Big Sky Resort Tax updates
g Sky Resort Tax updates Flatiron, County subcommittee, and uptick in Fire Dept. calls
The board members and staff for the Resort Tax sat down for their monthly meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 9, to discuss projects in the community, upcoming developments like Flatiron, and the new Gallatin Canyon Water and Sewer District.
The Resort Tax, which started in 1992, is a 4% tax on all luxury goods and services not essential to life in Big Sky. It was created as a way to deal with the increased pressure on services and infrastructure from tourism; many mountain towns across the West use a similar model. Over 800 businesses are required to pay the tax in the Big Sky Resort Area District (BSRAD).
The Resort Tax team is made up of four staff and five board members. Board members serve a four year term and must live within the Big Sky Resort Area District. Daniel Bierschwale is the executive director and Sarah Bletcha is the chair of the board.
Other board members include Ciara Wolfe, Steve Johnson, Kevin Germain and Grace Young.
Below is a series of updates on topics discussed at the Feb. 9 BSRAD meeting that are of interest to Madison County:
Representative Chris Leonard of Middle Fork Properties, LLC presented a 10-minute PowerPoint to the BSRAD board about the Flatiron development project proposed near the base of Thunderwolf chair lift and Lone Moose Meadows.
“My goal is to make sure we are out in the community, that people know what we are doing, that we are making ourselves available,” said Leonard.
This 530-acre project is a proposed community in Gallatin and Madison counties between Big Sky Resort and Big Sky Town Center.
The property was purchased in 2019 and already approved for development by both counties, according to Leonard. The Flatiron team, led by Bozeman realtor Michael Schreiner of Middle Fork Properties LLC, assembled a group of international professionals to design the master plan.
The development plans to build over 900 beds for workforce housing, create a mountain community open to the public, and maintain 75% open space on the property.
As part of the original development, the Flatiron property contains a few potential water sources. They do not own the water rights yet, but they hope to offer the water to the Big Sky community.
Flatiron’s specialists believe they have access to more water than the development needs based on hydraulic studies, according to White. The project is unlikely to go forward unless it can connect to the BSWSD.
“There is the Lone Moose condominiums,” explained Leonard while looking at a photograph. “We are basically the land surrounding that.” Flatiron would add another 24 subdivisions to the property.
Middle Fork Properties LLC is actively seeking capital partners for the project development for Flatiron, explained Leonard.
“We believe that the best way to make sure that the right plan for this property was to have this plan approved with all the conditions that are attached to it, so that regardless of who ends up making decisions on this project long term, the plan that the counties have approved, would be what is in place,” said Leonard.
Gallatin County Planning Board approved the project in December with 66 conditions. The Madison County Planning Board will decide whether or not to approve the development proposal on Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. in Virginia City.
The BSRAD staff are meeting monthly with commissioner Scott McFarland of Gallatin County and the new commissioner for Madison County, John Heckler, to figure out how funding should work for certain critical entities in Big Sky like public safety and transportation.
BIG SKY FIRE DEPARTMENT
Chief Greg Megaard of the Big Sky Fire Department presented to the BSRAD board as part of a new initiative to get updates from important local entities in Big Sky.
“It was our busiest year in demand for services for emergency response. For the first year, Big Sky fire broke over 1,000 emergency calls. We actually ended up with 1187 calls for 2021,” said Megaard.
The fire department started to staff station two—up near Big Sky Resort—24/7 for the first time to address the increased call load and cut down on response time.
Megaard also discussed local wildfire protection projects, like the camera on top of Lone Peak, to increase awareness about the danger of wildfire for the Big Sky community. The chief hopes to get a second camera up on Cinnamon Ridge and said the Yellowstone Club also plans to purchase another camera.