Bridger Canyon POA

Welcome to the Bridger Canyon Property Owners' Association section.

"The purpose of this corporation shall be to do everything in its power to preserve the rural character and the natural beauty and resources of Bridger Canyon and the State of Montana; to use its best efforts in guiding and directing orderly growth and development; to maintain, through organization, a definite influence in all matters which may affect residence or property rights and enjoyment thereof by its members; and to hold regular meetings for open discussions of problems of mutual interest and concern to those land owners."

The Association has a very informative web site at www.bcpoa.net. To find up-to-date info, just check that site. Some of the info is linked here - see below.

The Bridger Canyon Zoning documents are here:
http://www.gallatin.mt.gov/Public_Documents/gallatincomt_plandept/1zoning/districts/BrC_Bridger_Canyon_Regs.Nov08.pdf

Property owners may add notices here for the benefit of all members. Just click on 'Add to Bridger Canyon POA'.

    Bridger Canyon POA News and Events

  • Zoning Appeal Re: Barns
    Dear neighbors,

    Here's another update on the zoning front.

    As you may recall, the membership at the May General Meeting voted overwhelmingly to appeal the commission's grant of a variance to enable conversion of old barns to guesthouse/recreational use, within the setback from Bridger Creek. As is too often the case, this was an episode of build-first-permit-later, and we were puzzled to see the commission seemingly content to see its authority flouted. There's more background
    here:
    http://bcpoa.net/2013/04/variance-hearing/

    BCPOA has appealed the commission's decision, granting a variance that allows the project to proceed. While this is a very messy, multilayered case, the points we would like to make are simple. For example,
    - The commission should not lightly set aside objective standards, merely because it likes a project, for then standards have no meaning.
    - Saving pennies through poor documentation and circumvention of procedures is enormously costly in the long run, as citizens are denied due process and confusion propagates errors.

    The first issue we are contesting is that the commission did not issue a proper written decision; it merely delivered the verdict, making reference to the audio recording of the proceedings. That makes it difficult to distinguish actual findings from mere discussion, and imposes additional burdens on anyone who desires to review or contest a decision. This is a constitutional issue, and if we prevail on this point, we may recover our costs. However, in that case, a likely outcome is that the judge would remand the case to the commission for a fresh statement of the decision, essentially restarting the process.

    Getting to the meat of the case, it's still complicated. There are actually two standards for a variance, one via the P&Z commission, and one via the county commission. Rather than considering them sequentially, as is proper, both were heard together. We don't believe that either standard was met, but this further mingles procedural and substantive issues.

    The variance case was actually heard twice. Initially, the commission denied it. Then, circumventing regulations that prevent rehearing an application within one year, the commission reconsidered the variance a month later, under the pretense that it had been 'withdrawn' and re-presented with new information.

    As if that weren't enough, the commission only considered the question of a variance after it had already granted a Conditional Use Permit for the project. This is backwards, because the CUP is moot without the variance, and the discussion of standards among the two proceedings was somewhat mingled and confused.

    As the case now stands, BCPOA has filed its initial complaint, and the parties have responded. We have moved for summary judgment on the constitutional issue of adequacy of the written decision.

    We have met with the other parties to agree on what documents constitute the official record. The county has fought tooth and nail to exclude a few documents, including its own variance evaluation criteria and public sewer permit records. We are somewhat puzzled by this, as they are part of the evidence of a pattern of errors and omissions, but not decisive in themselves. This wrangling increases our costs, deterring future appeals.
    (By contrast, BCPOA cheerfully granted the applicant's request to intervene, though it is not in our favor and we could have contested it, because we felt that it was right to do so and minimized cost and delay to all
    concerned.)

    Next, we must file a brief on the substance of the case, though we are hoping to defer that until the constitutional question has been heard.

    Supporting documents are posted at
    http://bcpoa.net/2014/02/variance-appeal-update/

    For the moment, BCPOA is adequately financed, in part due to the very generous rate reduction that our attorney, Brian Gallik, has granted us. Our legal committee, Deb Stratford, Richard Lyon, Charlie Hager & Chuck Broughton, has also put in many volunteer hours. There may yet come a time when we need to appeal for funding, but for the moment we hope we can use our resources for other purposes. In any event, thank you for your support, past and future.

    Regards,

    Tom Fiddaman
  • Drawing the Community Together
    Dear neighbors,

    In issuing her decision halting the recall election effort, Judge Brown counseled all residents of Bridger Canyon to think hard about what the Canyon means to both Canyon residents and the rest of Gallatin County. We are a fortunate few who inhabit a landscape of beauty and a heritage of shared values. Our zoning regulations reflect shared values for not just the details of development but for the quality and comity of our community fabric.

    In the spirit of moving forward, BCPOA will be archiving the discussion associated with the recall effort and focusing our efforts on events which draw the community together. BCPOA will remain neutral on this topic, because board members feel that it’s not our role to adjudicate issues that have their own political process.

    We would like to see the vicious cycle of escalating personal conflict made virtuous. It will take mutual respect and tolerance, and a reduction in the rhetorical excesses we’ve seen. We hope that this can occur, even as a new recall petition gets underway. We have far more to gain working together on our many challenges and much to lose as a fractured community.

