In 2002 Montana Grizzly Encounter bought the vacant property at I-90 exit 319. They bought it specifically to build a grizzly bear sanctuary to save the lives of bears that had no other place to live and give the public a chance to enjoy and learn from them, it opened in 2004. For the last 12 years Montana Grizzly Encounter has rescued and provided a caring home for bears that can live nowhere else and provided the public with a great opportunity to enjoy the bears. School and youth groups are encouraged to come free of charge and to date over ten thousand children have learned from the experience. But now they are facing a new threat from the zoning board, after all this time they have determined that several of their structures are in violation. In 2002 they began construction according to the blueprints of a design made at that time and construction has been ongoing ever since as funds become available. Therefore all of the structures and uses are “grandfathered” according to the regulation. The zoning board interprets the situation differently. They say that only the structures that were finished and in place before May of 2006 will be allowed to stay. This is contrary to their own regulations that state: any structure on which actual construction was lawfully begun prior to the effective date of adoption or amendment to these Regulations. They feel this is a very unfair and arbitrary decision on their part. This limitation would have a serious impact on their ability to continue to operate Montana Grizzly Encounter. The zoning board wants them to remove their small gift shops, entrance signs, housing for 2 bears and even a shingled roof extension put on their caretaker entrance to block the rain and snow. They have even marked their 8’x12’ goat shed as something out of compliance while it is obviously just that a shed with pet goats inside. All they are asking from the zoning board is that because they began business years before the zoning, they should be allowed to operate as a normal small business would, and they should be allowed to complete the construction that was designed and begun in 2002 for the good of the business and the bears. They have been forced to spend a tremendous amount of their very limited funds in legal fees to fight this Now they need the help of the public. Please help save the bears at the Montana Grizzly encounter by signing this petition or writing a letter to the members of the zoning commission in Bozeman, Montana. They have until Oct 13th before the board makes their decision.
City Planning Board and Zoning Commission
121 N Rouse Avenue
Bozeman Mt. 51795
We have signed this petition, to help save the Montana Grizzley Encounter. These signatures have come from all over the world, in response to the treatment that the MGE has encountered. Please reconsider your ruling and let the MGE continue to do their good work. Thank you for your consideration.