After all the claims and threats we heard about private property rights, a real threat has passed the Montana Senate. If enacted, sand and gravel operators could file a permit at any time, and preempt local government. This dreadful opportunity for devaluation of your property must be killed before it becomes law.
This awful opportunity for assault on property rights is in SB24, a bill sponsored by Senator Matthew Rosendale of Glendive. We live in a valley without the protection of zoning; a commercial sand and gravel mine, with heavy trucks and the dreadful dirt, dust and noise it would bring to a private home, farm or ranch can be envisioned by anyone owning property near such an operation.
The bill has not gone to the House yet. Ron Ehli, Nancy Ballance, Scott Boulanger and Fred Thomas all should be screaming for a stop to this travesty. Ravalli County is tourist country. People come here for fishing or hunting or to enjoy this wonderful place. They provide income to the state, as do farming and livestock operations, and all of these could suffer as a result of this legislation.
The whole state of Montana could be trashed by this rush for sand and gravel, and nothing, not a sound, is coming from the legislators to whom we have entrusted so much, including our property rights. It isn’t as if we need more quarries. Just take a look at the gateway to Hamilton. The view isn’t improved by the gravel operations welcoming visitors at our northern entrance. You know, the operations that are just north of the sign proclaiming “beautiful Hamilton.”
The people who were voted into office to protect property rights are the same ones who are willing for your Realtor, when you choose to sell, to say “see that nice property next to the gravel pit, and in immediate proximity to the septic dump.” The economic decline stole value, and this wretched bill will potentially steal even more value from your home.