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City zoning commission prepares to tackle new issues

by DERRICK PERKINS
Daily Inter Lake | November 10, 2020 7:00 AM

Along with updates from various subcommittees and public agencies, Libby City Council may soon get regular reports from the municipality’s relatively new zoning commission.

City Councilor Kristin Smith asked to add the commission’s doings to a regular list of reports her colleagues receive at the beginning of each meeting. That run-through usually includes updates from the chief of police, the city’s representative on the county health board and city administrator, among others.

Smith is a key member of the zoning commission, which was built largely out of the city’s planning board membership early in the year. The onus for creating the commission came from an effort to tighten zoning regulations in the downtown area and U.S. Highway 2 corridor.

Late in that project, city officials learned of a decades old state attorney general ruling that required a zoning commission to sign off on the effort, which already had undergone multiple public hearings and received the blessing of the planning board.

The tightened restrictions ultimately met with zoning commission, and city council, approval.

But there is more work to be done, Smith told her colleagues Nov. 2.

“We’ve resumed our meetings and we’re starting to look at our residential ordinance language to clarify some stuff that has caused problems for us,” Smith said. “Just to make sure we’re in line with current best practices and industry standards.”

Mayor Brent Teske welcomed both the request and the interest among members of the commission to tackle outstanding zoning issues.

“I like that idea,” he said. “It’s good information that we should hear, now that we have an active zoning commission.”

The commission meets on the fourth Monday of each month, Smith said.