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

Wednesday, Sept. 12

9:15 - 10:45 AM 

Montana Law Update 1.5 CM Law

Of the many responsibilities planners hold, keeping current with court cases can be one of the most challenging. Information can be hard to find, and hard to decipher, but can have significant impact on how we approach our day to day.  Kelly Lynch is back at the MAP Conference to present her entertaining and straightforward review of the land use cases over the last two years affecting planners in Montana. This presentation will cover the cases you need to know as a planner practicing in Montana. 

Kelly Lynch, JD, AICP. Deputy Director/General Counsel Montana League of Cities and Towns

  • Kelly came to the League from the Montana Department of Commerce in 2016 to pursue her passion for local government. She provides research and technical assistance for elected municipal officials and staff and appears in front of state and local governmental agencies, boards, elected officials, and the Montana legislature explaining and advocating for community needs and resources. Kelly focuses on collaboration between public agencies, the private sector, and elected officials with diverse backgrounds to provide creative, efficient, and effective leadership for Montana’s communities. Originally from East Helena, Kelly has a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from the University of California at Los Angeles, Luskin School of Public Affairs and a JD from the University of California at Los Angeles, School of Law. She earned her certification from the American Institute of Certified Planners in 2015.

9:30 - 10:45 AM 

Planning 101: Introduction to Planning


The rationale and basis for planning with a focus of the rights and responsibilities that a government must balance in land use regulation; including notice, due process, good of the whole, and restraint of rights. The session will also include a review of the statutory rules and responsibilities of a planning board, including creating work plans, budgets, staffing, public hearings, and general discussion on the legal concepts of planning.


Lora Mattox, AICP, Transportation Planner, City of Billings/Yellowstone County Metropolitan Planning Organization

  • Lora has been with the City of Billings and Yellowstone County Planning Department for fifteen years. Starting out as the Neighborhood Planner, she assisted in preparing long range plans for City neighborhoods and County town sites. Seven years ago, she transitioned into a Transportation Planner position which includes writing and administering grants such as the Transportation Alternatives Program Grant, assists with project management of Transportation Studies within the Metropolitan Planning Organization, oversees the implementation of the Billings Community Transportation Safety Plan and of course all those other duties as assigned. She also serves as the Historic Preservation Officer for Yellowstone County which includes the City of Billings, the City of Laurel, Yellowstone County and the Crow Reservation within Yellowstone County. When needed, Lora can also assist with zoning applications, permitting and exempt plats. Prior to coming to Billings, Lora worked as a Community and Neighborhood Planner for the City of Burlington, Iowa. Overall, she has over twenty-four years as a Community and Neighborhood Planner, Transportation Planner and as a Historic Preservation Officer.

These are the organizations that help make our conference a success! 

10:45 AM - 11:00 AM - Break Sponsored by Orion Planning and Design
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

Regulating Vacation Rentals By Owner Roundtable 1.25 CM


Tourism is big business in Montana. About 12.3 million people visit the Treasure State every year spending over $3.2 billion in our communities. Vacation Rentals by Owners (VRBO) are one aspect of the tourism industry that impacts our communities in different ways, both good and bad. In this roundtable discussion, representatives from four communities, large and small, will tell their unique stories of the role VRBO’s play in their community, and the approaches they’ve developed to accommodate this growing industry.

Mark Mussman, CFM, Director, Flathead County Planning and Zoning Department

  • After growing up in the Midwest and earning a BS from the University of Cincinnati, I have spent the better part of the last 30 years west of the Continental Divide. After receiving an MPA from Idaho State University, I began my career in land use planning, working in Kootenai County, Idaho and for three winters for the Fairbanks North Star Borough. A brief leave of my sense thought that I could return to my Midwestern roots. However, after three years in Huntington County, Indiana, I took a position with the Flathead County Planning and Zoning Department where I have been the director for the past three years.

