Levine appointed to Cascade County Zoning Board of Adjustment
The Cascade County Zoning Board of Adjustment has a full roster after a tumultuous six month process.
During Tuesday morning’s meeting, the County Commission voted unanimously to appoint Michele Levine to the vacant seat on the board.
The application period closed last week and the county received 16 applications for the vacancy.
During the meeting, Commissioner Jane Weber asked her fellow commissioners if they could identify their top five candidates to narrow the discussion. Commissioner Joe Briggs said he’d like to see if they could find commonality within their top three candidates.
Weber said in evaluating the applications, she looked for thoroughness and details, previous board experience especially in planning or zoning; and experience in dealing with complex regulations.
All three commissioners listed Levine and Tony Lucas in their top three.
Levine was a land use planner in Missoula from 2006-2009, according to her application, and state legislator from 2007-2012. She was a member of the state Board of Environmental Review from 2016-2017 and is an attorney in Great Falls with a masters in environmental studies.
Lucas is the chief of environmental compliance at Malmstrom Air Force Base and a former assistant city attorney for the City of Great Falls.
“I just think her background is excellent,” Weber said of Levine. “I feel really good about her.”
Commissioner Jim Larson said, “I can’t disagree with that.”
Briggs said his preference would be Lucas since he lives outside the city of Great Falls and within the jurisdiction of the county planning division.
Larson said he agreed with that, but since the commission had removed all their criteria from an earlier round of applications, he was fine with city residency.
There was no additional staff comment or public comment on the appointment.
Levine’s appointment runs through December 2019.
The ZBOA has met four times already this year.
The current members are Bill Austin, Leonard Reed, Rob Skawinski and Charles Keuther. The terms for Austin, Reed and Skawinski expire on Dec. 31, 2018.
Keuther was appointed in January. Trent Short had been appointed at the same time, but shortly thereafter declined the appointment since it was discovered he had made public comments on the proposed Madison Food Park project.
The county then issued criteria for the applicants to the ZBOA, including a requirement that they live outside a 7-mile radius outside of the proposed MFP.
That criteria was developed by the county’s chief civil attorney Carey Ann Haight and commissioners never formally voted to adopt the criteria.
In April, commissioners voted to remove all criteria and readvertise the vacancy.