Gallatin County officials have issued land-holding numbers in the proposed Southern Valley Zoning District around Gallatin Gateway, County Clerk and Recorder Charlotte Mills said Friday.

Last month, the Gallatin County Commission approved four zoning districts to govern gravel operations in the Gallatin Gateway area, the Belgrade and Manhattan planning jurisdictions and the Churchill-Amsterdam neighborhood planning area.

While Belgrade, Manhattan and Churchill will have comprehensive zoning regulations to match ongoing planning, the Gateway-area district was proposed by the county, much to the chagrin of some large landowners in the area.

During public hearings held over the past month, zoning opponents have claimed the county wasn't prepared to tackle the issue and lacked necessary data to determine if a protest is successful. County officials decided they will count protests based on ag and forest acreage.

An effort to kill the Southern Valley Zoning District is underway and, under the law, doing so would require 40 percent of the property owners or 50 percent of the ground that is taxed as agricultural or forest land to file protests.

The proposed district encompasses 35,073 acres, Mills said. Of those, land taxed as agricultural totals 26,019 acres; forest ground accounts for 684 acres. The total number of property owners in the district is 1,467.

The next step, Mills said, is to calculate the same breakdown for Belgrade, Manhattan and Churchill. Those numbers should be ready later this week.

The 30-day protest period for all four districts ends April 27; protests must be received in Mills' office in the Gallatin County Courthouse by then.