2019 Montana Association of Planners Conference Partners

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About MAP The Montana Association of Planners (MAP) is an association of professional planners, from public and private entities; planning board members and interested citizens. Though most often associated with guiding future land use and development, local planning efforts also include planning for public facilities and service needs, historic preservation, environmental protection, transportation, parks and recreation, and economic development. Planning provides options and tools for communities to achieve their vision of the future. MAP takes no position for or against growth, but rather promotes planning as a positive and proactive way to address change in our communities. Contact us: mtplanners.org@gmail.com

Thursday, Sept. 13

8:00 - 9:15 AM 

Kalispell Core Area Revitalization - “Loving Brownfields” 1.25 CM

Kalispell received a $175,000 Community Brownfields Planning Grant in 2011, one of 23 in the nation, to address revitalization efforts in the downtown core area of Kalispell. The project area is 4 blocks wide, 2 miles long, contains 360 acres, 400 property owners and 1,200 parcels. This is the original 120 year old industrial/commercial core of Kalispell lying immediately north of the traditional downtown. Land use is predominately aging industrial, mixed commercial and relic housing. The defining feature is the Burlington Northern Rail Road which traverses the project area and bisects the city. Removing the tracks (active branch line) from the city has been an issue for 40 years. City staff embarked on an ambitious public involvement process to determine revitalization needs including 135 personal meetings with owners representing 60% of the land area, mailing out 7 newsletters to every property owner, survey work, holding community meetings and a chamber luncheon with 215 attendees paying $18 a head to see the finished plan. A community based steering committee has guided the process. A design team (CTA) helped to create a visual vision of the future which included removing the tracks, developing a linear park through the city, replacing old industrial with new mixed use and developing a new rail industrial park. In 2015 we received a $10 million Tiger Grant. We have negotiated relocation packages for the last 2 rail users - a $14 million relocation package for CHS (grain elevator, fertilizer plant and administration building) and a $750,000 relocation package for Northwest Drywall. We are mid-way through construction of an $11.2 million rail industrial park to house these and other tenants. Completion date is Thanksgiving. We are currently negotiating with BNSF to acquire the rail line and have contracted with ALTA/KLJ to develop a world class linear trail/parkway after the tracks are removed. Trail design kick-off is June 4.


  • Emphasize the value of public involvement in crafting a plan and vision for a neighborhood.

  • Importance of creating a Vision big enough to inspire the community and following up with a funding strategy to match the vision – TIGER and TIF.

  • Identifying key decision makers and emphasize the importance of building relationship and support early:

      • Congressional Delegation – Annual Council trips to DC

      • EPA Brownfields

      • BNSF Railroad, CHS Harvest Grain

      • Flathead County Economic Development Authority

      • Community Organizations

  • The importance of taking advantage of your own community strengths and unique situations to further your project: Using your Brownfields program to fund neighborhood planning and clean up, teaming with the County who had an EDA grant to purchase a rail industrial site, teaming up with BNSF to relocate the rail spur out of Kalispell while at the same time increasing their rail usage by locating the rail industrial park next to rail road owned lands, constructing a rail industrial park in an abandoned former gravel pit next to a state Super Fund site, constructing 1.6 miles of trail/parkway east-west through the former industrial core of Kalispell and integrating this area, ripe for mixed use re-development, into our downtown

Tom Jentz, AICP  City of Kalispell

  • Tom Jentz has served as the Director of the Kalispell Planning, Building and Community Development Department since 2005. From 2001 – 2005 Tom served as the director of the former Tri-City Planning Office serving the cities of Kalispell, Whitefish and Columbia Falls and from 1983 to 2001 he served in various capacities including director of the former Flathead Regional Development Office which provided joint planning services to Flathead County and its three cities. Tom was also the City Planner for Lewiston, Idaho from 1979-1983 and served as the land use planner for a five-county planning office in southeastern North Dakota from 1977-1979. He received a Master's Degree in Community and Regional Planning from North Dakota State University and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). He has a fabulous wife and 3 phenomenal children.

Managing Visitation and Transportation on the Going-to-theSun Road for the Next 100 Years 1.25 CM


Using "scenario planning and adaptive management" to address and manage the challenges of changing visitation levels, use patterns and transportation in a time of uncertainty.

