County hearing on proposed zoning changes is Feb. 19

The county planning board will hold an initial public hearing on the proposed changes to Cascade County zoning regulations on Feb. 19 at 9 .m. at the Courthouse Annex.

County staff is proposing substantial changes to the current zoning regulations and this will be the first public meeting on the proposed changes.

Staff will present the proposed changes to the planning board during Tuesday’s meeting, but the board is not scheduled to take any action during this meeting.

County proposing changes to zoning regulations

A second planing board public hearing will likely be held in March to further discuss the proposed changes. According to county planning, the March meeting may involve a decision by the planning board.

The proposed changes would then be considered by the County Commission, anticipated by staff to be during an April or May meeting. The commission meeting must be noticed 45 days in advance and allow for public comment on the proposed changes.

If the commission accepts the changes, the commission would pass a resolution of intent to change the zoning regulations, and that would be followed by a 30 day protest period. If certain protest thresholds are met, the commission may not adopt the changes and any further zoning resolution may not be proposed for a year, according to state law.

County planning staff posted the proposed changes to the county website in January, prompting some questions and concerns from residents who were seeking additional information.

Some residents submitted information requests to the county. Some of those residents told The Electric that the county attorney’s office was reviewing their requests.

The Electric asked the same question, got the same response from the county attorney’s office and followed up with county commissioners on questions from residents.

Last week, the county posted additional documents pertaining to their justifications for the proposed changes, other regulations influencing the changes, emails and public comments.

The proposed tracked changes are available here.

The county produced list of proposed changes is here.

The county’s written justification for the proposed changes is here.

Public comments received thus far and posted on the county website are here, here and here.

Various documents posted in response to public information requests are included below:

Written comments are being accepted at the planning office; by U.S. mail to 121 4th St N, STE 2H/I, Great Falls, MT 59401, by email at planningcomments@cascadecountymt.gov, or fax at 406-454-6919. Written comments should include name and address and staff is requesting that residents fill out this form or include it with their comments.