    The BCPOA Board
  • Auction, Director, Fire Dept
    Hi Neighbors,

    I’d like to welcome Drew Seessel to the BCPOA board, representing Jackson Creek.

    The election is on hold, pending a in the trustees suit to block the recall. http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/county/article_84ab7b30-6115-11e3-a61d-0019bb2963f4.html A preliminary hearing will be held tomorrow (Wed.) at 10:30. Many of the legal filings are at http://bcfdsafetycoalition.org/2014/01/13/legal-documents-pertaining-to-the-boards-suit-to-stop-the-recall-effort/ .

    If you’ve been skiing at Bridger, you’ve probably seen that Bridger Canyon Partners’ remaining piece of the Base Area is up for auction on March 20th (see attached photo).

    The web link leads to http://www.conciergeauctions.com/auctions/crosscut-ranch-bozeman-montana-59715/ which lists the property as, “Ideal for use as a gentleman’s ranch, with development & conservation opportunities, over four commercial acres, 2 creeks and direct access to the Bridger and Bangtail mountains with ski-in ability and ski-out potential, the property is a great balance of open meadows, diverse plant life ¬and abundant wildlife. Previously offered for $16M. Selling to the highest bidder on March 20th.”

    The 259 acre parcel represents about ¾ of Bridger Canyon Partners’ original holdings. The remainder – a parcel south and east of the parking lot - was sold to Bridger Bowl. $16M would be a bit over $60,000 an acre, which would be well above the price paid by BB, but similar to the price paid in the transfer of 14 acres for Bridger Pines’ sewer system.

    We can certainly hope for a conservation-minded buyer, without ambitions for a 500+ unit development. Could we also dream of a way to put much of the property into a land trust or similar mechanism, preserving the headwaters of Bridger Creek while continuing access to recreation?

    Tom Fiddaman
    BCPOA
  • Zoning Reg Updates
    Hi Neighbors -

    Just a quick reminder that zoning regulation updates are (still) underway.
    You can track the process at
    http://zoning.posterous.com/
    There's a useful summary post from a recent update to the commissioners, http://zoning.posterous.com/staff-memo-to-pz-for-oct-hearing

    The next meeting of the advisory board will be Jan. 7th, at the courthouse, public welcome. We also plan to hold a workshop at the fire station at some point to bring everyone up to date.

    Tom
  • Web Site w/info on Fire Departments
    http://www.volunteerfd.org/article/292483/
  • MT Supreme Court upholds barn enforcement decision
    It has been a long and expensive road, starting with a complaint in Jan.
    2010, but Bridger Canyon zoning has been upheld by the Montana Supreme Court.

    In winter 2009/2010, owner Randy Theken's builder, Kevin Botz, began construction of a barn without a permit, in a location designated as open space by the Brass Lantern planned unit development (PUD), near the M. The county enforcement agent recommended amending the PUD to create a convoluted building envelope that would legalize the violation, with a trivial fine. We felt that this was an abdication of the county's responsibility to enforce our zoning. When we surveyed Canyon residents, you overwhelmingly agreed that enforcement was not optional, and that selective enforcement was unfair to law-abiding residents. At public hearings, residents spoke out ten to one against modification. The commission agreed, and subsequently issued a removal order for the structure.

    Theken subsequently appealed the removal order and the denial of the CUP to amend the PUD. The county defended the appeal, and BCPOA joined as an intervener. We felt that it was important to support the county and to ensure that the zoning regulation was defended by those who know it best - the citizens of Bridger Canyon who created it. In January, Judge Salvagni denied all points of the appeal, finding that enforceable building envelopes really do exist, that the original developer voluntarily surrendered control over open space and other aspects of the development in exchange for added density, and that exemptions to zoning of agricultural _lands_ do not apply to the location of agricultural or recreational _structures_, particularly where the primary land use is residential, and PUD open space controls exist.

    Theken appealed the decision to the Montana Supreme Court, claiming that the Commission abused its discretion, and arguing that a constitutional taking had occurred. The Supreme Court denied the appeal, dismissing undeveloped constitutional claims, and finding:

    Section 13.1 sets forth the purpose
    of a PUD and was rightly considered by the Commission in determining whether [Theken]'s application to modify the PUD was justified. Section 13.1 reflects an intention to preserve and enhance open spaces and unique natural features, protect areas of wildlife habitat, reduce the visual impact of development, and preserve scenic vistas and the rural atmosphere.
    ... Allowing a modification to a CUP that could circumvent the purposes of a PUD would be detrimental to the regulatory scheme as a whole developed by the Commission.

    The decision is here:
    http://bcpoadocs.posterous.com/supreme-court-opinion-on-theken-barn-in-brass

    This is a good day for Bridger Canyon zoning. I can't name everyone right now, but thanks are due to many Bridger Canyon residents and BCPOA board members who supported meaningful enforcement with research, testimony and funding. We're also grateful to the BC Zoning Commission for sticking up for our regulations, Gallatin County for defending its decision ably, via attorney Jennifer Farve, and our attorney, Brian Gallik.

