The Sheridan City Council has seen several large acreage annexation requests in the last year. Areas in Sheridan County that have had agricultural uses in the past are being developed into housing subdivisions and business parks. Despite the growing development, the Sheridan County Comprehensive plan emphasizes the preservation of open spaces and wildlife habitat. One organization has made that preservation their main goal. Colin Betzler is the executive director of the Sheridan Community Land Trust and he explains why some landowners are working with the trust.
Through conservation easements, property owners can prevent development of their land forever, if it meets certain criteria. Permanently restricting the use of a tract of land could seriously harm its overall value.
The Land Trust has two other components besides conservation easements. They can also facilitate historic preservation easements and they support affordable housing projects.
The Trust helps with housing projects by buying land and then selling the house only. Leasing the land to the homebuyer saves them from having to pay for the lot upfront and allows the Sheridan Community Land Trust to make sure the lot is always used to support affordable housing.