Applied Communications
Planning Services
Applied Communications, LLC offers extensive experience in land use planning for small to medium sized towns and rural counties. The firm works closely with staff, citizens and public officials to identify community needs and develop effective strategies.  Applied Communications offers the following services.

  • Comprehensive Plan
  • Growth Policy
  • Surveys, Data Collection
  • Development Regulations (Subdivision, Zoning, User Guides …)
  • Development Review Support
  • Park and Recreation Master Planning
  • Expert Witness Testimony & Research
  • Socio-Economic Analysis & Projections 
Following are descriptions of planning projects that Applied Communications has undertaken.  
Choteau, MT - Zoning Updates (2012)
AppCom has worked with the Planning Board to develop a review draft of the new zoning regulations.   The workshop to obtain public input is scheduled for March 5, 2012. 
Great Falls West Bank Park Master Plan (2010)
AppCom is on a member of the project team with CTA Architects to develop a master plan for the West Bank Park in Great Falls.  AppCom has conducted an on-line survey to obtain public input for the process and completed research on funding resources .
Hamilton, MT -  Growth Policy (2009)
AppCom has completed a Growth Policy for the City of Hamilton.  The Growth Policy includes an expanded Park and Recreation Element and a Planning Area Element.  The process relied on focus groups, on-line surveys and visioning workshops to produce a community driven planning document.  The Growth Policy was adopted in 2009 and the city successfully applied for a CDBG grant to implement recommendations for a master plan for Riverside Park.

Flathead County Parks and Recreation Master Plan (2009)
AppCom teamed with Bruce Boody Landscape Architects to develop the Flathead County Parks and Recreation Master Plan.   The plan used a level-of-service analysis to identify current and future park and recreation needs.  Funding and organizational strategies are based on a benefits based management approach.     

Anaconda - Deer Lodge County (2008-2011)
Anaconda -Deer Lodge has contracted with AppCom to provide development review support, update the Growth Policy, rewrite the Development Permit System regulations and assist with redevelopment planning for superfund sites.   AppCom also provides training for staff and Planning Board members and assists with grant administration.  The new Growth Policy was adopted in March of 2011. 

Georgetown Lake (2008-2010)
Appcom is working with the Georgetown Lake Homeowners Association on an interim zoning ordinance for the Georgetown Lake District.  After an initial town meeting and survey to identify issues in the area, the County Commission reviewed the technical paper and has authorized the homeowners to work with AppCom to amend the Growth Policy and draft regulations.  The new zoning district was adopted in March 2011. 

Kalispell, MT - Revitalization Plan Update (2008)
AppCom worked with the City of Kalispell to complete a Revitalization Plan for the core area of the city adjacent to the BNSF Railroad line.  A key component of the plan is to relocate the industrial uses so the rail line can be converted to a linear park.  This amenity would be the catalyst for commercial and mixed used redevelopment along the old railway corridor.  In 2009, the City has received an EPA $400,000 Brownfield Assessment grant and in 2010 was one of 23 cities to receive a pilot EPA pilot Brownfield Area-Wide planning grant. 

Benewah County, ID -  Growth Managment Project (2008)
St. Maries, ID - Zoning Update
The partners of Benewah County, City of St. Maries and City of Plummer, ID received a Growth Management Grant from the Idaho Department of Commerce to undertake several growth management initiatives.   Applied Communications worked with the partners to develop a land use plan for the area of impact around the City of Plummer, to negotiate a new Impact Area Agreement between the County and the City of St. Maries, and to develop technical papers on zoning, development in riparian areas and procedures for lot splits.  Based on the recommendations of the growth management technical papers, the City of St. Maries has contracted with AppCom to update the city zoning ordinance. 

Hot Springs, MT - Growth Policy (2007)
Applied Communications completed a growth policy for the community.  The Growth Policy contains a "Sustainability" statement, tourism strategies, and intergovernmental strategies to work with the Salish and Kootenai Tribes. 

Big Sandy, MT - Growth Policy (2008)

Applied Communications completed a Growth Policy for Big Sandy, MT.  Key strategies addressed water supply and wastewater infrastructure.  The Growth Policy incorporated downtown strategies and zoning strategies.