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

    Tom Fiddaman
    BCPOA Chair

    Some detailed history, in case you need some extra sleep on this Thanksgiving eve:

    April, 2010:

    Thank you all who responded by email or on our survey form. I've posted responses as of today here:
    http://bit.ly/b3bXp6

    Briefly, the responses are overwhelmingly in favor of strong zoning enforcement. At least 90% of responses said something like,

    'We must insist that the county follow the rules. It is not fair to property owners to allow violations that can obstruct our valuable views and reduce the value of our properties.'

    'Although I would like to be lenient, the problem is that each infringement sets a precedence that creates a new standard. ... I see no practical possibility of selectively enforcing the ordinances.'

    'We have to be aggressive, or we might as well just forget the zoning.'

    Many identified a teardown as the appropriate response. Several suggested legal action against the county if the enforcement response was inadequate.

    Two responses expressed ambivalence about enforcement and enthusiasm for barns, as in:

    'We can't help but feel that it's a sad commentary when barns are this controversial in Montana. We have never felt that a barn detracted from the landscape and if this was to actually be a barn in the traditional sense, it seems wrong to deny the horses on this property a shelter. Was it just the placement of the barn that was at odds with the regulations?'

    The issue with this barn is indeed placement, but also procedures. The structure would be acceptable within the building envelope designated for the site, but even so it is not acceptable to build without a permit. (Had the builder sought a permit, the current situation could have been avoided.)

    I don't think anyone wants to waste resources with a teardown. However, it's important to remember that exceptions have wider repercussions. The zoning does not distinguish between good architecture and a lime green metal building, or between a 1700 sq ft barn and a 7100 sq ft arena. A modest exception in one place could set a precedent for a disaster somewhere else.

    The beauty of a barn vs. the curve of a ridge may be in the eye of the beholder, but there's more than views at stake here. Building envelopes are also intended to protect open space for wildlife, watercourses, and other natural resources.

    If this were an ordinary lot in the canyon, there would be few site restrictions. However, this is a PUD. At the underlying density of one dwelling per 40 acres, there could be two dwellings on the 100 acres in Brass Lantern, but the PUD provided five. That's a huge density bonus, easily worth more than a million dollars today. The price for that added density is supposed to be development of better quality and location of density in more appropriate areas, hence the building envelopes and other restrictions. The density is permanent, so the restrictions should be permanently enforced if the deal is to be fair to all of us.

    As several responders pointed out, if zoning is not enforced it might as well be repealed - that would at least be fairer to those who follow the rules. Allowing PUD density everywhere would have a profound effect. Fully built out at the underlying zoning of one-per-40 acres, the canyon could already triple in population to over 1300 households, becoming bigger than Big Sky is today. At the PUD density of 1-in-20, there could be nearly two Big Skies.

    Future density is probably the most fundamental question that the upcoming zoning update must address. As the process gets going, we'll be seeking your input about future visions for the canyon.

    Thanks again for all the responses - this will be excellent support for our efforts to get the county to take meaningful action.
    Tom Fiddaman, President BCPOA
  • Update on Zoning Actions - Tom Fiddaman
    Dear neighbors,

    Here's a quick update on some zoning actions:

    - In a conditional use application, county analysis placed structures in the wrong zoning district and failed to cite relevant setbacks and definitions.
    - The zoning was amended to convert the right to transfer density into the Bridger Bowl Base Area into an absolute right to build 200 houses there.
    - To evade requirements that parcels in a Planned Unit Development be contiguous, the commission approved a project including a strip of land - not a legal parcel - 10 feet wide and 2500 feet long.
    - In response to a zoning complaint, an enforcement agent concluded that nailing a few old boards to a new building constituted preservation of 25% of the value of the original structure, then took over three months to respond to challenges to this rationale.
    - While legally defending its decision to deny an extension of a building envelope onto a visible ridgeline, the commission approved the extension of a building envelope onto a visible ridgeline.

    I wish I could say 'April Fools,' but sadly all of these things really happened, some this year, some in years past. BCPOA has often been the only voice for rule of law and preservation of the natural beauty of Bridger Canyon.

    It's not cheap defending the zoning. BCPOA legal costs this year exceeded $10,000. This was met in part through $25 memberships, but substantially through additional donations of up to $1000. A few residents are doing an exceptional share of the heavy lifting when it comes to legal defense. So, when you get your BCPOA dues notice in the mail this week, please consider pitching in with $50, $100 or more. Your membership and contributions support 100s of hours of volunteer work, plus maintenance of communications like this list, and sharing of information on topics like weeds and forest management. Thanks!

    On other topics,

    The bears are waking up, so don't forget proper management of bird feeders, garbage and other attractants. Allied Waste now has bearproof garbage cans.
    They cost a few dollars extra to pick up, because the driver has to jump out of the truck to unlock the can; we have one and find the peace of mind well worth the money. Allied let us keep our regular can and switch rates for winter use.

    Burn season started March 1st, but the Bear Trap Canyon fire shows that conditions are potentially hazardous, with dry fuel, low humidity and wind, so please be careful. See http://bridgercanyonfd.com/burnpermit.aspx or http://www.gallatin.mt.gov/public_documents/BurnPermit for permits.

