City Council tables rezone request

SHERIDAN — Members of Sheridan City Council tabled a rezone request for approximately 2.28 acres north of the Mydland Road and Dome Drive intersection to allow the developer and concerned residents in the adjacent Traditions neighborhood more time to work out a compromise on key aspects of the proposed design.

The Cloud Peak Ranch 16th filing would rezone a portion of the proposed development from R-1 to R-3 to match the remainder of the property, which will be a total of 5.38 acres. Plans for the development include 20 single-family patio style homes with a height restriction of 35 feet. The R-3 zone allows a smaller yard setback than an R-1 neighborhood.

Concern has been expressed by nearby residents who feel the proposed development will have higher density and less open space than they originally thought would be built when they bought their properties. Residents in the neighborhood around Highland Park Elementary School received letters when they moved into their houses welcoming them to a master planned community.

“I happen to be one of those folks who bought a piece of land under the impression it would be a certain way,” Bruce Mountain Drive resident Fred Cherni said.

The developer and residents have reached a compromise on some aspects of the design, including no road between the new development and the adjacent Traditions neighborhood and restricted building height, but not on other aspects such as lot density and arrangement.

 

The developer has proposed a lot density of 3.7 houses per acre, while residents have suggested 3.4 houses per acre, for a total of 18 houses. The adjacent Traditions neighborhood has seven houses total.

“The best thing all around is that we have a compromise between the developer and the homeowners where everyone feels they’re at a place they can be comfortable with as far as development goes, and the neighborhood,” Councilor Kristin Kelly said. “I encourage anyone looking at buying property to become familiar with zoning, the details, the fine print. Don’t just buy the dream. Do your research.”

The matter will be tabled until the next City Council meeting.

City Council also passed on first reading, with a vote of six to one, the Wrench Ranch II annexation of approximately 264 acres into city limits. The annexed land would be zoned gateway, higher education and R-3 residential to allow for the proposed Sheridan College Large Animal Science Facility and the proposed headquarters of the First People’s Center for Education.

The land is located west of the Hi-Tech Business Park, north of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and southwest of Interstate 90. It would also contain an utility easement for the city’s northwest water loop project.

Councilor Levi Dominguez voted against the annexation because he said he felt the city’s low staff numbers may not be adequate to provide water, maintenance and emergency services to such a large annexation on the far northern edge of town.

“It may not make a direct impact today or tomorrow, but as they soon develop that land, we need to have the city staff available,” Dominguez said. “I think our city staff is doing a great job with the amount that we have at our low levels that the city has at this time, and I don’t want to see more work put onto them. We haven’t seen raises for quite some time, and I’m just concerned about that. It’s just not the right time, I don’t feel.”

Dominguez said he supports the college and First People’s center; he just feels that developing an R-3 zone along with an education zone could potentially compromise city staff and even response times for emergency services.

Mayor Dave Kinskey said it was a chicken and egg dilemma with development needed to grow the city and improve the economy and a larger city staff needed to support development.

The annexation ordinance will require two more readings to pass.

In other business, Sheridan City Council:

• passed on second reading a rezone of three lots on Illinois Street southeast of Heald Street from R-2 Residential to B-1 Business following a compromise between First Federal Savings Bank and nearby residents on how the proposed development will progress.

• approved a request to vacate the south 10 feet of B Street between Custer Street and Sheridan Avenue in order to accommodate existing building encroachments into the B Street right of way.

• passed by a vote of four to one a reduction in water rates for nonprofit organizations and homeowners’ associations that pay to water parks and open spaces. The new water rate will be called an “irrigation rate” and will be comprised of solely the base water charge, Utilities Manager Dan Roberts said. The reduction will enable HOAs to pay approximately 10 percent of what they currently pay.

Kinskey recused himself from the vote since he lives in an HOA that would benefit. Councilor Robert Webster voted against the rate reduction.

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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