McGarvey, Heberling, Sullivan & McGarvey (2007-2009)
Applied Communications has provided expert land use research and analysis for the law firm on cases regarding subdivision, spot zoning, and conditional uses.

Chinook, MT - Growth Policy (2007)
Applied Communications completed a growth policy for the City of Chinook, MT.  The Growth Policy included policies regarding improvements to US Highway 2, floodplain, compatible uses in the planning area, zoning for the downtown, historic preservation and brownfields.    

Lincoln County - Growth Policy Plan (2006)
Appcom completed a resource analysis for the Lincoln County Growth Policy Plan.  The resources analysis was used extensively in development of the County's growth policy. 

Red Lodge, MT - Downtown Strategic Plan (2006)
Applied Communications teamed up with the Hingston Roach Group to complete a downtown assessment for the City of Red Lodge.  The assessment resulted in action steps for the future of downtown Red Lodge.   As a result of the planning effort Red Lodge was selected as a pilot Main Street community in Montana. 

A Trail Runs Through It (2006)
Applied Communications was the project coordinator to complete a master plan for a recreational loop trail around Whitefish Lake.  The trail will connect state conservation lands, USFS trails and the City of Whitefish bicycle trails.   The process included an on-line survey, design charette, and extensive coordination between government agencies and stakeholder groups.   Since completion of the plan, the project has received over $3 million dollars in funding and the first 12 miles of trails was completed in 2010. 

Whitefish Growth Policy(2007)
Applied Communications was contracted to complete the Growth Policy for the City of Whitefish.  The Growth Policy was adopted in the fall of 2007.

Red Lodge CEDS & Industrial Park Design Charette (2004)
Applied Communications was part of the consultant team that developed a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for the City of Red Lodge. A key component of this strategy is development of an industrial park on land adjacent to the airport. Due to the strategic location of this site, Applied Communications and CTA Architects conducted a  design charette to solicit ideas for a concept plan that will guide future development of the industrial area.

Teton County Growth Policy and Subdivision Regulations

Applied Communications completed a comprehensive update of the Growth Policy Plan in 2003.  Following adoption of the plan, Applied Communications worked with the County to update the Subdivision Regulations to comply with the policies in the Growth Policy.  Some unique features in the new regulations include adequate facilities provisions for transportation improvements and requirements for land stewardship plan. 

Fort Benton, MT, Lewistown, MT, Lake County, MT, Chouteau County–Growth Policies (1999 - 2004)

Applied Communications has assisted Lake County, Fort Benton, and Lewistown, MT to complete Growth Policies. In each locality, Applied Communications has used a process to compile and analyze technical data while the community directs the policy response.

Gillette Technical Park - Design Guidelines & CC&Rs (2000)

The Gillette Tech Center is a 180 acre business park that was purchased by the City of Gillette, WY in 1999. The City, with the assistance of the Campbell County Economic Development Corporation, is developing the park as a modern business park where covenants and design guidelines will ensure high standards. Applied Communication was hired to facilitate a process among the various stakeholders  to establish the design guidelines and codes that will guide future development of the technical park.

Great Falls, MT - Development Review Manual. (1999)

After a needs assessment, that included a community wide survey, Applied Communications compiled a Development Review Manual and Citizen's Guide documenting the various procedures involved in the development review process. The manual includes flow charts, checklists, policy documents, and administrative procedures. New forms and user aids emphasize a customer service approach to the review process. 

City of Las Vegas, NV - Multi-Media Zoning Ordinance (1998)

Applied Communications teamed with the Visual Interactive Code Group to produce a multi-media, visually interactive zoning ordinance for the City of Las Vegas. The code can be viewed with a web browser and includes links for all defined terms, over 80 photographs and commentary items, an index, and searchable text.

City of Champaign, IL - Zoning Ordinance Rewrite

Ms. McMahon was responsible for a complete rewrite of the City of Champaign zoning ordinance. The ordinance was designed in a user friendly format that included commentary, illustration, index, checklists, cross references and other tools.