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Fort Harrison (copy)

Lewis and Clark County commissioners moved once again Thursday to postpone a vote on imposing a military affected area on land surrounding Fort Harrison, north of Helena’s Westside, until their Dec. 18 meeting.

Thursday’s hearing featured unusually low turnout and public comment on the issue, for which the commission has held nine hearings and, by the count of county planner Lindsay Morgan, answered 130 public questions. County planning director Peter Italiano presented Thursday’s proposal in place of the absent Morgan.

As requested by the commission on Nov. 27, Italiano’s plan would fold in some restrictions for the military affected area proposal into plans for the Growth Area Zone Districts contained within the military affected area boundaries.

Those restrictions include prohibited land uses such as landfills, structures in excess of 200 feet in height and standards for outdoor lighting.

The proposal tabled at the Nov. 27 hearing outlined a 32-square-mile military affected area around Fort Harrison and two smaller districts taking up the land within – the Fort Harrison Urban Growth Area Zone District and the Fort Harrison Rural Growth Area Zone District. Land within the military affected area would be forbidden from use as landfills, multi-family dwelling units, congregate living facilities and any other use “in such a manner that may result in glare in the eyes of operators of aircraft.”

Italiano’s documents were not yet publicly available at Thursday morning’s meeting. Documents can be requested via phone, 406-447-8374, and email,, and commented upon in writing through Dec. 18. 

Both the Thursday proposal and the previous Nov. 27 draft will be considered at the commission’s Dec. 18 meeting.

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