Tom Zavitz, MS, AICP, Senior Planner, City of Missoula Development Services

  • Tom is a Senior Planner in the Long Range Planning division at the City of Missoula where he is appreciated as a straight talker with unique perspective rooted in his breadth of “real world” planning experience. His background includes ten years leading a respected environmental consulting and inspection firm in the pipeline industry and twelve years as a city-county planner in Missoula. He received his Master of Science in Land Rehabilitation from Montana State University and BA from the University of Montana. In his work as an urban planner, Tom has led or played a significant role in several successful projects including the “Our Missoula” city growth policy, an accessory dwelling unit ordinance, a vacation rental ordinance, and most recently a neighborhood character overlay ordinance for the historic University Neighborhood District. His keen insight has helped many residents and decision makers navigate the challenging waters of local legislative process.

Chris Saunders, AICP, Community Development Manager, City of Bozeman

  • Chris Saunders is the Community Development Manager for the City of Bozeman, MT. He has been a planner in Montana since 1996. He oversees several programs including long range planning, historic preservation, policy and regulatory development, and recently added short term rental program management to the daily to do list. He was the lead planning representative for the City team that developed the short term rental program which took effect in December 2017.


Adam Hammatt, City Manager, City of Whitefish

  • Adam Hammatt, City Manager of the City of Whitefish, is a Montana native from Great Falls. He was born and raised in Great Falls and graduated from Charles M. Russell High School. Adam went on to become a Firefighter/Paramedic for the City of Great Falls until a career ending injury put him on a different path. He went on to graduate from Montana State University with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. He then continued his education at the University of Montana earning a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and a Doctorate of Law. Adam also became certified in Mediation and Negotiation from the University of Montana School of Law, became a Certified Public Manager through the University of Wisconsin, and is a Credentialed Manager through the International City/County Manager’s Association. Adam spent over 9 years in city management positions in the State of Wisconsin but has finally come back to Montana. Adam is married with 5 children (ages 6-23), loves the outdoors, and is very excited to be in Whitefish.

Whitefish Trail: A blueprint for how Montana communities can envision, collaborate, and build successful trail systems 1.25 CM

Greg Gunderson​, Trail Planning, Design, & Construction Management, Forestoration, Inc.

  • Raised in Kalispell, Greg is a graduate of Flathead High School and received his business degree from Pepperdine University. After short stints in Moab, Utah, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, Greg and his family returned to the Flathead in 2000. Greg is the founder and co-owner of Forestoration, Inc., a land management and restoration company, and the Center for Native Plants, the Flathead’s only retail native plant nursery. One of his most rewarding projects has been acting as lead planner, designer, and construction manager of the Whitefish Trail project from concept to the current network of 40+ miles of trails and 12 trailheads.  Greg’s community involvement has included several years as a member of the Whitefish City/County Planning Board and the Whitefish Lakeshore Protection Committee, and as a board member of the Whitefish Lake Institute and Flathead Land Trust. Greg and his family enjoy many outdoor activities including rafting the Flathead River system, climbing mountains in Glacier Park, skiing Big Mountain, and exploring canyon country in the desert Southwest.

Nicole Stickney, Special Uses Forester, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (MT DNRC)

  • Nicole works for the MT DNRC under the Trust Land Management Division.   The Trust Land Management Division administers and manages state trust timber, surface, and mineral resources for the benefit of common schools and the other endowed institutions in Montana. She has been with the DNRC for 15 years and works for Stillwater State Forest located 18 miles north of Whitefish, MT.  Her primary function is managing all general and licensed recreational use, residential and commercial leases, agricultural and grazing leases and mineral leases on approximately 132,000 acres.  She is a local of the flathead valley and graduated from Flathead High School in 1996.  She then attended the University of Montana where she majored in forestry and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in 2000.  She went to work for DNRC in 2003. Nicole has two children.  They enjoy spending time together outdoors and go camping, hiking and kayaking.  Singularly, Nicole enjoys running and has competed in marathons and half marathons.

