SHERIDAN —The Sheridan Planning Commission, a volunteer board of seven community members, is scheduled to meet the second and fourth Mondays of each month. However, since September, the Commission has met only twice.
City Planning and Development Director Robert Briggs said there are a few reasons for the lack of Planning Commission meetings over the last several months.
“Planning Commission meetings are held when there is business to come before the group,” Briggs said. “Since it is a board of volunteers, we try to be respectful of their time, and not call meetings solely for the purpose of general discussion. This is true of all city volunteer boards and some boards, like the Board of Adjustment or Building Board of Appeals, may only meet a few times a year.”
Briggs said the reduced amount of business coming before the Planning Commission since September is tied to an increase in administrative approval and a decrease in development.
In March 2010, with Ordinance No. 2087, City Council granted approval to city staff to administratively approve replats, which are resubdivisions that move or dissolve existing lot lines. Public Works staff review the plat, make any needed changes and forward the plat to the public works director for final approval before the mayor signs the plat.
Ordinance No. 2124, approved by the council in spring 2013, allowed staff to conduct design review for buildings in entryway corridors located along Interstate 90 and at the entryways into the city on Fifth Street, North Main Street and Brundage Lane.
Briggs said replats comprise approximately one-third of all subdivision applications received by the city.
Land development also tends to slow down in winter months due to weather and holidays, Briggs said.
“Another factor is that the economic downturn slowed the rate of construction such that most of our new home starts are occurring in existing subdivisions like Woodland Park, Osprey Hill, Cloud Peak Ranch, Poplar Grove, etc. In fact, some of these subdivisions, like Poplar Grove, were resurrected after foreclosure,” Briggs said. “This has opened up a number of lots to help meet housing demand.”
Briggs said as more lots develop within existing subdivisions that new subdivisions will likely be proposed. He is aware of at least two projects in the conceptual stages at this time.
The planning commission is still responsible for reviewing preliminary and final plats for major subdivisions, final plats for minor subdivisions, annexations and rezone requests. Essentially, if a new zoning district or new lots are created, planning commission review is required. It already existing lot lines are rearranged or dissolved, it can often be approved administratively.
Upcoming business for the planning commission on Feb. 24 will include an update on the city’s Land Use Plan, which must be certified by the planning commission.