Must attend! Stillwater County Planning Board: Wednesday, August 7, 7pm

The next meeting of the Stillwater County Planning Board will be held this Wednesday, August 7, at the Stillwater County Pavilion in Columbus at 7pm. Please plan to attend. This is a critical meeting at which the Board will consider a draft set of regulations on a county initiated zone along the Beartooth Front in southern Stillwater County.

It is important for proponents to be in attendance and voice their support. It is expected that there will be opposition to the zone in attendance.

Note that the meeting is at a new location. The Stillwater County Pavilion is at 328 E. 5th Avenue in Columbus.

This will be the third consecutive monthly meeting at which the Board has considered the proposal from landowners to form a zone that will regulate land use related to oil and gas activity. At the July  meeting the Board directed the landowner group to develop a draft set of regulations for the board to review.

The meetings have taken place because of an agreement between the County Commissioners and the landowners in the Beartooth Front Coalition to suspend the landowners’ lawsuit against the County. The initial 60 day suspension has been extended by an additional 45 days to allow discussions on the zone to continue.

The Planning Board’s actions have to date followed a Road Map developed by the landowners in May. The plan calls for the Board to direct the development of a final draft of regulations to approve and send to the County Commissioners for adoption.

To read the draft regulations, click on this photo of the Stillwater River at sunset. Much of the Upper Stillwater is included in the proposed zone.

Click on the panoramic photo of the Beartooth Front below to view a presentation describing the base standards required by the zoning regulations. The presentation, which will be given at the meeting, compares these standards to existing laws and standards in other states and Montana counties. It is clear that what the landowners are asking for is similar to what is required in other jurisdictions and does not contradict or duplicate existing Montana law.

Please try to attend if you can. We are at the critical stages of winning approval for this project that landowners have worked toward for six years. We need to show Stillwater County officials that your support for our efforts is unwavering.

Background materials:

Background reading
Stillwater County News: “Workable Framework” adopted for potential southern county zone
Action alert: Your attendance needed at Stillwater County Planning Board meeting, July 3, 2019
Action alert: New developments in landowner lawsuit against Stillwater County; what you can do to help – posted June 3, 2019

Materials presented at the June 5 Planning meeting:
Beartooth Front Zoning District Overview
Zoning District Map
Overview of Proposed Regulation

More information on the history of this landowner effort
Beartooth Front Landowners present hundreds of signatures to Stillwater County Commissioners to set up oil and gas zoning district (with video)
Do mineral rights have anything to do with citizen initiated zones in Montana?
Stillwater County Commissioners turn their backs on locals who pay their salaries; support unknown outsiders
Beartooth Front landowners file legal action against Stillwater County Commissioners
Landowners show up for hearing on Beartooth Front lawsuit

Court documents
Court documents and other records related to the lawsuit between the landowners and the Stillwater County Commissioners can be found at the Beartooth Front Coalition website.

About davidjkatz

The Moses family has lived on the Stillwater River since 1974, when George and Lucile Moses retired and moved to the Beehive from the Twin Cities. They’re gone now, but their four daughters (pictured at left, on the Beehive) and their families continue to spend time there, and have grown to love the area. This blog started as an email chain to keep the family informed about the threat of increased fracking activity in the area, but the desire to inform and get involved led to the creation of this blog.
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