Education Objectives:

  • Scenario Planning versus Traditional Forecasted or Predictive Planning

  • Planning Scenarios at Glacier NP

  • GTSR Corridor Management Plan

Mary Riddle, AICP  Glacier National Park

  • Chief of Planning and Environmental Compliance for Glacier National Park. Mary has been stationed at Glacier since 1995 and led the team that completed the park's General Management Plan. She has worked for the National Park Service for 34 years, starting at North Cascades as a Ranger in Interpretation and Law Enforcement. She spent 11 years working for the Denver Service Center, the planning, design and construction office of the NPS) working on plans, design and construction projects at more than 20 parks across the country from Acadia National Park to Big Cypress National Preserve and Great Smokies National Park to Petroglyph National Monument.

Planning Across Montana: Leading by Change 1.25 CM


The Community Technical Assistance Program (CTAP) is housed at the Montana Department of Commerce’s Community Development Division and is working hard to help communities across the state. There have been many changes at the Community Development Division, all with a goal of providing coordinated, wide-ranging assistance to the communities we live, work, and play in. Attendees will learn about these changes, what CTAP has been working on, and how CTAP can assist with planning efforts in your community.

Galen Steffens  Montana Department of Commerce, Community Development Division

  • Galen Steffens is the Community Planning Program Manager with the Community Development Division of the Montana Department of Commerce. Galen has ten years of community development experience, with the past six years focused on regional, long-range, and current planning. Her experiences have provided her with knowledge of federal, state, and local programs and available resources. Galen strives to help communities work towards their goals in a comprehensive way. Through the collaborative and educational nature of planning, she also aims to help create a healthy space where the public and private sectors dovetail towards a common goal – a thriving local community.

9:30 - 10:45 AM  

Planning Strategies to Promote Resiliency in the Face of Climate Change 1.25 CM


In 2017, the Montana Climate Assessment stated:

“…, it is clear that climate is changing in Montana. There is strong evidence that both temperatures and precipitation will increase in the future. These climate changes have real impacts, ranging from reductions in snowpack and groundwater resources due to the changing timing of precipitation, to declining forest health and more wildfires, to altered crop seasons and greater irrigation demand.”

Source: http://www.montanaclimate.org/ (University of Montana, Montana State University & Montana Institute of Ecosystem)

According to the American Planning Association, Policy Guide on Climate Change,

“The need for both mitigation and adaptation responses to climate change makes planning central to any policy solution. Planners must play a key role in promoting energy efficiency in the existing built environment and changing development patterns, transportation systems, and regulations in ways that reduce GHG emissions, while simultaneously enhancing the resilience of communities to unavoidable climate impacts through adaptative responses such as stormwater management, improved hazards planning, and efficient use of climate-sensitive resources like water.”

Source: https://www.planning.org/policy/guides/adopted/climatechange.htm

This session will include planners and panelist from Montana communities to discuss how they have been incorporating climate related policies into their community plans. Panelist will review how planners have been working with community coalitions to develop climate action plans and other strategies.

Kathleen McMahon, AICP   Applied Communications

  • Applied Communications (Facilitator). Ms. McMahon has a degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois. She has over 35 years of experience as both a public-sector planner and a as planning consultant. She has been consulting with communities in Montana for 20-years to develop growth policies, park plans, trail plans, housing needs assessments and land use regulations. She is a past board member of the Montana Association of Planners, Past Chair of the APA Technology Division and is currently serving on the APA Infrastructure Task Force and APA Smart City Task Force.

Karin Hilding  City of Whitefish

  • City of Whitefish, Public Works Department - Senior Project Engineer. Ms. Hilding has a master’s in engineering and has worked for the City of Whitefish for 20-years. Her responsibilities have included projects related to water, sewer, stormwater, streets, bike and pedestrian improvements, long-term planning, design plan review, construction, inspection and budgeting. She provided staffing to the Whitefish Climate Task Force and oversaw the production of the City of Whitefish Climate Action Plan that was recently adopted in 2018.