Alan Myers-Davis, Program Director, Whitefish Legacy Partners:

  • Growing up in the shadows of Smoky Mountain National Park, Alan developed an appreciation for wild places at a young age. He was introduced to non-profits during undergrad at the College of Charleston in SC. Working with the Sustainability Institute and Lowcountry Earth Force, Alan raised $15K for sustainable high-school projects. After college, Alan managed an organic farm, commercial fished in Southeast Alaska, and was a Senior Project Manager for Living Roofs Inc., designing and installing vegetated roof systems. He moved to Whitefish in 2014 joining Whitefish Legacy Partners as Program Director. Alan then transitioned to Director of Development as the organization enters a pivotal time in their Close the Loop Project. He looks forward to working with project partners and devoted community members to finalize the 55+ mile loop trail around Whitefish Lake and place more local land into permanent protection.

Carla Belski, Community Services Director, City of Whitefish

  • Carla is the Community Services Coordinator for the City of Whitefish. She has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz. Carla has managed trails for many years including six years as a Wilderness Ranger with the US Forest Service, twelve years as the founding director for the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation, and three years with Whitefish Legacy Partners. In her role with the City, she manages City Beach, the AIS Watercraft Inspection Program and projects on the bicycle and pedestrian trails system. She is a grant writer and City representative on the Whitefish Trail Operations Committee.

Introduction to Growth Policies


This session will provide information and overview of growth policy preparation and implementation in Montana. This critical element of community planning provides the context and enabling language for creating local land use laws and development programs for assisting communities in achieving goals and objectives.

Monica Plecker, AICP, Planning Division Manager in Billings

  • Monica Plecker is the Planning Division Manager in Billings. The Division is responsible for planning services for the City of Billings and Yellowstone County. Monica recently started with the Division in July. Previously she worked as a Community Planner for CTA Architects Engineers and served as the Planning Director for the City of Laurel, a City/County department. Monica's interests include tax increment financing, policy amendments and long-range planning. Monica is a member of the American Planning Association and the American Institute of Certified Planners. She is a current board member for the Montana Association of Planners.

12:30 - 1:30 LUNCH

Opening Remarks

Richard Hilner, Deputy Mayor, City of Whitefish

  • Richard has been a long time member of the Whitefish City Council.  He has served on both the Whitefish Planning Board and Whitefish Park Board.  He began his teaching career in 1994, most recently as the teacher of History and Government at Glacier High School in Kalispell, MT before retiring.  Before teaching, he worked for the US Forest Service for over 17 years and has lived in Chile, Spain, and Australia.  He is a huge proponent of outdoor activities, and regularly participates is long distance running events.

1:45 - 3:00 PM 

Introduction to Subdivisions


An overview of the basic purposes of subdivision review, the state statutory requirements, local regulations and review procedures, and the effects of recent legislation.

Wyeth Friday, AICP. Director of the Planning and Community Services Department, Billings.

  • Wyeth Friday is the Director of the Planning and Community Services Department in Billings. The Department provides code enforcement, building and community development services to the City of Billings, and planning services to Billings and Yellowstone County. He oversees four division managers with a department of 30 staff. Wyeth has worked for the City of Billings and Yellowstone County for 14 years, serving as Planning Division Manager for almost 10 years and taking over as Director in late 2016. During his tenure, he has worked on current and long range planning projects, including amendments to the County Subdivision Regulations to address development transition between the city and county, participation on a complete streets working group to implement the City’s Complete Streets Policy, and ongoing leadership of the City’s Annexation Committee to administer the City’s Annexation Policy in coordination with the City’s Capital Improvement Program. In his new role as Department Director, he is working to improve public outreach and communication tools, moving the department further into electronic application and permit submittals, and supporting an update to the city and county zoning regulations. Wyeth has been a member of the American Planning Association since 2001 and of the American Institute of Certified Planners since 2006. He has been involved with the Montana Association of Planners since 2005, including a stint as President of the organization.

