Neighbors worry about increased traffic from proposed Cloud Peak development

SHERIDAN — Sheridan Planning Commission members voted unanimously to rezone 2.28 acres on the Cloud Peak Ranch development located east of Featherbed Lane near Highland Park Elementary School from R-1 residential to R-3 residential but split votes, with four for and two against, on the development proposed for the parcel.

The proposed development consists of 22 residential lots and five outlots that would be developed around a loop road that would connect with Dome Drive and Featherbed Lane for two access points.
The rezone was passed with the condition that houses be limited to two-story, single-family units. The rezone to R-3 was needed to allow for smaller houses and lot sizes than are allowed in R-1 zoning, according to Planning and Development Director Robert Briggs.

It was also needed to match zoning on the total 5.38 acres of the development since much of the area was zoned R-3 in the 2004 Cloud Peak Ranch Zoning/Concept Plan.

Four of the seven residents in the Traditions neighborhood adjacent to the proposed development were present at the meeting. Primary concerns expressed were about the density of the project and the possibility of increased traffic on Featherbed Lane, which the Traditions homeowners association pays to maintain.

Residents also worried that people may use the road through the neighborhoods to circumvent the nearby school zone.

“This is just not what we thought we were getting into when we bought our property,” nearby resident Tricia Davis said.

Davis owns property directly adjacent to the proposed development and said she was told her backyard, which provides a large area for green space, would be next to a similar sized yard, but the plans show a house almost next to her property line. Davis also expressed concern about decreased property values since the proposed homes are smaller than Traditions homes.

Nearby resident Jerry Walker said he was concerned about having to pay higher street maintenance fees to the homeowner’s association.
“It seems unfair if we have to maintain the street for additional traffic,” Walker said.

Commissioners discussed not connecting the new neighborhood to Featherbed Lane, making it a single access cul de sac, but the motion to approve the preliminary plat did not include such stipulations.

Developer Don Roberts assured the houses would be similar to those in the Traditions neighborhood and said they would be a similar price range, though the market is down.

Jeff Feck with Vista West Engineering said the density of the development has not changed from the original 2007 plat for the area and also noted that Featherbed Lane was always dedicated to connect to another roadway.

In the voice vote, four members voted to approve the preliminary plat and two voted against, but it was unclear who voted which way, so a roll call vote was needed. In the roll call vote, two board members — Jason Szewc and Thayer Shafer — switched their vote from their voice vote but the total remained the same with four for and two against. A roll call vote nullifies a voice vote.
“It takes me a little bit of time to think about these things and digest,” Szewc said, explaining his switch from a “no” vote to a “yes” vote.

“I think it’s very difficult,” he added. “People always try to take some emotion into this, but facts are facts. That’s not going to be an empty field forever.”

Shafer wanted to see the motion tabled but switched from a “yes” vote to a “no” vote to try to buy time for residents to resolve their issues with the developer.

In other business, the planning commission unanimously voted to approve the final plat for the Sheridan Links planned unit development on the old country club golf course near West Fifth Street and Mydland Road.

Sheridan Links will consist of 57.48 acres divided into three sections — an estate home section with large lots, a gated entrance and private road, a section for patio homes and a section on Fifth Street for a church to meet in the old clubhouse.

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.

  Email | Twitter