Sharon Haugen  City of Helena

  • Director, Helena Community Development Department. In 2009, the City of Helena Citizen Conservation Advisory Board produced the “Climate Change Task Force Action Report.” Subsequently, the Helena Growth Policy-2011 included several chapters related to climate issues. In 2017, the City re-established the Citizen Conservation Advisory Board to "support, recommend, report on, and monitor sustainability measures undertaken by the City of Helena,". Ms. Haugen (or other representative from Helena) will provide an overview of planning strategies that resulted from the Action Report and actions by the city to implement the report’s recommendations.

MAP Call to Action


In this discussion, Montana Association of Planners (MAP) Board members will engage membership in a conversation about the priorities of the organization. At the 2017 MAP Conference in Miles City, the Call to Action spanned across four sessions, covering topics from our Planning and Zoning laws, to the long term structure of MAP.  At this year's conference, we will continue the conversation. This session will review what was said during the 2017 conference and engage membership in a discussion about what our guiding principals should be and how they will be used. This conversation is intended to be outcome driven. Over the course of the conference, MAP Board members will draft a guiding set of principals, and at the MAP Membership meeting on Friday, MAP Board members will discuss the draft principals and how they will be used with membership. 

Allison Mouch, AICP  Orion Planning + Design

  • Allison has over a decade of professional planning and design experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors. She specializes in comprehensive planning, public engagement, code development, mapping and analysis. In her role as Planning Bureau Chief at the Department of Commerce and now collaborating with communities across the country, Allison works to integrate and align all facets of community planning including economic development, housing, infrastructure and the environment, with a focus on resilient strategies and achievable results. 

Andrew Hagemeier, AICP  Missoula County

  • Andrew Hagemeier is a Land Use Planner for Missoula County and project manager for the Missoula Area Mapping Project. His career in the public, private and non-profit sectors of the planning profession has taken him across the state of Montana.  Most recently, Andrew worked as a consultant for public sector clients, writing long range plans, downtown master plans, and developing regulations for rural and urban communities. In 2014, Andrew worked with the Bullock Administration to draft the Main Street Montana Project Report, a central part of Governor Bullock’s economic agenda. While working for the National Parks Conservation Association, Andrew was essential to creating, organizing and initiating the Whitefish Range Partnership, a collaborative effort with a diverse membership whose mission was to create a shared vision for forest management on the Flathead National Forest. Andrew is an AICP certified professional planner and is currently President of the Montana Association of Planners. 

Aaron Wilson  City of Missoula/Missoula Metropolitan Planning Organization

  • Aaron is the Transportation Planning Division Manager for the City of Missoula, where he oversees the Missoula Metropolitan Planning Organization, Missoula In Motion, and the City of Missoula Bicycle/Pedestrian Program. Prior to managing the Transportation Planning Division, he worked on a wide range of planning issues in Western Montana, including active transportation planning, land use, zoning, and subdivision review, and managing Ravalli County's Open Lands Bond Program. In addition to planning for communities in Montana, Aaron has worked in regional planning for Portland Metro, studied wildfire ecology for the USFS Fire Science Lab, and promoted wildfire education.

Dave DeGrandpre, AICP  Land Solutions

  • Dave DeGrandpre has practiced planning in the State of Montana for 18 years, working as both a planning director and private consultant. He began working for Lake County during the early 2000s, a period of rapid growth and development. For the last 12 years Dave has operated Land Solutions, a firm dedicated to helping cities, counties and private parties identify and address critical community development and land use planning needs. Dave’s areas of professional interest include long range planning, zoning, downtown re-development, public outreach and generally helping our communities thrive.

9:30 AM - 12:15 PM

DEEP DIVE: Getting the Word Out: Strategies and Skills to Improve Your Communication with Stakeholders (ends at 12pm) 2.75 CM


Gain new skills and strategies on how to increase your impact and effectiveness in conversations, meetings, and presentations.  This workshop will expand your toolkit of techniques to improve your communication with key stakeholders – from property owners to elected officials.  Gain insights on what matters most to audiences; learn shortcuts for making a complex message simple; and practice practical techniques to navigate tough questions and emotionally-charged topics. This fast-paced, interactive session will boost your presentation skills and increase your communications impact. 

Kellie Mullen, Communications Coach, Resilience Action Partners

  • A recovering broadcast news reporter, Kellie Mullen equips leaders to effectively communicate with all stakeholders–from homeowners and communities to partners and collaborators.  Kellie coaches executives and speakers from leading brands and government agencies, including American Express, FM Global, FEMA, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health and the Peace Corps.

