SHERIDAN — New construction is set to begin at the Powder Horn South Fork subdivision and two portions of new trail in the Soldier Ridge Trail system are set to open following approval from the Sheridan Board of County Commissioners. 

The new construction will add to the development of the area, moving the county toward its housing limit of 365 houses in the community.

Sheridan County Planner Mark Reid said this new request is for subdivision permits for roughly 21.5 acres currently zoned as a planned unit development. It is planned to be turned into 16 residential lots and two outlots, with lot sizes ranging from roughly 16,000 square feet to more than an acre.

The approval comes with several variances, which Reid said was not unusual and were all overwhelmingly recommended by the Sheridan County Planning and Zoning Commission and accepted by the BOCC.

The first variance involves the radius of a cul-de-sac in the plan. Reid said the applicant is requesting a radius of 55 feet, which is smaller than currently allowed in Sheridan County code.

“The applicant’s basis for the request centers on provision of more stream setback from Little Goose on lots four, five and six,” he said.

The second variance is for an average stream setback of 75-feet for lots four, five and six, instead of the normally required 100 feet. Reid said the applicant stipulated that, despite the smaller-than-normal average, none of them will be smaller than 50 feet, and that he was comfortable with that number.

“They’ve kind of offset the stream setback aspect by providing some open space in a different area,” he said. “With this particular setting — I’m not going to say it’s never going to flood — I’ve been on the site though, I’ve walked the stream, it’s within a well-established channel.”

The final variance is for the allowance of larger than normal depth-to-front ratios, primarily to preserve views and because of narrow frontage.

In addition to the variances, Commission Chair Nick Siddle had some concern about the area’s sewer system being able to handle the amount of new development in the area.

But Tyson Markham, of Morrison-Maierle, who is working on the project, said it is the Powder Horn community’s responsibility to handle any upsizing of the system downstream of the development that may be necessary, but that there is plenty to handle what is going in now.

“We know for a fact that the sewer system for this particular subdivision is adequate,” Markham said.

No construction has started yet on the development, though other areas of the Powder Horn community are currently being built.

Trail easements approved with Sheridan Heights Ranch, Black Tooth Ranch

Two easements around trail extensions in Sheridan County were approved by county commissioners.

Brad Bauer, Sheridan Community Land Trust executive director, said both trails will be part of the Soldier Ridge Trail system and will contribute to its roughly 14 miles across Sheridan.

Both easements are working with private landowners, though Bauer said they have worked with them before to complete other portions of the trails. Bauer said the Black Tooth Ranch easement is for the last 500 feet of that portion of the trail.

He said the trails are fully complete and told the commissioners “the two agreements that you have in front of you, we are ready to open up.”

Sheridan County Administrative Director Renee Obermueller said approving these easements is the final step before the trails can be opened for public use.

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