Public hearing is Dec. 18
By Emily Stifler Explorebigsky.com Managing Editor

BECKMAN FLATS – The billboard in the north end of the Gallatin Canyon has been a source of contention since Saunders Outdoor Advertising installed it in April 2009.

The Ogden, Utah-based company is now appealing a decision by the county that prevents it from lighting the sign, located in the Beckman Flats area at Mile Marker 64 along U.S. Highway 191.

The Gallatin County Compliance Office ruled Aug. 29 that Saunders lost its “grandfathered” right to illuminate the billboard, a response to citizen complaints requesting an enforcement action to have the lights turned off.

The North Gallatin Canyon Zoning Regulations has a “use it or lose it” clause that applies to outdoor advertising signs, and since Saunders didn’t light the sign from mid-2010 to February 2012, it lost that right.

There will be a public hearing on Dec. 18 at the County Courthouse in Bozeman.

“I think everybody hopes he would take the sign and… put it in a more appropriate place,” said part-time Gallatin Canyon resident Thomas Riegelman, an outspoken opponent of the billboard.

“We’re trying to mobilize people from the community to attend the hearing and continue to support the position of the county in their interpretation of the zoning regulations.”

Weston Saunders, one of the owners, declined to comment for the story.