10:45 AM - 11:00 AM - Break Sponsored by Great West Engineering
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM 

Local Vision for Transportation Corridors: How Whitefish Integrated Hwy 93 Corridor Land Use Planning with Former Mill Site Re-Use 1.25 CM


Whitefish, like many communities throughout Montana, aligns along highways running through the city. Many Western Montana communities, including Whitefish, also grew up around lumber mills that used highways to transport logs to and from the mills. Downtowns and mill worker housing sprang up adjacent to or within blocks of the mills and the highways. With the loss of the logging industry, communities now must plan to transition former mill sites to uses that integrate into the contemporary needs of the community. Meanwhile, as the volume of traffic on our highways increases, the Montana Department of Transportation responds with needed improvements identified through a separate planning process. The resultant highway improvements can increase the demand for new uses in these corridors. Whitefish addressed this situation by insightfully initiating transportation corridor land use studies. The first was Highway 93 West. We will present the success story of this first corridor plan, addressing highway reconstruction, the city’s planning effort for the area including the former Idaho Timber mill site, and implementation through zoning and actual redevelopment.


The educational objective of this presentation is to convey how transportation corridor land use planning can result in locally-envisioned improvements along major transportation routes in Montana communities.


The presentation illustrates:

    1. The benefits of synchronizing transportation improvements on urban highways with corridor land use planning

    2. The benefits of preparing conceptual zoning districts as the time of corridor land use planning to guide the implementation of the corridor land use plan

    3. The importance of planning for transitional land uses in historic industrial areas along river corridors and adjacent to downtown

    4. Public involvement strategies


Dave Taylor, AICP   City of Whitefish

  • David Taylor has been the Planning and Building Director in Whitefish, Montana since 2007. Prior to that, he was the head planner for the Ketchikan Gateway Borough in Southeast Alaska for many years. With a degree in Environmental Design from Huxley College of Environmental Studies, David also worked in the private sector for a decade doing architecture, environmental design, wayfinding, and landscape architecture for design firms in Oregon and Montana. His professional passion is maintaining a sustainable balance between nature and the built environment. When he’s not working, he’s either chasing powder on a ski hill or fly fishing somewhere he won’t tell you with his dog Guinness.

Nick Kaufman  WGM Group

  • Nick Kaufman has 41 years of experience in land use planning in Montana. With a Bachelor’s degree in economics and a Master’s degree in planning, Nick incorporates innovative planning and design options with a thorough understanding of economic realities. As a trusted advisor for many clients and Montana communities, he has the unique ability to work with government leaders and stakeholders to find solutions to challenging projects. Nick’s experience includes corridor planning, zoning, annexation, comprehensive planning, land use regulations and capital facilities planning. Nick sits on the City of Missoula Impact Fee Committee, participates on the Missoula Chamber of Commerce Advocacy Arm, and works closely with the Montana Association of Planners Legislative Committee. He recently completed the North Reserve/Scott Street Master Plan and the Downtown Helena Master Plan. Nick’s education and experience allow him to incorporate innovative planning and design options with a thorough understanding of the public review process into each project for maximum return to both the client and the community.

Burning Down the House: Land Use & Wildfire Resiliency in Montana 1.25 CM


Last year wildfires burned 1.3 million acres in Montana and destroyed more than 12,000 structures across the country. With a warming climate, denser forests from a century of fire suppression, and more people building in the wildland-urban interface, the problem is likely to get worse.


Land use planning can play an important role in keeping communities safe from wildfires. This session will highlight how some Montana communities are applying land use planning tools to reduce wildfire risk in the wildland-urban interface. We will also discuss outcomes from a May 2017 workshop about Montana’s challenges and opportunities for applying land use planning tools to reduce wildfire risk. We will share original research about development trends in Montana’s wildfire-prone lands and about the costs of building wildfire-resistant communities, as compared to the costs of wildfire disasters.


Participants will:

  • Learn about land use planning strategies to reduce wildfire risk.

  • Discuss opportunities and challenges to Montana’s land use planning tools.

  • Hear about new research that examines the true risks and costs of wildfire in communities.