1:45 - 5:00 PM 

DEEP DIVE: A New Approach to the Plan/Code Relationship 3.25 CM


Successful updates to regulations begin during the planning process. Too often, communities treat comprehensive planning and code development as unrelated, siloed activities, even when an update or comprehensive overhaul of a code or ordinance is imminent and planned for. As best practices in zoning and development regulations continue to evolve, and form-based and hybrid codes gain popularity across the region, plans and the processes used to develop them must similarly evolve. This deep-dive session will look at the traditional land use planning processes employed in Montana, offer ideas and guidance on how to better align your comprehensive plans with code updates, and successfully structure an audit of your zoning code and development regulations. Taking such steps helps you ensure a code update that incorporates best practices and implements your community plan. State, regional and national examples will be used to illustrate ideas and concepts. Participants can choose to attend one, two, or three of the mini-sessions, although the format will be structured to function and flow as one uniform deep-dive session. Ample time for questions and discussion will be built into each mini-session, with a focus on active engagement and free-flowing conversation throughout the deep-dive.


Part 1 – Growth Policy 3.0 (1 hour)

Participants in the first part of this three-part session will learn how communities across the country are approaching comprehensive planning, and how these innovative approaches to future land use mapping, placetypes and implementation can be employed right here in our own state of Montana. Participants will learn the value in completing/updating a comprehensive plan with specific adjustments to zoning code and development regulations in mind, including form-based design principles, hybrid and performance-based code options.


Part 2 – What’s in an Audit, Anyway? (1 hour)

This mini-session will provide detailed guidance on how to structure a code audit to efficiently and effectively evaluate regulations, establish needs and priorities for an update, and strategize on format, timeframe and budget. The session will also cover best practices and principles in code writing (and re-writing). Audit examples and templates will be provided and discussed.


Part 3 – The Code Update: Integrating Form and Function (1.25 hour)

The final mini-session will take the lessons learned in effective plan development and code evaluation and showcase how communities in Montana and across the country have completed successful code updates. The City of Helena, Montana recently completed a zoning code update for their downtown district, incorporating design elements on the heels of the recently completed downtown master plan. This project highlights the challenges and opportunities that come with updating a traditional Euclidian code in a well-established built environment and finding ways to integrate design concepts and form-based elements into an existing code framework. Additional examples of successful code updates and rewrites will be provided and discussed.

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. 

Robert Barber, FAICP  Orion Planning + Design

  • Bob has 28 years of experience in planning and community development at the regional, county, and municipal levels including substantial practice with private sector development. He has served as a teacher and mentor at the university level, as an advocate for disadvantaged and minority communities in both professional and private life, created successful private/public partnerships for redevelopment, and successfully implemented nationally recognized and award-winning place making principles.

Carol Rhea, FAICP  Orion Planning + Design

  • Carol has over 30 years of experience in a variety of public and private sector planning positions. Her areas of specialty include planning, group facilitation, ordinances and regulations, board training, permitting, and customer service. Carol spent more than 15 years working in municipal, county, regional, and state government, managing increasingly complex programs involving current and long-range planning, community development, code enforcement, building inspections and solid waste. She served two terms as the APA Region II Director (2004-2012), and is currently immediate past-president of APA. Carol has spoken on a variety of planning and ordinance-related topics at conferences and routinely facilitates meetings with a wide range of planning participants. Carol is a certified planner and Fellow of AICP.

Ellie Ray, City of Helena

  • Ellie has over five years’ experience in public sector planning. As a planner with the City of Helena, she serves as a grant coordinator, ADA coordinator, and housing coordinator in addition to general municipal planning duties. She helps manage the City’s downtown zoning code update, and assists in the formulation and management of the City’s urban renewal districts. She previously worked as a regional planner in Vermont, handling regional and town plan updates, hazard mitigation planning, grant application assistance, and research/policy work associated with a Partnership for Sustainable Communities grant for East Central Vermont.

