Building a Home in Morton County

Are you planning to build a home in Morton County? Whether you're ready to apply for a building permit or just considering moving to rural Morton County, there is a lot of information you should be aware of. It is helpful to understand all the steps in the process before you even begin. Below is a brief outline of the steps involved. Please also review the Rural Development Guide and Rural Living Handbook at the bottom of this page.


1) Check with the Planning and Zoning Department (701) 667-3361 to ensure that your property is entitled for construction of a residence. Some properties happen to be non-conforming and must go through a subdivision process before they are eligible to obtain a building permit to construct a home. 

**Note that many lenders will not originate a mortgage on a property greater than 10 acres. Even if you own a lot that is eligible for a building permit, you may still have to subdivide a smaller lot. Inquire with your lender before you get too far along in your building plans.  


2) Check with the utility companies to determine if your property lies in an area that they can extend service to. In addition, ask for a summary of all the costs involved to extend services to the proposed property before you purchase the property or start developing building plans. Most often, these costs will be thousands of dollars.

Missouri West Water: (701) 663-8549

Southwest Water: (701) 225-0241

Mor Gran Sou/Electric: (701) 663-0297


3) If you already have a conforming lot, or if you have completed the subdivision process, the next step is to obtain an approach permit/911 address from the Morton County Highway Department. (701) 667-3346.



4) Obtain a septic permit from Western Plains Public Health. (701) 667-3370. You will need the 911 address in order to apply for a septic permit.


5) Obtain a building permit from the Tax Equalization Department. (701) 667-3325. Located at the Morton County Courthouse. You must have the approach permit and septic permit in hand before you will be eligible to apply for a building permit.


Subdividing a Lot


If you own a non-conforming lot or if you are looking to divide a small lot from larger acreage, you will be required to legally subdivide that piece of property before you can move forward toward constructing a home. Below are the steps involved in the subdivision process for a single lot. 


A) Consult with the Planning & Zoning Department (701) 667-3361 to discuss your plan for subdividing a lot. There may be factors such as access, terrain, flood hazard areas, or other concerns that you may not have thought about when you were selecting a location to build. 


B) Once you have consulted with the Planning & Zoning Department and have a plan for the location, size and configuration of your lot, hire a surveyor to complete a short-form subdivision plat. Most local surveyors are familiar with the Morton County Planning and Zoning Department and will send the plat to the department on your behalf. But it is always best to discuss with your surveyor, upfront, which parts of the subdivision process your surveyor will manage for you and which parts you will have to manage on your own. 


C) Submit a completed application packet to the Planning & Zoning Department by the submission deadline. There are rolling deadlines throughout the year (one per month), click here for a calendar. A completed application will include: plat checklist, application fee, application form (which includes the signatures of all parties with an ownership interest in the property being subdivided), and plat in .pdf format.


D) A public hearing for the application will be scheduled for the next available Planning & Zoning Commission meeting. Public notices will be sent to all property owners within a half mile of the project location.


E) The application will be reviewed by the Planning & Zoning commission. They will make a recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners.


F) The Board of County Commissioners will review the application at the next available meeting and make a determination. 


G) If the Board of County Commissioners approves the subdivision, the surveyor will print out the plat on Mylar. Check with your surveyor as to whether s/he will collect land owner signatures on the plat and bring the plat to the County Auditor's Office with the recording fee for recording or whether that is something you will be expected to do.


H) Once the plat is recorded, you will be able to apply for an approach permit/911 address at the Morton County Highway Department. See step 3 above.


Morton County Rural Development Guide


Rural Living Handbook