Kelly Pohl  Headwaters Economics

  • Kelly Pohl is a Researcher and Policy Analyst with Headwaters Economics. She is part of the Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire team, which provides support to communities to improve land use planning practices that reduce wildfire risk. Prior to joining Headwaters Economics, she oversaw private land conservation and community trail development for the Gallatin Valley Land Trust in Bozeman, Montana. Previously, Kelly led ecological modeling and fire regime assessments for The Nature Conservancy’s role in the LANDFIRE project. She holds a M.Sc. in Geography from Portland State University and a B.S. in Geography from Montana State University. Kelly was born and raised in Bozeman.

Dave DeGrandpre, AICP  Land Solutions

  • Dave DeGrandpre has practiced planning in the State of Montana for 18 years, working as both a planning director and private consultant. He began working for Lake County during the early 2000s, a period of rapid growth and development. For the last 12 years Dave has operated Land Solutions, a firm dedicated to helping cities, counties and private parties identify and address critical community development and land use planning needs. Dave’s areas of professional interest include long range planning, zoning, downtown re-development, public outreach and generally helping our communities thrive.

12:30 - 1:30 PM LUNCH

Keynote: Grizzly Bear Range Expansion and Population Connectivity in Montana: Planning for Shared Landscapes 1 CM


By 1975, when grizzly bears were listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, their distribution was reduced to just a few distinct and isolated populations. Since then, grizzly bear populations in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) have recovered and exemplify a great conservation success story. In Montana, grizzlies are expanding their range every year, even into areas they have not occupied in a century or more. Eventual connectivity between these and other isolated populations would provide additional benefits to the overall health of grizzly bears in the northern Rocky Mountains. This future, however, is not without its challenges. As bears move beyond their core habitats, they have and will continue to encounter more diverse land uses and higher human populations. Advanced planning to conserve habitat, allow for movements across transportation corridors, and minimize conflicts will be vital for promoting the shared use of our Montana landscapes by grizzly bears and humans.


This presentation will provide the latest on grizzly bear core habitat and connectivity in Montana, highlighting a recent study that used GPS bear locations and models to map potential connectivity between the GYE and NCDE. We will highlight key areas and discuss how communities can reduce human-wildlife conflicts.


Cecily Costello  Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

  • Cecily Costello began working as a Wildlife Research Biologist for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks in 2015. She supervises the Grizzly Bear Trend Monitoring program in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem and is a member of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Her professional career has been devoted almost entirely to the study of black and grizzly bears, previously working for the University of Montana, Hornocker Wildlife Institute/Wildlife Conservation Society, the New Mexico Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and Western Ecosystems Technologies. She got her BS degree from Florida State University in 1986, her MS degree from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in 1992, and her PhD from Montana State University in 2008. She has been an Associate Editor of the journal Ursus since 2006 and served as Treasurer for the International Association for Bear Research and Management during 2007-2013.

1:45 - 3:00 PM 

Building Momentum on Main Street: The Planning Catalyst of Community Economic Vitality 1.25 CM


The Montana Department of Commerce Community Development Division is harnessing local enthusiasm to effectively implement a broader vision of healthy downtown districts that contribute to Montana’s unique sense of place. Montana Main Street communities have actively prioritized a comprehensive approach to community building through foundational planning, healthy design, and placemaking that encourage overall community and economic vitality. The statewide Main Street momentum of downtown rehabilitation, public spaces, and walkable districts begins with the collective vision and implementation of a plan.

Tash Wisemiller  Montana Department of Commerce, Community Development Division

  • Tash Wisemiller is the Program Manager of the Community and Economic Vitality Program, a community revitalization and economic development program housed in the Community Development Division of the Montana Department of Commerce. Tash also serves as the statewide Coordinator of the Montana Main Street Program. He has over fifteen years of experience at the federal, state, and local level as well as a familiarity with cultural and historic resources and a dedication to Montana communities and downtowns.  Tash has a passion for enabling communities to become better places, and aims to inspire enthusiasm to overcome local challenges by achieving larger vision, harnessing local resources and assets, and through the consistent implementation of local goals. He is committed to engaging Montana communities in developing a comprehensive approach to community development, planning, economic development, and historic preservation. Tash has a M.A. in Public History from Arizona State University and a B.A. in History from the University of Montana.

