Sand Creek; County Reach Agreement

Sand Creek's John Jenkins speaks to the Johnson County Board of Equalization Wednesday
Sand Creek's John Jenkins speaks to the Johnson County Board of Equalization Wednesday

Johnson County and Sand Creek Ranch have reached an agreement in their nearly three-year dispute over valuation of lands in the ranch conservation community. Johnson County News Director for Sheridan Media, Aaron Palmer, has the report.

Lawyers for both entities were apparently in negotiations since last Wednesday's special meeting and finally came to an agreement late Monday.

The county commissioners called an emergency meeting Monday for the parties to go over the plan and finalize an agreement in time for the commissioners and the county board of equalization to adopt the plan at their meeting Tuesday morning.

At the heart of the disagreement: tax assessments done on ranch property that prompted a fight that was taken to the State Board of Equalization earlier this year, which found in favor of Sand Creek Ranch.

The County Board of Equalization then filed a protest in response to the State Board's decision.

A media release from the commissioners dated Tuesday said, “The Johnson County Board of County Commissioners is pleased to report that the Board and the Sand Creek Entities entered into a Settlement Agreement for all ad volorem taxes, penalties and interest for tax years 2008, 2009 and 2010 for all lands within the Sand Creek Conservation Community PUD. This Settlement Agreement will allow Sand Creek and the new Johnson County officials to determine the valuation for the Sand Creek lands for 2011 and future years.”

John Jenkins, President of the Sand Creek Ranch Preservation Association, responded to the decision.

From the Johnson County News Desk, I'm Aaron Palmer for news.

tax agreement

I'm glad that these parties have at long last come to a reasonable agreement on property taxes, but am disappointed in the disincentive that's perhaps been created for those who want to do development in an exceptionally creative way. To his credit, Mr. Jenkins has taken in to account the tremendous natural and scenic attributes that both his customers and the public enjoy, and produced a plan preserving such qualities as views, productive ag lands, etc.,that needs to be emulated whenever rural properties are subdivided. Unfortunately, the next developer will be heavily dissuaded from taking the Sand Creek approach, and will most likely take the path of least resistance by breaking it up into conventional acreages where functional permanent open space is, for most practical purposes, lost. For the future, taxation policy needs to be crafted at the state level encouraging the type of development reflecting those qualities we all love about Wyoming's irreplaceable landscapes.

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