Posted 5/16/12 (Wed)
By Lauren Billing
Farmer Staff Writer
The McKenzie County Commissioners’ zoning planning board has made headway in creating a comprehensive plan for the entire county. A final product is still several months from completion, but a big step has been made toward seeing the comprehensive plan completed and enforced.
When the zoning planning board was created, the McKenzie County Commissioners also approved the introduction of a county planner position. The county planner would help the board establish both the land use plan and comprehensive zoning plan and then take over the facilitation of those plans for the entire county.
Filling the new county planner position is Walter Hadley, who has extensive planning experience in Idaho.
Hadley moved to Watford City from Kellogg, Idaho, where he spent 15 years working in city planning. Prior to his work in Kellogg, Hadley sent seven years doing county planning out of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, for Kootenai County.
Hadley received his Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture with an emphasis in planning from the University of Idaho (U of I). He also played basketball for the U of I.
Hadley began work with McKenzie County on May 1 and is already moving toward building and streamlining processes and designing a means for disseminating valuable information to the public.
“I’m working on building an agency checklist,” says Hadley. “It will include all the approvals you would need for a variety of projects. It’s designed to help the public know what’s required.”
Consistency and clarity are going to be essential tools for Hadley as he moves forward in planning for McKenzie County. Though it will take several months to install the appropriate measures and make necessary information available, he knows how important a solid platform is when trying to stabilize a zoning plan.
“The county should not make arbitrary decisions,” explains Hadley. “You have to be consistent.”
Hadley also encourages McKenzie County residents to voice their opinions throughout the process of designing a comprehensive zoning plan. Whether it is coming to the meetings or submitting written concerns, Hadley believes the way to really make zoning functional is for citizens to have an input in what they do and do not want.
In addition to working with the zoning planning board, Hadley will be working in conjunction with Curt Moen, Watford City city planner.
Hadley’s family will also be moving to Watford City in the coming months as they pack and move from Kellogg.
His wife, Jane, and their daughter, Elise, plan to be settled in time for Elise to begin her junior year at Watford City High School. Their older son, Keagen, will return for his second year at Minot State, where he plays tight end for the football team.
Hadley enjoys coaching basketball and football and has been actively involved in coaching both of his own kids. He hopes to continue to be involved with coaching youth in McKenzie County.
“I’m excited to be a part of the community,” says Hadley.
The addition of a county planner to McKenzie County’s team will certainly help facilitate a zoning plan, but will also mean improvements for ensuring that things like impact fees are assessed more appropriately and do not fall solely to taxpayers.
Any individuals or companies with questions or concerns about zoning or other planning procedures can contact Hadley at the McKenzie County Courthouse at 701-444-6852 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.