A Modern Gold Rush: Cryptocurrency Mining in Missoula County 1.25 CM


Cryptocurrency mining is a fast-growing industry, and thanks to our cool climate and low electricity rates, Montana has turned out to be an attractive place for cryptocurrency mining operations to locate. These facilities, which verify transactions for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, typically use high-powered computers that operate around the clock along with cooling equipment to prevent the computers from overheating, and consume large amounts of electricity. Missoula County has been looking into the local impacts of cryptocurrency mining and the possibility of addressing them through interim zoning. In this session, Diana Maneta and Jennie Dixon from Missoula County Community and Planning Services will explain the concerns that have been identified and the county’s process to date.


Diana Maneta  Missoula County

  • Diana Maneta is Energy Conservation and Sustainability Coordinator for Missoula County, a position she has held since December 2017. She previously served for six years as Executive Director of the Montana Renewable Energy Association. She has also worked as Sustainability Coordinator for Lewis and Clark County and as an advisor at the California Energy Commission. Diana has a master’s degree in Energy and Resources from UC Berkeley.

Jennie Dixon, AICP  Missoula County

  • Jennie Dixon, AICP, has been a Land Use Planner for the City of Missoula and Missoula County for over 25 years, specializing in environmental design and regulation revision. She received her training in cultural landscapes and environmental design at UC Berkeley.

1:45 - 4:30 PM 

MOBILE WORKSHOP Whitefish Lake Water Quality Issues Mobile Workshop (Ends at 4:30 pm) 2.75 CM

The objectives of this session is to inform conference participants about common water quality issues often encountered in both long range planning and development review, and how science can better inform the decision making process. Also discussed will be the use of local partnerships to leverage and facilitate the understanding of water quality issues and to mitigate concerns. The primary goal of this session is to present information and discussions that will allow each participant to take ideas and a deeper understanding of water quality issues home with them and put them to work in their communities. This will not simply be a “This is how we do it in Whitefish” type of session.

This mobile workshop will convene in the Lodge, then immediately proceed across Wisconsin Ave. to the Averill’s Viking Creek Wetland Preserve. In 2009, this 30-acre wetland was donated to the Whitefish Lake Institute (WLI) as part of a broader development proposal. Participants will learn how a solution was brokered to protect this sensitive water quality area while allowing for community compatible development, and how WLI currently uses the area as an educational venue for school and adult groups. The Preserve’s contribution to Whitefish Lake water quality will be pointed out, as will future plans for daylighting the creek between Wisconsin Ave. and the lake.


From the wetlands, the group will walk back past the Lodge to the marina, where they will board a pontoon boat(s) and be taken around at least the south end of the lake to gain first hand perspective on the water quality issues faced by the community. Hand-outs will show trends in Whitefish Lake’s water quality over time. Participants will learn about the partnership between the City of Whitefish and WLI ranging from long-term water quality monitoring of the lake and tributary streams, to specific issues like septic leachate and gasoline constituent loading. Participants will also learn about the municipal drinking water supply and how it can be compromised in the age of climate change and aquatic invasive species.


Mike Koopal   Whitefish Lake Institute

  • Mike Koopal is the founder and executive director of the Whitefish Lake Institute. Mike's career began in the fisheries division of Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks working in the Clark Fork and Blackfoot River drainages. Mike then traveled to Nevada to study Lahontan Cutthroat trout for the Summit Lake Paiute Tribe, and in Alaska, he worked for the Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation. Upon his return to Montana, Mike was a partner at Watershed Consulting for eight years where he specialized in fisheries related issues in Montana, Idaho and Nevada. Mike serves on the Upper Columbia Conservation Commission (UC3) where he chairs the Aquatic Invasive Species Early Detection and Monitoring Committee, and the Flathead Basin Commission where he serves on the Executive Committee. He served on the Whitefish Climate Action Plan Committee, and provided technical assistance to the Bigfork Stormwater Advisory Committee. He was a co-coordinator of the second and third editions of the Montana Lake Book. Mike is a past recipient of the Individual Achievement Award by the Montana Chapter of the American Fisheries Society for his outstanding contribution to the protection and enhancement of fisheries resources in Montana.

