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Planning Commission OKs another large annexation

SHERIDAN — The Sheridan City Planning Commission voted Monday to recommend approval of a second Wrench Ranch annexation north of town. Sheridan City Council will consider the annexation request at its meeting Monday.

The annexation would add approximately 264 acres to city property north of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, west of the Sheridan Hi-Tech Park and southwest of Interstate 90. The land would primarily be used for development of the proposed Sheridan College Large Animal Science Facility and the proposed headquarters of the First People’s Center for Education.

The large animal science facility is expected to provide instructional and exhibition areas for the college’s animal science programs. The First People’s Center for Education will provide specialized training to educators who work with indigenous populations throughout America. The ultimate vision is to create a higher education institution for American Indians.

The first Wrench Ranch annexation in 2009 added 583 acres to city limits. If this second annexation is approved, it will push the total land area annexed into the city in the last 10 years over the 2,000 acre mark, City Planning and Development Director Robert Briggs said.

In 2003, Sheridan was nearly 5,347 acres in size. With this second Wrench Ranch annexation, Sheridan’s land area will total 7,360.5 acres, representing a 37.66 percent growth rate over the last decade.

The petitioners, Rice and Sons, Inc., and the Northern Wyoming Community College District, have proposed a rezone of the property from agricultural to a mixture of gateway, higher education and R-3 Residential.

The gateway zoning will cover nearly 46 acres on the eastern section of the proposed annexation.

“It was zoned gateway because it’s still in the visibility of the interstate, and it’s immediately adjacent to that existing gateway district,” Briggs said.

Future development of the gateway district will require a master plan.

The higher education zone will comprise nearly 83 acres in the center of the proposed annexation. Both the large animal science facility and the First People’s Center for Education will be developed in this district.

The R-3 Residential zone will cover approximately 213 acres on the western half of the proposed annexation. At this point, there are no plans for the R-3 district. Any development in the R-3 residential zone will be required to be compatible with the VA Medical Center on its southern border.

Also included in the annexation is a utility easement for the city’s Northwest Water Transmission Main Loop and Northwest Infrastructure projects, which are both slated for construction in 2013 and 2014.

The 16-inch water main, 12-inch sewer main, roadway and design and engineering costs will be mostly funded by state grant money in association with the two proposed capital projects on the land, according to a staff memo. Estimated costs for the water loop and northwest infrastructure projects is approximately $3.5 million.

Installation of the water loop and other infrastructure is needed before further development in the area can continue, Briggs said. Other city services will be provided as needed as the land is developed.

One request for further information has been made by a county resident who does not live in the area surrounding the annexation, according to a staff memo. No other comments — positive or negative — have been received.

• In other business, the Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of a right of way vacation on B Street between Custer Street and Sheridan Avenue. The vacation would include a 10-foot strip of city right of way on B Street that a recent survey found was encroached on by adjacent commercial development of Metz Beverage Company.

The B Street right of way is currently 70 feet wide. Present road standards require a 60-foot right of way, so the vacation will make the street match current standards. The 10-foot strip of land will be deeded to the Dorothy J. Metz Revocable Trust.

About

Hannah Wiest is the government and outdoors reporter for The Sheridan Press. She has lived in Colorado and Montana but loves her sunny home state of Wyoming best. She joined The Press staff in February 2013.

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