Lawsuit over Zoning Board Adjustments criteria has been dismissed

Posted at 11:35 AM, Sep 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-28 17:38:49-04

GREAT FALLS – The lawsuit filed against Cascade County over the Zoning Board of Adjustments has been dismissed.

District Judge Olivia Rieger states in her order that actions cannot be taken on a situation the county has already fixed.

Ryan Villines filed the complaint in March due to the requirements commissioners put on residents who wanted to apply to be on the board.

In April, commissioners removed all the requirements and attorney Mark Higgins asked for the injunction to be dismissed.

The order also states that Villines failed to show a pattern by the commissioners regarding his complaints.

(JUNE 12, 2018) Cascade County Commissioners have selected Michele Levine to fill the open seat on the Zoning Board of Adjustments. The commissioners voted unanimously for Levine. There were 16 candidates for the position.

The commissioners made their decision based on thoroughness of applications, experience, and educational background. Levine, an attorney in Great Falls, was employed as a land use planner with another county and she also served in the Montana House of Representatives.

Before they made their decision, Commissioner Jane Weber explained that the ZBOA is an independent decision-making body. “They actually work directly with our planning staff here in Cascade County. They receive packets of materials from the planning staff. We do not review those packets of materials, they go directly to the ZBOA group. They actually deliberate on the materials that are before them and then a decision is made. Their decision box is related to zoning,” Weber said.

Levine will serve on the board through December of 2019.

Reporting by Margaret DeMarco for MTN News