Gallatin County Courthouse File

Commuters pass by the Gallatin County Courthouse on June 25, 2020, in downtown Bozeman.

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The Gallatin County Commission took a significant step Tuesday toward adopting a plan that outlines a vision for future development in the growing area between Belgrade, Bozeman and Four Corners.

The commissioners will vote on July 28 on the adoption of the plan, which outlines goals and policies for the area generally bordered by Frontage Road, the Gallatin River, Blackwood Road and 19th Avenue.

The plan emphasizes compact development, mixed land use, protection of the environment and preservation of agricultural land and open space.

The plan is an effort to coordinate services and development in an area with overlapping zoning, planning and government jurisdictions.

“This isn’t a traditional land use plan,” said Gallatin County Planning Director Sean O’Callaghan. “This plan is a higher-level plan that provides a series of goals and policies about what we strive for as the area does develop.”

The Belgrade City Council is also now working to adopt the plan, known as the Triangle Community Plan.

The Bozeman City Commission first considered the plan in February. City commissioners made some changes to the document and officially adopted it in April.

The plan will be used to aid reviews of development activities, such as new subdivisions, rezoning requests and infrastructure projects.

Belgrade officials have said they will use the triangle plan to help them with their ongoing work to create zoning regulations for areas of the city that aren’t zoned.

Gallatin County and the Gallatin Valley Land Trust are using the plan as a starting point for a trails plan for the area west of Bozeman.

The planning coordination committee, a group of elected officials and planning department staff from Belgrade, Bozeman and Gallatin County, have been working on the plan since 2016.

The committee has held dozens of meetings with groups, including fire districts, school districts and Montana State University to understand their goals, needs and visions for the future. It also held four open houses where 80 participants shared their thoughts on the plan.

“I think they’ve done a good job to incorporate all the different comments and perspectives,” said commissioner Joe Skinner.

Once the three local governments adopt the plan, the committee may continue to further communication between Belgrade, Bozeman and Gallatin County officials on topics like planning, capital projects and the locations of new schools.

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Perrin Stein can be reached at pstein@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2648.

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