(1) After providing notice of new real estate projects pursuant to ARM 36.25.909, the department shall allow conservation entities 60 days in which to propose a conservation use of those lands by issuing a letter of intent to the department. By such a letter of intent, an entity may seek to secure for conservation uses any tract or portion of a tract proposed by the project identification team for a residential, industrial, or commercial use.
(2) A conservation entity submitting a letter of conservation intent during the 60 days has an additional 45 days in which to apply to the department for a lease, license, easement, or other approved legal instrument to secure conservation use, as approved by the department. The 45 days begin on the day following the last day of the 60-day period. An entity applying within the 45-day period has 12 months to secure conservation use. The department may extend the 12 month period.
(a) Issuance of a conservation lease, license, or easement shall be made pursuant to Article X, section 11 of the Montana Constitution. The department reserves the right to approve or deny a proposal for a conservation use.
(b) The department may require bonding, letter of credit, or nonrefundable deposit as part of the application for a conservation use.
(3) Any real estate project on the project management list may proceed forward if:
(a) the department receives no letter of intent within the 60-day period;
(b) a conservation entity submits a letter of intent within the 60 days but fails to apply to the department within the subsequent 45 days; or
(c) a conservation entity submits a letter of intent and application within the applicable periods but fails to secure conservation use on the subject property within 12 months, unless the department has granted an extension.