The Gallatin County Commission Tuesday delayed a vote to extend emergency interim zoning until April 28, after County Commissioner Joe Skinner returns from vacation, Chairman Steve White said.

According to rules, the chairman oversees meetings, and White said the gravel issue demands the attention of the full commission.

"I would prefer to do this with three commissioners," he said. "Nothing would be worse than walking in there thinking one way and have the room filled with people on one side or the other and you would wish the entire board were present."

Commissioners enacted emergency interim zoning on May 7, 2008, and under state law, the commission can stretch the interim for an additional year, county planner Tom Rogers said Monday. The Gravel Pit Task Force, formed after adoption of interim zoning to seek long-term solutions, has recommended extending the zoning ordinance. The nine-member task force is made up of industry representatives, residents and city and county planning board members.

Concerned residents approached county officials two times — in November 2007 and May 2008 — after numerous new and expanding pits cropped up around the Gallatin Valley. The commission turned down the earlier request because the board couldn’t be convinced an emergency existed, but voted in the measure in May largely because the mines in question where located in the Belgrade growth area.

Due to a public outcry and the number of pits expanding or coming online, the commission voted to adopt the zoning ordinance countywide. Since then, the county planning office has drafted rules to govern mines, much like subdivision review, requiring operators to mitigate neighbor’s concerns.

Both Skinner and Commissioner Bill Murdock said they support the extension, but White said Tuesday his mind wasn’t made up, mostly because he has never been in favor of imposing the ordinance countywide.