Planning begins at the ballot box

  Even though Wyoming locals lost a lawsuit to stop an 18-hole golf course and 600 homes near the town of Big Horn, they took revenge: They ousted one of the county commissioners who had allowed the new development.

The Wyoming Supreme Court ruling concerned the Powderhorn, a golf course resort that will be built outside Big Horn by developer Homer Scott, Jr. The land was originally zoned rural-residential, which would have allowed Scott to build 300 homes on 606 acres. But the developer persuaded Sheridan County commissioners to reclassify the resort as a Planned Unit Development (PUD), allowing Scott to build 600 homes (HCN, 4/25/96).

Dismayed residents formed the Sheridan Planning Association and sued. They argued that any PUD in Sheridan County must be consistent with the comprehensive plan, which designates the Powderhorn area as "low-density." The court disagreed.

That left angry residents with one recourse: the ballot box. Last Nov. 5, residents voted out the resort's supporter, Eunice McEwan, in favor of Charles Whiton, a long-time Big Horn resident and opponent of the planned resort. Whiton said: "The county was not being well-managed, and that includes zoning."

* Sam Western

High Country News Classifieds