scenic designation on the Missouri River (in 1976) would lead to excessive tourism and result in rapid development along the river. These concerns were reinforced when the Wild and Scenic River was designated as a National Monument in 2001 with predictions that millions of tourists would visit the area for the Lewis and Clark bicentennial.
The Chouteau County Development Regulation requires a development permit for any subdivision of land into parcels less than 160 acres and for any new construction or changes in land use (with an exception for agricultural landowners). The regulations include several requirements for permit approval. For example, developments next to agricultural lands have several requirements meant to protect the agricultural land uses and prevent any nuisance problems. Landowners developing adjacent to agricultural lands are required to sign a deed restriction that commits present and future landowners to build and maintain fences that keep out livestock, waive their right to file nuisance suits against agricultural operations, confine all dogs to the premises, and prevent the dispersion of noxious weeds, liter, and hazardous materials. Furthermore, new growth is encouraged to be compatible with the County’s rural/agricultural character and to locate near existing communities. Only 2 non-agricultural dwelling units are allowed per 40 acres outside of the service areas of existing communities.
Rivers and streams in the County are protected through another requirement
that establishes setbacks of 3 miles from the high water mark of the Missouri River between Coal Banks Landing Recreation Area and the eastern County line for any development that is visible from any point between the high water marks of the river. Between the Fort Benton City planning area and the Coal Banks Landing Recreation Area, structures must be set back 400 feet from the high water mark, all lots fronting the river must have at least 400 feet of river frontage, residential densities may not exceed 1 unit per 8 acres, any individual development or subdivision may not exceed 20 units, and mobile home may not be more than 5 years old at time of placement on the lot.
To read the regulations as written or to download and save a copy follow this link:
County Development Regulation.
To view the Chouteau county Growth Policy revised in 2017, follow this link:
Chouteau County Growth
To view the Chouteau County Subdivision Regulations please follow
this link: Chouteau County
To download a copy of the Chouteau County
Development Permit, please follow this link:
County Development Permit.