County delays growth policy review by one year
The Cascade County planning board voted during their Feb. 18 meeting to delay a review of the county’s growth policy for a year.
They’ll revisit the issue in January 2021, after the Census is complete and the county has gathered information from other local entities including the city and Malmstrom Air Force Base.
The county reviewed the growth policy last year as part of the 5-year review required by state law and opted not to make changes.
The growth policy itself requires that the county conduct an annual review of the policy.
Planning Board Member Richard Liebert said it was worth reflecting on current realities and address some areas that he believes are missing from the policy, including healthcare and medical marijuana.
Dexter Busby, planning board member, asked to hear staff’s opinion based on public comment.
Sandor Hopkins, interim county planning director, said it was staff’s opinion that the growth policy didn’t need to be updated at this time and would be better done once they have updated data from the Census.
Malmstrom officials have also been discussing the possibility of updating the 2012 Joint Land Use Study and Hopkins said it would be better to wait until those reviews are completed.
A growth policy update can be time consuming and costly and the county planning department is currently half-staffed. Hiring a consultant for the update is not currently in their budget.
The county hasn’t made significant changes to zoning or subdivision regulations in the last year, but proposed changes to the zoning regulations are scheduled to go before the County Commission on April 8.