Billings Flying Service will begin to expand west of the Logan International Airport after the Yellowstone County Commissioners approved the zone change on Tuesday.
Roughly 45 minutes into the commissioner meeting a packed crowd listened to Commissioner John Ostlund read an advisory letter noting his involvement the Billings Flying Service.
Despite having a small plane sit at a Flying Service hangar, Ostlund acknowledged his duty to listen to proponents and opponents who lined up to speak. His vote would prove to be key.
Unlike the previous Feb. 8 zoning commission meeting, Chairman Bill Kennedy urged the crowd to keep their comments brief giving both sides 30 minutes of testimony.
Attorney Tyler Dugger, Billings Flying Service, provided 22 minutes of testimony making the case for the company's request that would still offer a "buffer zone" of land from Highway 3.
Meanwhile, the Rimrock Neighborhoods Task Force disputed the proposed change, citing issues with future industrial zone plans.
A representative for the group said the plans fly in the face of what neighborhoods on the Rims should look like.
Another opponent wants the zone change wording to be fixed so plans by future companies looking to build in the area will not change the look of the area.
"Stuck in my craw is the 'controlled industrial,'" said nearby resident Jim Beley, citing possible issues down the road.
But proponents stuck to the message of the neighborly care the owners Gary and Al Blain would provide, as well as the worldwide business opportunity the construction could bring to the area.
Kennedy said the "unknown" is the biggest concern.
"I think the opposition is the unknown on the industrial (zone change)," Kennedy said. "I don't have a problem with the Blains doing business, but I do have a problem with the industrial zone change that does not have any conditions on it."
He suggested the Blain's refile the request to a "planned unit development" to wipe away the possible complications decades in the future.
After nearly three and a half hours of testimony and comment from the public and commissioners, a 2-1 vote was cast in favor of the zone change.
The Blains said previously it will begin construction in the near future for incoming worldwide business opportunities.
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