    DEQ announced a finding of no significant impact for the Bridger Pines sewer system, so the project will be moving to its next steps.

    There will be a Zoning Advisory Board meeting on Monday, April 2nd, 5:30pm at the courthouse - see http://zoning.posterous.com/ for details. Members of the public are welcome, and public comment is taken at the beginning and end of each meeting.

    The BCPOA annual General Meeting is scheduled for May 21st. See you there!

    Tom Fiddaman
    BCPOA Chair

    >From the BCPOA Bylaws: 'The purpose of this corporation shall be to do
    everything in its power to preserve the rural character and the natural beauty and resources of Bridger Canyon and the State of Montana; to use its best efforts in guiding and directing orderly growth and development; to maintain, through organization, a definite influence in all matters which may affect residence or property rights and enjoyment thereof by its members; and to hold regular meetings for open discussions of problems of mutual interest and concern to those land owners.'
  • The Bridger to Bangtail Coalition (B2BC
    The Bridger to Bangtail Coalition (B2BC) is looking for new board members.
    Our current board members have served two or more terms and would like to see new blood in the group. Board member activities are light, including several board member meetings per year and coordination of one activity (arranging one educational event, participating in water quality monitoring, helping with highway cleanup, helping with HawkWatch or ….). B2BC often coordinates with non-profits, educational and government agencies to leverage their efforts in the B2BC local area.

    Board membership is not limited to canyon residents. Those interested should contact Gary Sager at:

    gsager@bclodge.com.

    • B2BC plans to continue with activities similar to those of 2010.

    • We have the opportunity to work with the Gallatin County Weed District to help land owners deal with weed problems, including possible financial help if funding is available.

    • We expect the amount of activity on Base Area Development to be minimal, as we are not aware of any ongoing commercial development initiatives at this time. However, we are prepared to participate in public comment if issues arise.

    http://b2bcoalition.org/
  • Bridger Pines Sewer System update
    11/12/11
    Dear neighbors,

    The following summarizes research by BCPOA’s zoning committee into the proposed replacement sewer system for the Bridger Pines subdivision in the Bridger Bowl Base Area. Monday is the last day of the comment period for the Environmental Assessment on the system.

    The current situation, with Bridger Pines’ existing system leaking into ground and surface waters at 8 times the legal rate, is a yet another example of the poor consequences of planning for density in excess of physical resources, forgiveness for building violations, and weak oversight.

    The proposed solution, a 4-acre storage pond area, trucking of sludge, and seasonal disposal of wastewater by spray irrigation on a 7-acre field at the base of the Bridger Bowl parking lot, is expected to bring the system into compliance. It has some technical advantages, e.g. reduction of nitrate deposition into groundwater. But it is not without risk, including failure of the pipeline or 2.8 million gallon storage pond, nor without aesthetic and possibly health consequences from odors and aerosols.

    No one wants the current rate of pollution to continue. But the proposed solution socializes the costs of past private mistakes, by imposing environmental risks on downstream neighbors and meeting much of the $3,000,000 system cost with grants and low-interest loans, and increases the environmental burden by facilitating the buildout of additional lots and condos.

    As a board, we have struggled to find the silver lining in this, or to identify a better solution. We welcome your comment (just reply to this email, and I’ll share it with the BCPOA board), and encourage you to read the public documents and comment on the Environmental Assessment, as this may be the only real checkpoint for public input.

    As always, this note will be echoed to the Bridger Canyon forum for archiving and open discussion,
    http://groups.google.com/group/bridger-canyon-forum/topics?pli=1

    Tom Fiddaman
    BCPOA Chair

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Bridger Pines County Water and Sewer District’s (BPCWSD) application to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for a new wastewater treatment facility is in the final phases of approval. An Amended Environmental Assessment was issued October 14, 2011 by the DEQ. Comments from the public, received by November 14, 2011, will be reviewed and considered by the DEQ before granting finial approval.

    The new facility, the estimated cost just shy of 3 Million Dollars, is being financed almost completely with tax-payer dollars. BPSWD (comprised of approximately 30 property owners) will put up approximately $32,000. The balance of the project will be funded from a combination of non-repayable grants and low interest loans from the DNRC, the State Revolving Fund (SRF) and the Treasury State Endowment Program (TSEP). The sewer district rated least deserving of TSEP funding out of 65 applications however, because Montana allocated Federal Stimulus dollars to the program declaring the projects “shovel ready”, funding was available to all 2009 TSEP applicants.

    A new 4.3 acre lagoon and spray irrigation field is slated to be located outside the sewer and water district boundaries on a newly created 13.88 acre parcel of land below the Bridger Bowl parking lot on the bench above Bridger Creek, about a quarter mile south of the homes it will be servicing. The new parcel, currently owned by Bridger Canyon Partners, LLC, is expected to be purchased by BPCSWD for $900,000.00. This is the same piece of land Bridger Canyon Partners, LLC identified as the location of the wastewater treatment facility in their proposed base area development plan application. The creation of the parcel, disallowed under Bridger Canyon Zoning Regulations, is enabled by Montana State Law exempting sewer and water districts from zoning regulations.