3:00 - 3:15 PM - Break Sponsored by KLJ
3:15 - 4:30 PM

The Nexus between Land Use Planning and Urban Renewal in Montana. 1.25 CM


A facilitated round-table discussion that will include the following elements:

  • A brief presentation on the statutory role of planning in the creation of Urban Renewal and Targeted Economic Development Districts (URDs and TEDDs)

  • A discussion based on questions, addressing the following issues:

    • URDs and TEDDs as implementation tools in achieving goals and objectives set forth in the growth policy and other planning documents

    • The relationship of these districts to planning-related regulatory and administrative frameworks

    • Conflicts between the Montana Urban Renewal Law and land use statutes, policies and regulations

    • Strategies for administering URDs and TEDDs in conjunction with planning

    • Support for funding strategies, programs and projects in the growth policy and these districts’ plans

  • Educational Objectives

    • Further understanding of the interrelationship between Urban Renewal and Land Use statutes in Montana

    • Further understanding of the difference between these districts and use of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) - a funding mechanism allowed under the Urban Renewal statute


Janet Cornish  Community Development Services of Montana

  • Janet Cornish, owner and principal of CDS of Montana has nearly 40 years of experience in the community development field and has worked on projects throughout the state of Montana and the Pacific Northwest. She holds a B.A. Degree from the University of Wisconsin in Political Science and an M.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana. In addition to her consulting work, Janet is on the adjunct faculty at Montana Tech, teaching courses in business and professional writing. She is an expert in Tax Increment Financing (TIF), having assisted communities across the state in creating more than two dozen urban renewal, industrial and targeted economic development districts. Janet is the author of Tax Increment Financing in Montana, a manual prepared for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. She also has experience in preparing growth policies and other planning documents. Janet served as the first director of the Butte-Silver Bow Urban Revitalization Agency and in that capacity developed the community’s first urban renewal district. She has been a member of the Montana Association of Planners since 1979 and has served as the organization’s president and treasurer. She currently serves on the Montana Land Information Advisory Council.

Lanette Windemaker, AICP 

  • Lanette G. Windemaker, AICP, is a land use planning consultant who works with local governments providing technical assistance in tax increment financing, land use planning and growth policy development, zoning, subdivision, and the public process. Since establishing herself as a land use planning consultant in 2002 in Bozeman, Lanette has consulted on projects throughout the State of Montana, which included assisting in the creation of more than two dozen urban renewal, industrial and targeted economic development districts. Prior to becoming a consultant, Lanette Windemaker had more than 15 years of experience in the land use planning field employed by the local governments of Gallatin County and the City of Bozeman, Montana; Fairbanks Northstar Borough, Alaska; Prince William County, Virginia; Riley County, Kansas; and the City of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Lanette has a Masters of Regional and Community Planning from Kansas State University, and a B.S. (Earth Science-Geographical Planning) from Montana State University. Lanette has been a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) since 1989. In addition, she is a member of the Western Central Chapter of the American Planning Association and the Montana Association of Planners since 1993.

Introduction to Zoning


An overview of the purpose of zoning, various types of zoning, state statutory requirements, implementation, enforcement, variances and boards of adjustments.

Dave DeGrandpre, ACIP, 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, WUI planning, public outreach and generally helping our communities thrive.

6:00 pm

Planner's Pub Crawl


Enjoy Whitefish's finest establishments. Meet at the Montana Tap House at 6 pm. 

845 Wisconsin Ave, Whitefish, MT 59937

See the pdf. for details. 

Community Hike Presented by the Whitefish Legacy Partners


Hike the Whitefish Trail to Haskill Lake. Free and open for all ages and abilities. Check out the facebook page for more details. 


Housing Workshop for the Not so Rich and Famous


The City of Whitefish presents this workshop and tour on housing energy efficiency and affordability. 

See the pdf. for details.