Casper City Council at a work session Tuesday tentatively approved amending a city zoning requirement that would allow gambling in a former nightclub.

City Manager Carter Napier told the council that a pari-mutuel wagering business has asked the city to locate a gambling establishment at the former Sidelines nightclub at 1121 Wilkins Circle.

The municipal code prevents the approval of a conditional use permit for gambling at a property in a C-4 [Highway Business] zoning district if it is within 300 feet of a church or school, and a church is next to the former nightclub property, Napier said, referring to a memo in the agenda for the meeting.

A similar issue arose in 2017 when the Pet Ring Foundation wanted to have gambling at the former Godfather's Pizza on East Second Street and that area was zoned C-2 [General Business] and a church was within 300 feet of that property, Napier said. The city approved an amendment to allow gambling, he said.

The C-4 zoning is a more intensive zoning classification and amending the requirement to allow gambling at the former nightclub would be less of a problem than that with the Pet RIng Foundation, he said.

The nightclub, he added, was a bar without any separation requirement from the church.

The council gave a thumbs up to the proposal.

The city's planning and zoning commission will review the proposed amendment in March or April. If the commission approves the amendment, it will go to the city council for approval by an ordinance probably in May, according to the work session agenda.

The former nightclub building has been unused for several years. It had been owned by Sonny Pilcher, who was convicted of tax fraud, sentenced to a year in federal prison, and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.

It is now owned by FS Holdings, LLC.

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