By Mira Brody EBS STAFF
GALLATIN COUNTY – Gallatin County is the fastest-growing county in the state of Montana. As the community grows, county leaders are seeking input from those who live and work here that will help guide the Gallatin County Growth Policy Update, “Envision Gallatin.” The plan will act as the county’s overarching land use policy document for growth and development moving forward.
Envision Gallatin will outline the county’s land use vision, set forth meaningful goals and provide a practical path for implementation. To gather community input, Envision Gallatin has released a questionnaire that contains goals and policies that represent the community’s vision for the future, intended to balance a variety of interests and concerns.
“I certainly think intrinsically being involved in your community is important whether your community is growing fast or not—it’s just a civic duty,” said Garrett McAllister, senior planner at Gallatin County Department of Planning & Community Development. “I think that this plan and this policy is important in terms of land use and development. Folks will get a chance to express what’s important to them.”
Although Envision Gallatin is only 15 months in the making, the last plan was published in 2003, so the county quickly prioritized the creation of a new one. This survey is part of chapter six out of nine and the document in its entirety will be completed and released to the public before the end of the year. McAllister says it sets the foundation for everything else the county does.
“Our real goal of this chapter is to take all public outreach and distill it into meaningful, useful policy,” he said. “At the heart of this document, it’s really about what we do with the land in Gallatin County—do we preserve it, or develop it all?”
You can take the questionnaire at EnvisionGallatin.com, contribute to as many or as few topics as you are interested in and fill in any goals or policies that should be added or revised. Topics range from housing, culture and heritage to environment and transportation. Depending on what you care about most in the place you call home, the questionnaire provides residents the opportunity to have their voice heard.
Public input from the survey will be directly integrated into the plan, whether those values are to protect open space, increase access to recreation, meet growing transportation needs—whatever the community hopes for the future of the Gallatin valley.