    The new treatment system proposes to pipe sewage from Bridger Pines across or under Maynard Creek, under the Bridger Bowl access road to deposit the sewage in the new location of the storage lagoon and spray irrigation field. The partially treated sewage will be stored in the new clay-bentonite lined lagoon over the winter months. During the summer months, the effluent will be sprayed over the remaining 7acres that will be put into hay production. The proposed system design is similar to the existing system servicing 20 units, except that the holding cell (lagoon) is sized for 58 dwelling units at 71 gpd per unit rather than 80 gpd per unit, its holding capacity to be 2.8 million gallons instead of 1million gallons; the new lagoon will not be aerated and the effluent will be disinfected as it is sprayed onto the new hay field rather than trucked to an off-site location. The lagoon and hay field will be fenced to protect persons and wildlife from entering the area.

    The development of Bridger Pines has a long troubled history spanning over 40 years. The steep terrain, soil conditions and abundance of surface water suggested a limited capacity of the land to support the developer’s proposed density of 30 single family home sites and 28 condominiums units on 30 acres in the Bridger Bowl Base Area. The City-County Planning Board concerned about water availability and sewage disposal approved the Bridger Pines Subdivision contingent on a “favorable” review from the Department of Health and Environmental Sciences (DHES), the State Agency responsible for the oversight of these types of activities at the time, August 10, 1971. The approval granted just shortly after the Bridger Canyon Zoning District was formalized and its General Development Plan adopted.

    Obtaining the necessary DHES approval proved difficult. The Developer’s submittals for sewage disposal were continuously rejected by the DHES for numerous and varied reasons. The DHES held to the opinion a permanent community wastewater disposal system needed to be planned for the entire [base] area given the high density anticipated by the newly formed zoning district. DHES stood by its opinion individual or multi-user interim or temporary systems were not appropriate for the area and denied developer’s proposals in March 1973. Removal of a few sanitary restrictions would not come until 1974 after a Land Use Permit for 10 condominium units was approved, on advice of the county attorney, by the Planning Department and an extensive EIS initiated for a proposed permanent sewage disposal system for the entire area. Before the draft EIS is completed the City-County Environmental Health Department and the DHES learn construction has begun on 10 condominiums units; this is in violation of Montana State Law and both agencies request legal action by the county attorney. The county attorney declines any action unless occupancy of the units is attempted. A finial EIS is presented for a scaled down, temporary sewage disposal system proposed for 20 homes and 10 condominiums. Despite extensive opposition, the DHES approves the revised proposal albeit with specific conditions and determines the water capacity is such that 5 condominiums are granted removal of sanitary restrictions. Its determined the construction of the sewage disposal system is not in compliance with the authorized plans and specifications, the liner of the lagoon is bentonite rather than the specified plastic liner required to permit zero seepage from the lagoon. Both the Developer and the DHES request hearings for a determination. The developer wins out and the plans and specifications are amended to meet the actual construction.

    Removal of additional sanitary restrictions, limited to 10 homes and 10 condominium units, is granted in 1977 as a result of improvements to the water supply system. But frequent system failures and infarctions, including failure to de-water the lagoon by truck transport off-site, frequent lagoon overflows, lagoon seepage into g round water, and poor system maintenance continue and no further construction is allowed until the issues are resolved.

    That brings us to today and an opportunity to participate in the decision making process by commenting on the Amended Environmental Assessment. The question is, will the new system resolve the problem and improve the health of Bridger Canyon and the water quality or will it be more detrimental. The final decision will have significant consequences not only for the property owners of Bridger Pines but for, neighboring land owners, the potential for future development of the base area, and our community as a whole, particularly down steam water users.

    An extensive detailed history of the Bridger Pines Subdivision, the Environmental Assessments as well as may of the supporting documents are available online at http://bcpoadocs.posterous.com/. While not totally complete, some records proved to be difficult to obtain, it is a comprehensive, objective as I could make it, overview of the development derived from documents primarily obtained from the Gallatin County Planning Dept. and the Gallatin County-City Environmental Health Department which are available for public review. I realize it is late, but I strongly encourage you to carve out a few hours over today and tomorrow to review the history and the EAs in order to understand the circumstances surrounding this issue, and forward your comments to the DEQ, helping to provide the best possible outcome for all concerned. Comments may be delivered no later than November 14, 2011, to:


    Jerry Paddock, P.E. or jpaddock@mt.gov
    Department of Environmental Quality
    1500 East Sixth Avenue
    Helena MT 59620-09011

    Reference: Project – Bridger Pines WWT System Upgrade
    Bozeman Mt
    Project # WPCSRF project # C303192
    DOC_TSEP Project # MT-TSEP-CG-10-472

    Please feel free to contact me by e-mail debsplace@littleappletech.com or phone 522-7215 with any questions you may have.



