Voice of the River

Envision Gallatin FLUM Comment Guide

Gallatin County is entering the second phase of Envision Gallatin with the objective of creating a Future Land Use Map (FLUM) and Housing Strategy (HS). The FLUM will help inform future zoning regulations, guide development for the county, and ultimately help protect the Gallatin River.

Public feedback is important to ensure that future land uses are informed by residents who live and work here, and that the FLUM ultimately guides development in a way that honors the community’s desire to protect what it loves.

There are 3 ways to comment by April 14, 2024. 

The Gallatin River Task Force is encouraging the Big Sky community and lovers of the Gallatin to provide comments and feedback. The county, and the Gallatin, need your voice to prioritize the health of the river throughout the planning process. Not sure what or how to comment with the Gallatin in mind? We’ve got you covered with our commenting tips, below. 

As GRTF provides our own comments, we’re thinking about how we are protecting the Gallatin by advocating for riverside buffer zones, prioritizing buildings to be connected to centralized water and sewer districts, and emphasizing sustainable building practices that incorporate water conservation in order to keep our headwaters clean

General tips for Public Comment

Our guide is organized by the topics addressed in the existing conditions map:

Sub-areas (Gallatin Co. is divided into seven sub-areas for planning purposes)

  • This is a good space to comment on general ideas relating to the Gallatin and the Big Sky area, including collaboration between Gallatin and Madison Counties 

Existing Land Use (how properties are currently being used)

  • This map is a good place to comment on any existing or future building developments, as well as advocating for certain types of land use in specific areas. 

Agricultural Land & Agricultural Water User Facilities (irrigated farmland)

  • Big Sky is a headwaters community – our water and development decisions impact the valley through ecosystem services and groundwater recharges for agricultural lands. 

Sensitive Lands, Hazards, & Resources (floods, wetland/riparian areas, wastewater treatment)

  • Man-made hazards such as septic systems are a top polluter of the Gallatin. This is a space to advocate for any new developments to be connected to a centralized water and sewer district, such as the proposed canyon sewer water district. 
  • Natural hazards like wildfires are of high concern in Big Sky. This is a good place to comment on the need for water conservation practices and fixtures in new building developments, as well as planned drought-resistant and native plant landscaping. 

Wildlife & Wildlife Habitat (river channel migration zones and wildlife areas)

  • Many parts of the Gallatin River are in core wildlife habitat, this wildlife is reliant on the Gallatin to support plants and animal diversity more than any other ecosystem in the state. 
  • Advocate for buffers that support water quality and natural flooding/erosion and are healthy for fish populations. Fishing is a top recreational and economic driver for Big Sky, which is an important factor to keep in mind when building new developments. 

Local Services & Public Facilities (access to water and sewer, fire protection)

  • Advocate that any new major developments need to be connected to a water and sewer district instead of septic systems.
  • Advocate that the legal availability of water does not guarantee physical availability of water. Aggressive development may not be sustainable and may place a burden on the community. Utilize zoning as a tool to minimize the number of exempt wells. 
  • Note tributaries and impairments on the map

Public Lands (land managed by public agencies) 

  • Public lands without development are important for protecting water quality and wildlife habitat connectivity.  
  • Public lands and access to recreation play a key role for communities in attracting employers and business. Open space and public lands add value to local economies, offering a richer business environment and a high quality of life for residents. 

Community Experience (environmental burden)

  • The Gallatin holds high community value for recreational, economical, and natural aesthetic purposes beyond ecosystem services. This is worth keeping in mind in development considerations.  

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