...WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL MIDNIGHT MDT
* WHAT...Heavy snow. Additional snow accumulations between 2 and 5
inches at lower elevations, with 5 to 12 inches over higher
terrain. The highest totals will occur over the east and
northeastern slopes of the Tobacco Root Mountains.
* WHERE...Big Belt, Bridger and Castle Mountains, Gallatin Valley,
Gallatin and Madison County Mountains and Centennial Mountains,
Madison River Valley and Ruby Mountains and Southern Beaverhead
* WHEN...Until Midnight MDT tonight.
* IMPACTS...Travel will very difficult. Those in the backcountry
should ensure they have appropriate knowledge and gear and may
want to consider alternate plans. The hazardous conditions could
impact the Friday evening commute.
If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in
your vehicle in case of an emergency. The latest road conditions can
be obtained by calling 5 1 1 or visiting the MDT Road Report website.
To see a graphical representation of the degree of stress on young
livestock please visit our webpage and select Local Programs then
Cold Air Advisory for Newborn Livestock.
The first gravel pit went through the Gallatin County regulatory
chute Tuesday with very little fanfare compared to the hordes
crowding the courthouse during the gravel debates earlier this
The TMC, Inc.-run Morgan pit, located in the Gallatin Gateway
area, went before the Gallatin County Planning Board Tuesday and
was granted approval in 5-3 vote. TMC is the first company to
adhere to the newly minted conditional use permitting process
adopted when the County Commission passed emergency interim zoning
ordinance in May. Residents in numerous parts of the county
expressed concerns over new and amended pits around Belgrade,
Churchill, Four Corners and Gallatin Gateway.
TMC officials and members from the county planning department
met last Friday to go over the requirements, County Planner Tom
Rogers said. The two groups went through each of the 46 conditions
and made some minor changes.
The board had little discussion over findings in the document,
but focused mainly on the conditions. Under the proposal, the
conditions will last 10 years once the mine receives a permit from
Montana Department of Environmental Quality, along with all other
permits necessary to conduct business.
The conditions address hours of operation, environmental
quality, traffic, noise, dust, weeds and daily operations,
according to planning documents.
The county permitting process is designed to meet residents’
concerns over the mining operations that may not be addressed by
the state, County Planning Director Greg Sullivan said.
For example, according to the DEQ application, the Morgan pit
will not mine into the groundwater but right above it. Even so, the
conditional use permit calls for the mine remain one to four feet
above the water table. County planners borrowed the requirement
from septic tank regulations, Rogers said, and the move should
promote irrigation practices after reclamation.
“It was the best solution available,” he said.
During numerous hearings held earlier this year, lines of
residents spoke against the mines citing reduced property values
from allowing a gravel pit to operate nearby. But the document does
not address that issue.
In the staff report, planners said property values would
probably be better discussed in the public arena when the county
commission hears the matter next week.
“It’s a very difficult issue to address, but it’s very
significant,” Rogers said.
Board members Deb Kimball-Robinson, Marianne Jackson Amsdem and
vice chair Gail Richardson voted against the permit request, citing
issues like groundwater concerns, additional traffic on Highway 191
and reduced property values, among others, as reasons for shooting
down the permit.
“Here we have one property owner seeking to make a profit at the
expense of their neighbors,” Amsdem said.
The issue will go before the commission on Nov. 5.