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County denies lot size variance in Story

SHERIDAN — The Board of County Commissioners voted 0-5 on a request for a lot size variance on property occupied by the Wagon Box Inn in Story. The 0-5 vote means the request for a variance was denied.

The same variance request was recommended for denial by the County Planning and Zoning Commission on May 1.

Property owners Dick and Andrea Phillips requested the variance in order to split the property into two parcels. One 4.67-acre parcel would contain the inn, restaurant, bar and one residence on the north side of Spring Creek. The other 2.01-acre parcel currently contains an existing cabin that would be used for residential purposes.

The variance is required for the division because the property is zoned rural residential and is located in the Groundwater Protection Area. Any new or remaining parcels in such zoning are required to be a minimum of 5 acres in size.

At the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting May 1, there were a couple reasons given for the split. One reason was to allow immediate family to use the cabin on the proposed smaller parcel. The other reasons were economic, to make the land easier to sell in the future and lessen property taxes.

The Phillips were not present at the county commission meeting to speak.

County zoning regulations allow variances when special conditions — unique or abnormal physical qualities of the land that limit its typical use — exist. The applicants said the creek splitting the property was a special condition. The staff report about the request said the crux of the consideration for the variance was whether or not the creek was an unnecessary hardship that would justify the variance.

Ultimately, county commissioners decided the creek did not present enough of a hardship to justify the variance and it was denied.

“It was not proven that it was a hardship. We did have some correspondence; however, nobody was here today to either defend it or to oppose it, so we pretty well read through what came from the Planning and Zoning (Commission) and felt that what they recommended fits in with our plan,” Commissioner Bob Rolston said. “It won’t change things, really, the way they are now, but only if it were offered for sale, and you can’t anticipate how long someone’s going to own something.”

In other business, commissioners voted to initiate a process to vacate, or abandon, a portion of Upper Big Horn Sheridan Road that runs through airport property. County Engineer Ken Muller said the airport is currently surveying its property boundary and discovered that the county still owns public right-of-way for a portion of the road that runs through airport property, over the current runway. With vacation, the public right-of-way will be removed.

Commissioners voted 5-0 to approve vacation of 11 acres of land on the W Bar D Ranch to allow it to be used for agricultural production. The parcel was part of the McNally Subdivision but will be removed from subdivision status and become part of the adjoining W Bar D Ranch, managed by applicant William Doenz.

Commissioners also voted to concur with the Wyoming Department of Transportation in an award of a bridge replacement project on the bridge over Little Goose Creek on Maverick Road. The project will be awarded to Reiman Corp. and Subsidiary out of Cheyenne. The total project cost is estimated at $1.3 million. The county match, which will be paid with Capital Facilities Tax funds, is 9.5 percent, or approximately $138,000.

 

 

 

 

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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