Planting scheduled at Moose Creek Flats

GALLATIN RIVER TASK FORCE

The Gallatin River Task Force is seeking volunteers to help plant roughly 300 trees and shrubs at the Moose Creek Flat Recreational Area as a part of a large-scale stream restoration project.

The Moose Creek Flat Recreational Area Restoration Project was initiated in 2013 as a means of addressing degraded river access sites on the mainstem Gallatin River. After years of planning, design and fundraising, GRTF in partnership with the Custer Gallatin National Forest began work in the fall of 2017. Project activities include planting native willows, stabilizing streambanks with bioengineering methods, improving the trail system, and installing a stairway, boat ramp and kayak launch.

The volunteer planting event will begin on Tuesday, May 1, at 9:30 a.m. All of the holes for the trees and shrubs will be dug with an auger. Volunteers should be prepared to unload plants from the truck, haul them to planting holes, plant and backfill holes, and haul buckets of water from the river to water the trees and shrubs. Volunteers should bring appropriate clothing and layers, water, food and a shovel if they’ve got one.

For more information, contact Jack Murray, GRTF Big Sky Watershed Corps member, at (406) 993-2519 or jack@gallatinrivertaskforce.org.

Nonprofits partner for annual Give Big event

EBS STAFF

The annual Give Big Gallatin Valley event will return May 3 and 4 as a way to connect community members with local nonprofits. This is a 24-hour fundraising campaign intended to make it easy for individuals to donate to causes they care about.

In Big Sky, several organizations will partner together for this event.

On Thursday, May 3, from 6–8 p.m. Luxe Spirits and Sweets will host a donor lounge offering people that donate during the event a free glass of Prosecco or dessert. Individuals from the Gallatin River Task Force and Big Sky Community Organization will be on-hand to answer questions about their organizations.

On Friday, May 4, Compass Café will host a donor lounge for BSCO. From 12–2 p.m., anyone that donates $25 or more will receive a free dessert or drink from the juice bar. Complimentary coffee will be served and the BSCO staff will be available to answer questions and provide information about trail projects and programming.

Also on Friday, representatives from the GRTF will be available at Lone Peak Brewery to answer questions.

The online campaign begins at 6 p.m. on May 3 and will run for 24 hours. For more information, call (406) 993-2112 or visit givebiggv.org. Donations are accepted through the website and a donor station will be set up at Caliber Coffee in the West Fork Village from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 4 for those donating by cash or check.

May 8 election features school district levy, resort tax candidates

Resort tax applications due April 30

EBS STAFF

In the coming weeks, Big Sky residents will have the opportunity to cast votes on a mill levy proposed by the school, as well as decide on two members to sit on the Big Sky Resort Area district board.

Election ballots were mailed to voters April 23 and are due to the Gallatin County Election Office by 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 8.

This year, the Big Sky School District is asking for a one-year general fund levy of $40,000, which will be used to pay higher salaries to teaching staff. If approved, homeowners’ taxes would rise approximately $3.89 for the year for a home valued at $200,000.

In addition to the levy, the school board will have two trustee seats on the ballot and incumbents Matt Jennings and Margo Magnant are running unopposed. Magnant interviewed for a position with the Missoula Chamber of Commerce the day after the candidate-filing deadline with the Gallatin County Election Department, and ultimately took the job. She will be moving to Missoula, and if elected, will resign from the school board and a new trustee will be appointed to serve out her term.

Voters will also select two new board members for the Big Sky Resort Area District tax board. The candidates in this year’s election are Sarah Blechta, Paul “Buz” Davis, Steve Johnson and Craig Smit.

BSRAD has a projected $7.6 million available for appropriations this year and applications for funds are due to the resort tax office by April 30. The 3-percent tax is collected on “luxury” goods and services, and funds public infrastructure, organizations and tourism initiatives in this unincorporated resort community.

Meadowview subdivision receives preliminary approval

EBS STAFF

On April 24, Gallatin County commissioners unanimously approved the preliminary plat for the Meadowview Condominiums subdivision, a 52-unit affordable housing project north of the Big Sky Community Park off Little Coyote Drive.
The planned units are 14 duplexes, and 12 freestanding units with a smaller garage apartment unit, with studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom options.

The owner of the property, Meadowview II, LLC, requested relaxation of certain Gallatin Canyon subdivision regulations, which was met with some objections from neighborhood residents.

But as Gallatin County Planner Tim Skop said, they were waiver requests, not variance requests. Waiver requests come from a place of not wanting to disturb the existing environment any more than necessary, he explained, while asking for a variance is more of a refusal to meet a particular requirement.

For example, Skop said the developers asked for a reduction in a road right of way—not the width of the pavement but the room left on either side of it—so they wouldn’t have to cut into the hillside any more than was necessary.
To get these waivers, developers have to incorporate quality of life enhancers such as open spaces and trails into the property.

“The project was approved,” Skop said. “The commission seems to think it’s a pretty nice development.”

The developers must now meet a list of conditions and infrastructure requirements in order to receive final approval on the project, such as road building, installing fire hydrants and road signage, and putting in water and sewer connections, among many other stipulations.

“In general this stuff doesn’t happen overnight,” Skop said, referring to the requirements that need to be met before receiving final plat approval. “My guess it will take them most of the summer.”