SHERIDAN — The first conservation subdivision to be proposed in Sheridan County is now official after county commissioners signed the conservation subdivision plat for land owned by Mike and Vicky McMeans at a special ceremony Monday.
The land totals approximately 80 acres and is located west of Dayton at the gateway to Tongue River Canyon. The subdivision will include three residential lots on approximately 13 acres and two conservation parcels that comprise 83 percent of the total land area.
A conservation subdivision designates at least 70 percent of its land as permanently protected open space while homes are located on the remainder of the site to maximize protection of natural and cultural resources.
Present at the signing were Sheridan Community Land Trust Executive Director Colin Betzler; past SCLT Board President Mark Kinner; current SCLT Board President Margie Taylor; County Commissioners Tom Ringley, Steve Maier, Terry Cram and Bob Rolston and the McMeans.
In 2012, the McMeans purchased 160 acres west of Dayton from Dan Scott, who had already placed the northern 80 acres under conservation easement. The McMeans immediately began conversations with Sheridan County and SCLT to determine how to protect the remaining property.
“We wanted to make sure that the agricultural lands and riparian habitat that make this property special would be there forever,” Vicky McMeans said in a media release.
The McMeans chose to protect the remaining 80 acres with SCLT in coordination with Sheridan County’s conservation subdivision process, becoming the first landowners in Sheridan County to do so under new regulations in the county’s 2008 comprehensive plan.
The land can still be used for agriculture and ranching activities, but conservation practices will also be followed to maintain the land’s open spaces and natural resources.
“We’re thrilled that they decided to preserve the agricultural values in perpetuity,” SCLT Board Chair Margie Taylor said.
Since being established in 2006, SCLT has been reaching out to landowners in the Tongue River Valley. Most recently, SCLT created the Tongue River Initiative, a formal outreach effort in partnership with the Sheridan County Conservation District and The Nature Conservancy. The initiative recognizes the important role agriculture has played in maintaining the natural resources, open spaces and scenic values in the area while supporting landowners interested in integrating agriculture and conservation.
For more information on conservation and preservation efforts in Sheridan County, visit SCLT’s website at www.sheridanclt.org or find them on Facebook.