David Phillips speaks against a proposed zoning changenear his residence north of Casper at a Natrona County Commission meeting Tuesday as deputy county attorney Heather Duncan-Malone listens.
Tom Morton, Townsquare Media



Nearly 50 signatures on a petition and a battery of pleas from residents near Bar Nunn persuaded Natrona County commissioners Tuesday to reject a developer's request to change the zoning for their neighborhood.

"The property was intended to be residential," David Phillips told the commissioners.

Phillips, his neighbors and other supporters opposed local lawyer Keith Tyler of LT Investment's request to convert 30 acres on 2744 Salt Creek Highway from Urban Mixed Residential to Light Industrial.

Tyler defended his request, saying any new traffic in the area would be on the 30 acres and would lessen traffic Salt Creek Highway.

But Phillips, who has lived on Forbes Road for 35 years, said five zoning changes over the past 10 years has altered the character of the rural area when his parents bought their property 60 years ago.

He attended the county's Planning and Zoning Commission meeting when it approved the zoning change, but didn't say anything at that time because he didn't have enough information, he said.

But upon further research, Phillips decided to draft a petition and gather signatures before the Natrona County Commission made its final decision, he said.

One Phillips ally, Curt Simpson, told commissioners he lives on Osage and said area residents can hear businesses running all night.

Simpson told the commissioners they need to think about where they allow industries to locate.

Phillips and others accused the commissioners of siding with developers and monied interests rather than people.

Commissioner Terry Wingerter told the audience he had intended to vote for the zoning change, but the number of opponents and the petitions changed his mind.

Commissioner Rob Hendry told the audience that the property owner has the right to do what he wants with his own property, but he, too, would vote against the zoning change.

However, Hendry cautioned this area was changing, and a decision Tuesday would not thwart that, he said. "Development is coming."

Commissioners Hendry, Wingerter and Matt Keating voted down the request. Forrest Chadwick voted for it, and commission Chairman Bill McDowell did not vote.

After the hearing, Tyler declined to comment on the commissioners' decision.