Brad Schwend votes for the town to focus on economic development during the growth policy and capital improvement plan public meeting at the Sheridan Senior Center Oct. 12. PHOTO BY HANNAH KEARSE

Sheridan’s priorities for the next five years

Public votes on their recommendations

Sheridan community leaders and members provided input on the town’s future growth policy and capital improvement plans at the Sheridan Senior Center Oct. 7.

The public meeting’s recorded minutes were on several 2-feet tall pieces of craft paper, each labeled with town features and potential town projects. Each participant had three stickers to select what they wanted the town to prioritize for the next five years. Information from a resident survey, about 35 resident interviews and the public meeting makes up the public outreach portion of drafting Sheridan’s growth policy and capital improvement plan.

“What would you like us to focus on in the next five years?” Bob Stump asked.

Sheridan was five years overdue for an updated growth policy and capital improvement plan, according to Northern Rockies Engineer Scott Payne. Most places update these plans every five years. The process requires public involvement.

Potential projects that were voted on included a state-of-the-art track for Sheridan School and a beautified Madison Street. But Brad Schwend, a local builder, was more interested in incentivizing residential development. He voted for the town to prioritize housing, economic development and pool and parks. Schwend owns about 20 acres in Sheridan and is interested in developing it into 20-30 homes, including one for himself.

“It’s too expensive,” Schwend said. “We need incentive to develop.”

Payne, who is compiling the local input, said housing was a concern for many businesses and residents in Sheridan. According to Payne, businesses are having trouble finding places for employees to live. Participants at the Oct. 7 meeting showed a strong support for prioritizing housing.

Development and population are growing faster outside of Sheridan’s town limits.

The town’s future plans include the one-mile area around town limits.

“We don’t necessarily say services are going toward outside-of-town residents,” Payne said.

Sheridan’s town water is an example of a service that is not extended to residents living a few miles outside of town, such as up Mill Creek Road. Annexing the growing populated areas outside of town was part of the discussion. The topic did not receive much support at the public meeting. According to Payne, individual water rights complicate Sheridan’s ability to annex areas around it.

The 10 topics participants voted on were based on concerns residents have brought to the town. Pool and parks received the most support in the meeting with 15 sticker-votes. Housing and emergency medical services tied for the second most supported topics. Roads received the third most support from participants.

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