Riparian regulations fail in County Commission

SHERIDAN — By a vote of 4 to 1, Sheridan County Commissioners rejected proposed amendments to zoning regulations regarding riparian buffer zones at their regular meeting Tuesday.

Commissioners Mike Nickel, Steve Maier, Bob Rolston and Tom Ringley voted against the proposed regulations, stating as reasons the private property owners who expressed concern about the regulations, the fact that agricultural lands are exempt and misunderstandings about the regulation and its extent that seemed to indicate the proposal was not ready for implementation.

Commissioner Terry Cram voted for the proposed riparian regulations because he felt they were at least a piece to the puzzle of how to protect water quality and wildlife habitat in Sheridan County. He said the proposed regulations incorporated extensive public input and weren’t excessively intrusive. He also said protecting water quality was one of the last goals the commissioners needed to achieve from the 2008 comprehensive plan, which noted that 80 percent of the population that had input on the plan expressed a desire to regulate water quality.

More than 40 people filled the commissioner’s boardroom, with 17 speaking against and three speaking for the proposed riparian regulations. Several people noted after the meeting that they were in support of the regulations but chose not to speak. People in attendance were primarily from Story, Dayton and Ranchester. Incorporated towns and agricultural lands would have been exempt from the regulations.

All commissioners agreed that water quality was important and worth protecting, expressing a desire to look at alternative ways to do so without strict regulations.

For more information about the meeting, including other business, read Wednesday’s edition of The Sheridan Press.

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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