Gallatin County Commissioners this week will hold what they expect to be at least one day's worth of contentious meetings over a proposal to form a handful of special districts to control gravel mining.

Set to begin today and last all day, commissioners will vote on whether the county should have a hand in regulating gravel pits. Commissioner Steve White said Monday the commission is expecting "a packed house" for the meeting, which could spill over into Wednesday.

People in the Gallatin Gateway area have generated the most buzz so far, he said, adding that people both in favor of and opposed to a proposed "south valley" zoning district in the Gateway area have been keeping the commission's phone lines and e-mail boxes busy. People from other parts of the valley, though, have been less vocal.

"I don't know how much attention this is getting around Belgrade," White said.

Commissioners plan to hold four public hearings to set boundaries and parameters for four proposed zoning districts within which current and future gravel pits would be required to acquire conditional-use permits. The districts are intended to mitigate the impacts of gravel pits on surrounding property owners.

The county is currently operating under interim regulations passed in May 2008. The regulations were enacted over residents' concerns about issues like dust, noise, and water quality associated with nearby pits. They expire May 7 and the proposed zoning districts would replace them.

--Big Sky News Service contributed to this report