Public Power, Private Gain: Montana

Legislative Actions


In 2001, the Montana legislature considered a bill that would have allowed private property owners whose property does not connect to public roads to bring condemnation proceedings against adjacent private properties for the opening of private roads over their land. The Montana Supreme Court has limited the right of private condemnation for access roads to cases where the owner’s land is presently being used as a farm or residence.419 House Bill 327, which was introduced in January 2001, would have significantly extended this right to include both non-farming lands and urban properties, including commercial developments. The measure died in committee because it missed the vote deadline and does not carry over into the next legislative session.420


419 See, e.g., Groundwater v. Wright, 588 P.2d 1003 (Mont. 1979).

420 See H.B. 327 (filed as Draft 754), 57th Sess. (Mont. 2001).