3:15 - 4:30 PM 

Yes…You Can Trust Planners (What Can Go Wrong): Building a foundation and local capacity for planning in Deer Lodge, Montana 1.25 CM

This presentation focuses Deer Lodge’s efforts to build a foundation for planning and plan implementation. In 2015 Deer Lodge updated the City’s growth policy. Rather than let the plan languish on the shelf, the City took a proactive approach to implementing the plan. Shortly after the plan’s adoption the City formed the economic growth and development subcommittee of the City Council to focus on plan implementation. Since that time, the City has been able to hire a full time City Administrator/planner, develop an annexation and extension of services plan, and develop downtown master plan. Through these processes the City’s leadership, civic partners, and citizenry have turned from planning skeptics to supporters. With these plans in place Deer Lodge has laid the building blocks for orderly growth and community supported downtown revitalization.


Brian Bender, AICP CEP, ICMA-CM (Candidate)  City of Deerlodge

  • Brian P. Bender, AICP CEP, CFM, ICMA-CM (Candidate) is the Chief Administrator Officer and Floodplain Manager for the City of Deer Lodge. Mr. Bender achieved professional certification from the American Institute of Certified Planners with the added distinction of being a Certified Environmental Planner. Mr. Bender is a member of the International City/County Management Association and is a candidate for the Association’s credentialing program. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Bender served as the Planning Director and Floodplain Administrator of Powell County, Montana between January 2011 and August 2016. Mr. Bender has over eighteen years of planning experience in both rural and urban settings. Mr. Bender has a Bachelor of Arts in Geography from Plattsburgh State University, with a minor in Mapping Sciences. Brian also holds a Master of Science in Geography with a concentration in coastal geomorphology from Western Washington University and a Master of Regional Planning from the University at Albany with a specialization in rural and small-town planning. When not at City Hall, Brian is an avid gardener and is a founding member of the Deer Lodge Community Garden. Each summer he supplies flowers and ornamental plantings for several community facilities throughout the City.

Matthew Rohrback, AICP  Land Solutions

  • Matthew Rohrbach is a community planner with Land Solutions based out of Hamilton. He has over ten years of experience in land use, transportation, and economic development planning. Matthew works with communities throughout Montana on developing comprehensive and downtown plans, and updates to their development regulations. He received a bachelors degree in Geography from the University of Montana and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University. Outside of his planning work, Matthew is on the Board of Directors of Bike Walk Montana and is the president of Bike Walk Bitterroot.

Facilitating Resilience: Engaging Communities and Planning for the Future 1.25 CM


Planning for a resilient community - one that is primed to withstand the immediate shocks of social, economic and environmental disasters - involves an intensive process of local communication and engagement. This presentation will include a brief overview of the Montana Department of Commerce’s Montana Ready Communities Initiative (MRCI), project updates, and an overview of recent community outreach. Planners will learn about the State’s resilience efforts and have an opportunity to provide valuable input regarding the future of the project.


Blake Sexton  Montana Department of Commerce

  • Blake Sexton is an AmeriCorps VISTA from Grand Rapids, Michigan and spent the last 3 years at the University of Michigan where he studied climate mitigation and adaptation policy.  He spent the last 4 months in Washington D.C with the Environmental Protection Agency as an intern, where he worked on a coastal flood adaptation project in collaboration with members from FEMA, GSA, and EPA.

Betsy Miller  Montana Department of Commerce

  • Betsy Miller is an AmeriCorps VISTA and has worked on numerous projects for the State of Montana over the last five years.  Betsy moved to Helena to spend a year with the Montana Conservation Corps. She then spent three years at the Governor's Office of Community Service coordinating the Ready Montana program, a statewide disaster and emergency preparedness program. Most recently, she was at the Department of Agriculture coordinating the Produce Safety program.

4:30 - 5:30 PM

MAP Legislative Committee Meeting


All members of the MAP Legislative Committee, and members interested in becoming a committee member or interested in the 2019 Legislative Session are requested to attend this meeting to prepare for the upcoming legislative session. 

5:30 - 8:30 PM  MAP Social - Sponsored by MARLS

Cypress Yard


Join the Montana Association of Planners Board and other conference attendees from around the state for a social event at Cypress Yard, 204 Wisconsin Ave, www.cypressyard.com; appetizers, drinks (beer/wine/aperitivo spritz cocktails) and good company will be provided.