County releases criteria for ZBOA seat and is accepting applications

Cascade County Commissioners will begin accepting applications to fill one vacancy on the Zoning Board of Adjustments.

Due to the ZBOA’s anticipated role in rendering a decision on the Madison Food Park proposal, commissioners asked the County Attorney’s Office to develop application criteria to avoid bias and any perceived conflict of interest.

Short declines ZBOA appointment, creating a new vacancy

The requirements are:

  • Applicants must submit a signed, notarized statement attesting they have not publicly commented, stated a position or offered an opinion regarding the Madison Food Park special use permit application(s). For purposes of the application, “publicly commented, stated a position or offered an opinion” includes expression to citizen groups, including but not limited to doing so through electronic and social media forums.
  • Applicants must submit a written statement describing why they are interested in serving on the ZBOA.
  • Applicants must be resident freeholders in the county’s zoning jurisdiction. Specifically, individuals must own and reside on property outside of incorporated towns (Belt, Cascade, Neihart) and cities (Great Falls).
  • In the interest of retaining a clearly unbiased and impartial ZBOA process regarding the anticipated deliberations/decision on the Madison Food Park, for this ZBOA vacancy interested applicants may not reside or own real property which is located within a seven mile radius of the proposed project site.

The ZBOA consists of five members who are appointed by the County Commission for a three-year term and serve without compensation.

Under state law, the ZBOA has exclusive power and authority to independently hear and decide zoning appeals and applications for zoning variances and special use permits.

“It is critically important that members appointed to the ZBOA can clearly serve as impartial and unbiased decision makers,” Commissioner Jane Weber said in a release. “Having a very specific process for this selection will eliminate unqualified applicants from applying.”

Applications for the one vacancy on the ZBOA are available on-line at or can be picked up at the County Commission office. Applications must be hand-delivered to the Cascade County Commission office in the Courthouse Annex at 325 2nd Ave. N. by 5 p.m. on March 5.

County Commission makes appointments to zoning, planning boards

Commissioners anticipate making this appointment at their regularly scheduled meeting at 9:30 a.m. on March 13.

County board appointments coming next week, including planning, zoning

In January, commissioners made appointments to the ZBOA after ruling out applicants who had made public comments about the proposed slaughterhouse.

Shortly after making those appointments, one of the selections declined his appointment after evidence surfaced that he had in fact made public comments about the Madison Food Park.

County planning, zoning board appointments pushed to Jan. 9

Commissioners then instructed the County Attorney’s Office to develop criteria for applicants for the remaining ZBOA vacancy.

For additional information about the ZBOA appointment, contact the County Attorney’s Office at 454-6915 and ask for Deputy County Attorney Carey Ann Haight. For information about the status of the Madison Food Park Special Use Application, contact the Cascade County Planning Office at 454-6905.