True Drilling LLC won initial approval of two zoning variances from Natrona County's Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday to build a new 44,000-square-foot office tower at its headquarters at 455 N. Poplar St.

The tower will allieveate overcrowding among the approximately 120 employees who work at the company, said Ken White, True Drilling's treasurer and human resources manager. It also will accommodate a projection addition of about 30 employees over the next few years, he said.

While it will be twice as tall as the surrounding buildings, it will appear joined to an existing building and it will not substantially block the view of Casper Mountain from nearby structures, White said.

The tower will be nestled within the southeast area of the existing H-shaped headquarters building, architect James Holloway of GSG Architecture told the Planning and Zoning Commission.

The zoning itself does not change because the use of the landlocked site near Interstate 25 will not change, Holloway said. "They're going to continue to operate the same way they have."

True Drilling LLC has had a helistop atop an existing building, and the helistop will be transferred to the the new structure, county planning department director Jason Gutierrez told the commission.

The department has received no public comment on the proposed variance changes, Guterierrez said.

Tuesday, no one spoke against the proposal at the public hearing.

After the Planning and Zoning Commission approved the request, chairman Harold Wright said the full Natrona County Commission will consider it at its May 6 meeting.