BILLINGS – The Billings City County Zoning Commission unanimously voted Monday to approve a special review for a proposed gravel pit on Billings West End.
The Royal Johnson Community Room at the Billings Public Library was full of members of the public for the meeting.
The zoning commission was acting on the recommendation of planning staff for the review for construction of the nearly 116-acre project on Wise Lane and Story Road near Oscar’s Park.
Representatives of FirstMark Construction, which is developing the project, were also at the meeting.
After reviewing the proposal, the commission opened the meeting to public comment, which lasted about an hour. Everyone who spoke raised concerns about the project, including public safety, traffic congestion and its proximity to Canyon Creek School.
“Property owners in this area have legitimate concerns in regards to several issues,” the Superintendent of Canyon Creek School said today at the meeting. “Some of them involving noise pollution, increased traffic water rights, adequate water table management and most importantly reduction in property value.”
The co-owner of Swanky Roots Veronnaka Evenson also talked about her concerns.
“We asked for research to be done as to if our well water is going to be affected. We have over one hundred and forty gallons thousand gallons of water in our system. It is what our plants grow in it is the livelihood. and I have yet been shown that it won’t have any impact. I was told it probably shouldn’t,” Evenson said.
Evenson also told the group “we have over $1 million invested in this business and ‘probably shouldn’t’ isn’t good enough for me.”
After considering the public’s comments, the commission voted to advance the review to Yellowstone County commissioners, who have the final on the project.
The meeting is scheduled for late January.