    .
    Respectfully,

    Deb Stratford,
    BCPOA Board member,
    Chairman BCPOA Planning and Zoning Subcommittee
  • From Tom - Monday 8/15/11 - 4:23 p.m.
    re: BATTLE RIDGE FIRE, CELL TOWER, BRIDGER PINES
    Hi Neighbors –
    You may have seen the Sunday Chronicle article on the small fire at Battle Ridge:
    http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/article_47497514-c629-11e0-8b79-00
    1cc4c03286.html
    Here’s the latest from fire chief Dan Astrom:
    >About 6 acres.
    >70% contained as of this morning. Some spots outside the hose line.
    >Didn't get the moisture like some of us in the canyon this morning.
    >Hotshot crews are sleeping at the fire. Helena crew is camped at the station, and local crews go home.
    >Could be wrapped up today, most likely tomorrow.
    >Nothing to see from the road, so please avoid that area as vehicles are entering and exiting between Brackett Creek Rd. and Fairy Lake Access.
    >Thank you! >
    >Regards,
    >Dan

    In other news, the proposed cell tower is on the agenda tonight:
    http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/article_5f23a9aa-c6d5-11e0-96
    7d-001cc4c002e0.html
    There is information on the cell tower being proposed at Zigs on both Facebook and the web.
    Bridger Corridor Enhancement Team is the Facebook page and www.bridgerteam.com is the website. People can see some nifty graphics that show the before and after views.

    Applications are underway for Bridger Pines to replace its ailing sewer system with a new wastewater treatment facility that would permit full build of the 58 units in the subdivision. The system would include a 4-acre storage pond and 7-acre spray irrigation system below the Bridger Bowl parking lot. For more details see http://deq.mt.gov/wqinfo/srf/WPCSRF/pdf/EAFONSIBridgerPines.pdf A pending application for a variance to subdivide land was postponed, but may be heard next month.
    Tom
  • Meeting on Feb. 16th and on 24th
    Hi neighbors -

    The next meeting of the zoning advisory board will be this Wed., Feb. 16, in room 208 of the courthouse at 5:30. The agenda is at http://zoning.posterous.com/ The primary topic will be density and development standards in the AE district.

    Next week, on Feb. 24th at 7:00, BCPOA will host a zoning workshop at the fire station community room. We'll briefly outline the current zoning, 2005 BCPOA draft updates, and the work of the zoning advisory board. Then we'd like to hear from you! Refreshments provided. Detailed agenda will follow soon.

    Tom Fiddaman
    BCPOA chair, zoning advisory board member
  • Advisory Committee for BC Zoning Commission
    February 7th zoning advisory board meeting is cancelled. We'll let you know when it's rescheduled. Meanwhile, there's quite a bit of new material at http://zoning.posterous.com . -
  • Planning and Zoning meeting - 12/10/10
    Hi neighbors –
    The Planning & Zoning Commission will be hearing three items tomorrow morning:
    - A Conditional Use Permit for a pole barn in Aspen Meadow

    - A variance to facilitate a lot line adjustment at the old Upper Bridger School

    - A Conditional Use Permit for a building envelope relocation in the Bridger Park PUD (Ross Peak Ranch)

    BCPOA feels that the first two are noncontroversial. The third is problematic. The application seeks to reconfigure a building envelope from a circle to an irregular composition of four rectangular areas, designed to accommodate four buildings. While the area of the envelope nominally decreases, the area of the property affected by structures substantially increases. Irregular envelopes have proved unenforceable in the past. In addition, the proposal includes two ponds, yet Bridger Park has, to our knowledge, never met water requirements imposed as conditions of approval of the original PUD. BCPOA will oppose this application.

    BCPOA has filed complaints on 4 violations in the Canyon,

    - Two businesses operating without permits

    - A barn constructed without permits, and a cabin relocated without permits

    These are moving at a glacial pace through the planning department, due to lack of an enforcement officer. Enforcement is an agenda item for the commission’s discussion.

    The meeting starts at 9am in the community room on the 3rd floor of the courthouse in Bozeman.

    Sorry for the late notice, but we’ve only just heard of some of these items ourselves.
    Tom Fiddaman
  • Canyon update - barn appeal, signs, zoning update,bearproof trash containers
    October 13, 2010
    Hi neighbors –
    Here’s a quick summary of what’s going on in the canyon:
    - Bridger Bowl has a new sign in the works. See http://zoning.posterous.com/text-amendment-signs for details.

    - Zoning updates are proceeding; you can stay current at http://zoning.posterous.com/ The next meeting will be at the courthouse in Bozeman, most likely room 301 or 208, 5:30pm Oct. 21st (we hope to be back at the fire station community room after the election).

    - The planning and zoning commission found that the barn in Brass Lantern was contrary to zoning and issued a removal order. The owner has just filed an appeal. BCPOA will most likely file as an intervener to support the commission’s decision. For details see http://drop.io/BrassLantern

    - Bears have been exceptionally active this fall, and there have been some problems. Bears habituated to human food put people at risk, and often wind up euthanized. It’s essential to make compost and bird feeders unavailable to bears and to store garbage securely here in bear country. Waste Management will pick up bearproof containers for a modest extra fee. Container manufacturers have minimum orders, so reply to this email if you’re interested and we’ll see if there’s critical mass for a group order.



