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SHERIDAN — Story Elementary School will be allowed to renovate and expand this summer without going through the process of obtaining a conditional use permit following a decision by the Board of County Commissioners to overturn a zoning permit denial Tuesday.
The commissioners were presented evidence about the case during their regularly scheduled meeting.
County Planner Mark Reid acted as representative for the county public works department. He said zoning code requires a zoning permit to demonstrate that building use will comply with the zoning of a particular area. Story School is in a rural residential zone, which does not list school expansions as an allowed use. The public works department denied the zoning permit and said a conditional use permit must be obtained.
All conditional use permits must be considered by the County Planning and Zoning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners.
Sheridan County School District 2 appealed the zoning permit denial. Superintendent Craig Dougherty acted as representative for SCSD 2.
Dougherty said the school didn’t believe a conditional use permit was necessary because the proposed renovations would not change the capacity or intent of the school.
Dougherty said the district has held “a multitude” of public meetings and there has been no opposition to the renovations.
Commissioner Steve Maier said the primary purpose of a conditional use permit is to allow for public input. Since the school has held several meetings and since summer is the ideal time to work on the school, the commissioners agreed a conditional use permit was not necessary.
According to SCSD 2 Facilities Director Julie Carroll, the school will add a security vestibule to the entrance and two restrooms that are compliant with American with Disabilities Act requirements. The school will give its four classrooms a facelift, re-wire the building and install four new furnaces and new lighting. The two old restrooms that were not ADA-compliant will be turned into storage and a janitor’s closet. The school will also be installing a new septic system.
Students were moved to Grace Chapel this week so the school could start asbestos abatement. Bids from general contractors will be in by Friday and work will begin after that, with an anticipated finish date before school starts next fall. The Story School expansion received funding from the state Legislature in March 2012. It is estimated the work will cost approximately $1 million.
In other business:
• Commissioners approved a conditional use permit for Rodgers Taxidermy Shop, which will operate in a 2,800-square-foot building on rural residential property on the southeast side of Sawyers Street.
• Sheridan Heights Ranch Quarry west of Soldier Creek Road received a waiver to allow on-site crushing of excavated material.
• Sheridan County Airport received approval to enter into an agreement with Cloud Peak Aviation that will allow Cloud Peak to operate an air charter business, to self fuel its own aircraft and to offer hangar space. The airport also received approval to apply for a $5,000 grant from the state aeronautics division to conduct an open house and fly-in at the airport in September.