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Council tables contentious development

SHERIDAN — After more than an hour of presentations, public comment and discussion, City Council voted Monday to table a decision on a resolution to approve a planned unit development overlay for a proposed 76-unit development on the corner of Brundage Lane and Big Horn Avenue. Known as Skyview West and owned by Kim Love, the development has been debated for years, with many concerns rising from the processes used to determine the zoning of the property.

Councilor Levi Dominguez, Ward 3, was the only council member to vote against tabling the decision because he said he felt the residents and developers deserved an answer.

 

They must now wait until the next City Council meeting April 15.

As a resolution, the PUD overlay will require one reading to be approved.

Mayor Dave Kinskey was unable to attend the meeting due to a prior commitment out of town.

“I think that we should have voted on this issue tonight, regardless of if it passed or not passed because there has been endless hours between the resident and the developer and the developer’s engineers at Vista West to present this,” Dominguez said. “I think minds have possibly been made up already, and so, to table it, I think we’re just preventing the future outcome. What that might be, I’m not sure, but as far as to give the developer respect and the residents of Colony South respect, I think it should be voted on as soon as possible and let the residents and developer know where our stance is on this issue.”

Nearly 30 people filled the council chambers to participate in the public hearing.

Participants included city staff, development engineers, residents who live near the proposed site — several with concerns and at least one who supported it — and three attorneys who represent the parties involved.
At the start of the meeting, during the approval of the consent agenda, Dominguez stated for the public record that he had requested that a petition signed in May 2011 by more than 200 residents who live adjacent to or nearby the proposed Skyview West development be included on the agenda.

The petition requested that City Council rezone Tract 2 of the property, a three-acre triangle adjacent to the Colony South neighborhood, from R-3 residential back to R-1, which would limit development to single family homes. That petition was tabled in May 2011 to start a discussion process between residents, city staff and the developer. It has been neither retracted nor addressed by City Council, and Dominguez said that state statute could be interpreted to require action on the petition before approving the PUD overlay for the development.

Dominguez said that Kinskey and Councilor John Heath told him they felt there was no legal reason to include the petition on the agenda, so it was not included. At the end of the meeting Heath said it would be incorrect to assume he had no interest in including the petition on the agenda; he just felt there was no statutory reason to include it since it was recognized in May 2011. He also said he and several city staff members have worked hard to listen to and respect the concerns of nearby residents.

At the beginning of the public hearing, city Planning Director Robert Briggs and development engineer Jeff Feck with Vista West Engineering presented the development plan, which includes a mixture of one-, two-, and three-story apartment buildings to be built around a single loop road on 6.84 acres of land.

Dennis Kirven, attorney for Love, urged the council to remember that the question at hand was not a rezone of the property but to determine if a PUD overlay for the development was appropriate. He said the zoning of both tracts of the property was declared R-3 by summary judgment in 2010, noting that the city zoning map that labeled both tracts as R-3 was deemed correct.

Scott Peasley, a lawyer from Douglas, was also present.

He was hired by residents Nel and Chris Dahmke to represent their concerns about the process for determining the zoning.

“When you consider the fact that it was zoned R-1 to begin with, for a long time, and then was changed by a judicial declaration without even the courtesy of these homeowners being notified of this thing, I think it’s an important question to ask yourself whether or not an apartment complex like this is compatible with this zone that was R-1,” Peasley said.

“All of you know that this whole process has been handled wrong,” Nel Dahmke said in her statement. “This whole process has been morally, ethically and legally wrong. Please make it right. Do the right thing. Vote against this.”

After the public hearing was closed, councilor Shelleen Smith of Ward 1 asked city attorney Greg Von Krosigk to explain what legal obligations the city had in regards to the petition. Von Krosigk said the declaratory judgment was discussed at length in May 2011 and that the council had no legal obligation under statute to act on the petition.

Heath then moved to table the decision until the next meeting.
In other business:

• The council approved a resolution for Poplar Grove PUD Phase Two, located northwest of Skeels Street and Aspen Trail, to subdivide a 12-acre tract into 14 lots.

• The council approved an application for a new bar and grill license from Phoenix Restaurant Group at the former Oliver’s Bar and Grill location at 55 North Main St.

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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