    Tom Fiddaman

    BCPOA chairman
  • UPDATE - 5/08/10 - Tom Fiddaman
    Friends of Bridger Canyon,
    This is a busy month. Topics in this note:
    - zoning hearing
    - BCPOA newsletter & annual meeting
    - zoning advisory board
    - other events

    Next week, Thursday May 13, The Bridger Canyon Zoning Commission is scheduled to discuss the Brass Lantern zoning violation (specifically, the application for a CUP to amend the PUD to eliminate the violation so that a permit can be issued). BCPOA opposes this application, and we’ve heard very clearly that most of you do to.

    This would be a great time to stand up for our zoning. There are two things you can do:
    - Attend the hearing. Even if you just stand up and say, “I’m in favor of
     meaningful zoning enforcement, and I oppose this action to legalize a violation that harms Bridger Canyon,” it’ll make a difference – the commissioners definitely pay attention to participation.
    - Submit a letter to the commission. Even a very simple one is helpful. You can send letters to Bridger Canyon Zoning District commissioners, c/o the Planning Department, planning@gallatin.mt.gov . If you copy us on your letter, we can keep track of feedback and be sure it all gets into the public record ( tom@metasd.com ).
    I’ve already submitted a lengthy letter on behalf of BCPOA, which you can read here http://drop.io/BrassLantern along with a copy of the CUP application and other information as it becomes available. The letter includes the 16 pages of responses we received when we asked the canyon about enforcement last month. BCPOA board members will be at the hearing. Hearings start at 9:00; we don’t have an agenda yet, but expect the commission to complete the Greenridge PUD discussion first (public comment is currently closed on that).

    The BCPOA annual newsletter will be in your mailboxes soon – watch for it.

    The BCPOA annual meeting will be held on May 25th, 7pm, at the fire station community center.

    The first meeting of the Bridger Canyon Zoning Advisory Board will be next week, Wed. May 12, 5-7pm at the Gallatin County Courthouse community room (on Main St in Bozeman).
    Agenda
    1. Call to order; roll call.
    2. Public Comment (items not on agenda).
    3. Overview of meeting logistics
    4. Discussion of Staff Bridger Canyon Zoning Regulation review 5. Top five issues of importance regarding either the Bridger Canyon Zoning Regulation and/or Plans 6. Further Public Comment 7. Adjournment

    The FD pancake breakfast & art sale is on May 22nd, 7:30am, at the fire station community center.

    There’s a benefit Bluegrass concert May 29th.

    MSU Extension is giving Forest Stewardship Workshops in Bozeman, June 3,4 and 11, 2010. See http://www.cfc.umt.edu/extensionforestry/calendar.htm

    These events are on the BCPOA calendar, with additional details where possible.
    http://bcpoa.net/calendar.html

    Tom

  • Zoning Advisory Committee, Forest, Fire followup
    March 25, 2010
    1. Zoning Advisory Committee

    On March 11, the commission selected a Zoning Advisory Committee.
    Unfortunately there were few applications, so there were no choices. Here's the makeup of the advisory committee, as we understand it:

    Rich Stoltzfus, Bridger Bowl, canyon resident Janis Eckert, Red Lodge, Base Area landowner John Barkow, Bridger Canyon Partners (Base Area landowner) Dick Clotfelter, Jackson Creek, BCPOA member Tom Fiddaman, BCPOA board Deb Stratford, BCPOA board Bob Morton, large landowner

    Randy Elliott is an alternate for Bridger Bowl and Ellen Trygstad is an alternate for a BCPOA member. The commission intends to advertise for additional alternates.

    A potential concern is that owners under 160ac, who make up 95% of the canyon population, are underrepresented (57% of seats), while the Base Area is overrepresented (1% of the land, surely less than 5% of the population, 43% of the seats), largely by nonresidents. I'll be seeking your input to help us ensure that the outcome is broadly representative.

    2. Forest & Fire panel

    We had great presentations and Q&A in the forest/fire panel on Tuesday night. Here's a short summary, and some links to web resources mentioned:

    Crystal Hagerman, Gallatin County Extension, discussed funding opportunities for fuels reduction and defensible space. Programs focus on structure protection and evacuation routes, typically on 1 to 10 acre sites, or larger acreage with multiple homes. Cyrstal can be reached at 388-3213, gallatin3@montana.edu.
    There's further information at:
    http://gallatinextension.com
    http://www.firesafemt.com
    http://www.forestry.umt.edu/extensionforestry

    Curt Tesmer, Montana DNRC, focused on the mountain pine beetle, which is currently in a severe outbreak. The bad news is that there are no short term controls for large areas; only long term forest diversification and other good silvicultural practices help. Specimen trees can be protected with verbenone or pesticides, but it's also important to get attacked trees down and disposed of, to prevent further spread. The good news is that they only attack pines, and our severe cold in October might have caught some beetles unprepared. Since spruce budworm is still around, and Douglas fir beetle could be on the way, it's a good time to be thinking about forest management. Curt is available for consultation, 556-4506, ctesmer@mt.gov.

