Loveland's Independent News Source
Loveland, February 11, 2016

Brett Limbaugh, Director of Community Planning and Development Services for Rapid City, South
Dakota, will succeed Greg George as Loveland's Development Services Directo

was hired by Rapid City in 2011 for an annual salary of $91,787.  The City of Loveland will
be paying Limbaugh an annual salary of $115,000 after selecting him from a pool of six final
candidates for the position.

As Loveland's Director of Community Planning and Development Services, Limbaugh will oversee
Current Planning, Strategic Planning and Development Services divisions within city hall.   Limbaugh
worked previously for Commerce City in Colorado for 13 years and for 3 years for Edgemark
Development Services in Denver.

George's Legacy

Longtime city employee Greg George was among the more controversial figures in city hall and the
development community.  Known for scratching the backs of friends while punishing adversaries,
George's management techniques were the subject of numerous lawsuits in which the City of
Loveland spent hundreds of thousands of dollars (see
Brothers Klen as one example or Morgan case).

Limbaugh's Agenda in Rapid City - Maybe Loveland?

Like many cities in the United States, Rapid City relied on a Planned Development (PD) Overlay
District for zoning.  Over the years amendments were added to the plan which made it cumbersome
to use and many argued it was outdated.  Similarly, Loveland's 1970's building and zoning
ordinances have been defended by local developers who know them best and saw the complexity as a
barrier of entry from competitors to out-of-town competition making reform difficult.

An outside consulting firm, Lehe Planning, recommended in 2013 that Rapid City completely repeal
its planning and zoning ordinances and replace them with a
"Unified Development Code" which is a
boiler-plate system the same consultants have recommended to cities across the country which
includes a
"Conditioned Zoning" instead of planned development.  In this model, the staff has much
greater discretion in working with the developer to approve various uses within the parcel.

The same firm, Lehe Planning, made a number of previous recommendations in 2010 to improve
Rapid City's building and planning process which were under scrutiny by the mayor who argued the
bureaucracy had become too difficult for developers to navigate.  By 2011 the city's planning director
of 20 years was fired and Limbaugh recruited as the change agent to reform the embattled

Working closely with the mayor and Limbaugh, Lehe Planning presented a final report in December
2013 (
see report) that tracked changes since its 2010 study of the troubled process and departments
but also recommended a more radical solution of completely repealing the city's existing ordinances
for both planned development and zoning in favor of the
"Unified Development Code."

In Loveland, the
"Millennium General Development Plan" operates much like a unified development
code but was adopted exclusively for McWhinney's Centerra so they could operate under different
laws than the rest of the city.   In May of 2007, Loveland's City Council approved wholesale changes to
that plan (Amendment #9) by removing the last remnants of any public review (
see our story).

Like Centerra's Millennium Plan, the Unified Development Code shifts authority away from elected
officials and their appointed planning commissions and into the hands of city staff.  One selling point
Lehe Planning supporters have argued, in Southern states, is staff can deal with controversial
applications like Adult Businesses without the need to involve elected officials or conduct lengthy
public hearings that may bring negative press coverage to the appointed planning commission.

Below are excerpts from the minutes of a February 6, 2013 Rapid City Planning Commission meeting
that captures a discussion between Limbaugh and a Planning Commissioner regarding this very
issue -

"Limbaugh referenced the recent discussion regarding casinos noting that with the Unified
Development Code uses such as Casinos or Adult Ordinated Businesses could be made a
Conditional Use and the restrictions for this conditional use would be clearly defined including
buffering requirements, screening and other restrictions. Limbaugh noted this this would be
clearly laid out in the Unified Development Code.

Brewer stated that it appears that the proposed platting process will remove the opportunity for
the general public to have input or to be noticed on new development and that he hopes that the
new provisions does not completely remove any hearing.

Monson left the dais at this time.

Limbaugh addressed how the repeal of Planned Developments Ordinance and the implementation
of Conditional Zoning would shift the process developers use to obtain variances from the
Planning Commission to the Board of Adjustment."

Whether Loveland City Manager Bill Cahill hired Limbaugh to initiate a similar reform process in
Loveland remains to be seen.
Loveland Hires New Director of
Community Planning and Development
Loveland's newly appointed Director
of Development Services
Brett Limbaugh