Casper City Council on Tuesday approved on third reading the rezoning of 2.8 acres for development on the north end of Wilkins Circle.

The zoning classification from PH (Park Historic) to C-4 (Highway Business) will enable owner East Elkhorn Ranch, LLC, to build a commercial business.

No one spoke in favor or against the rezoning during the public hearing.

The vote Tuesday was the final vote that reversed the city's planning and zoning commission decision in September to deny the request by East Elkhorn Ranch. The company acquired the property from the city as part of a swap for McMurry-owned property on Casper Mountain for the biathlon park, McMurry Companies president Timm Smith told the council in January.

The planning and zoning commission made its decision after hearing from representatives of nearby businesses who said that could affect the attractiveness of the area among other issues.

Representatives of the Central Wyoming Counseling Center, Gastroenterology Associates and the Sterling Surgical Center on Wilkins Circle said that area has become a small but significant medical hub with attractive buildings and landscaping.

They were concerned new development might mean building a liquor store that could attract people who also may be drug abusers, and that it would disrupt appearance of the well-landscaped neighboring businesses.

But city council members responded during the first reading of the proposed zoning change that C-4 could apply to any business, and the city has control of the issuance of liquor stores.

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