    Some useful links:
    http://www.beetles.mt.gov/ Interagency site with pine beetle information http://www.montana.edu/pinebeetle/ MSU's management plan http://delicious.com/tomfid/BCPOA+Forest+Pests a collection of other forest pest links, including USFS leaflets on budworm and beetles

    Fire Chief Dan Astrom demonstrated the new online burn permit system. It allows you to obtain a permit and look up active burns on a map, and prevents permit activation when air quality or fire conditions are unsuitable. The BCFD will no longer be selling permits. You can access the new system at http://burnpermits.mt.gov As with the old system, if you see a fire and are uncertain about it, don't hesitate to call 911.

    Some other helpful links on burning:

    The Larimer County web site for slash burning is:
    http://www.co.larimer.co.us/health/ehs/slash_burning_guidelines.htm
    (Good advice on building and burning slash piles, but note that agency references are for Colorado, not here.)

    There are also more recommendations and an account of one of our burns at:
    http://b2bcoalition.org/Articles/Slash_grs/gallery.htm
    There are a number of other useful links in the above article.

    The site for monitoring forest fires (all over the US) is:
    http://inciweb.org/

    Tom Fiddaman
  • Bridger Bowl Dev. Decision on Hold
    Decision on Bridger resort on hold for 6 to 8 weeks
    (Bozeman Daily Chronicle Wed., May 16, 2007)
    The Gallatin County Planning and Zoning Commission delayed further consideration of the proposed Bridger Mountain Village planned unit development Tuesday at the request of the developer.
    Public testimony on the proposed resort project adjacent to the Bridger Bowl ski area officially closed April 12. The commission was set to continue discussion of the plan and possibly issue a decision Tuesday.
    Commission member and County Commission Chairman Joe Skinner said the developer asked for a six- to eightweek continuance, in order to work more closely with canyon residents opposed to the plan.
    No date was set for the hearing to continue.
  • Notes from BCPOA web site:
    BCPOA is currently working to update the zoning regulations. Updated zoning regulations have been submitted to the County Planning Department for their comments. As soon as they are finished reviewing them and we work out any conflicts, we will make them available on our web site for residents to read. At the same time, our Planning and Zoning Committee has been vigorously defending the existing zoning regulations by testifying before the Bridger Canyon Planning and Zoning Commission on current issues related to development in our District. We have also handled numerous resident complaints about zoning regulation violations by mediating between the involved parties and encourage residents to contact us whenever they believe a violation has occurred.

    Check out the web site for important information and links to documents and other web sites.
  • BCPOA Web site
    Much thanks to Tom Fiddaman for putting the web site together.

    Bridger Canyon Property Owner's Association

    The purpose of this corporation shall be to do everything in its power to preserve the rural character and the natural beauty and resources of Bridger Canyon and the State of Montana; to use its best efforts in guiding and directing orderly growth and development; to maintain, through organization, a definite influence in all matters which may affect residence or property rights and enjoyment thereof by its members; and to hold regular meetings for open discussions of problems of mutual interest and concern to those land owners.

    http://www.bcpoa.net/BCPOAmin121206.mht
  • EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS:
    A suggestion was made this fall to have the BCPOA evaluate and, if
    necessary, improve emergency preparedness in Bridger Canyon. We aim to make
    sure that plans and resources exist to help the Bridger Canyon community
    respond locally to emergency situations such as earthquake, wild fire,
    multiple injury accidents on the highway, and other events we may not want
    to think much about. A small group of residents has been meeting over the
    past couple of months to get the process started; others who have an
    interest in working on this please contact Joan Cory at 587-2265 or
    jmcory@earthlink.net.



    Our initial effort is devoted to understanding state and local resources
    that already exist so that we can develop priorities, avoid duplicating
    efforts, and coordinate with the efforts of outside agencies.
    Communication, transportation/ evacuation, and coordination of local
    emergency resources will be addressed. Short-term, we are working to create
    a phone tree to disseminate information to canyon residents as efficiently
    as possible. We will also post information on the BCPOA website as it is
    identified. We strongly encourage individuals to stock items needed by
    their family in case of emergency or evacuation. The emergency preparedness
    group's focus, however, will be at the community level rather than at the
    level of individual households. Several helpful resources on the internet
    include: http://www.ready.gov/america/index.html (which focuses on
    terrorist attacks, but is applicable to other emergency situations as well);
    http://www.bozeman.net/des/Fact%20Sheets%20Main.htm (a Gallatin County/
    Bozeman site that includes, among other things, a 72-hour Survival Kit); and
    http://mt.gov/DMA/DES/ (which presents resources and activities at the state
    level).



    What can you do to help this effort? First, we need the best contact
    information for each household that wants to be included in a plan for the
    canyon. If you send this with your dues information, it will be available
    to the emergency preparedness group (unless you state otherwise). Second,
    your ideas and concerns on this topic are welcome. Third, we anticipate
    compiling a database of canyon residents who possess particular skills or
    equipment that they would be willing to mobilize for emergency situations.
    Finally, if you would like to participate in the efforts of this group, you
    would be most welcome; please use the contact information above.

    Joan Cory - 1/10/06
Bridger Canyon is compliments of:
Sharon Tudor Isler
Brian Tudor

Broker, CRS, GRI, SRES

ERA Landmark Real Estate
1805 W. Dickerson # 1
Bozeman, MT 59715

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