A 28.5-acre strip of land on North Robertson Road along the North Platte River probably will be annexed into the City of Casper, after the city council approved the proposal on first reading on Tuesday.

The city initiated the annexation process.

The land with 15 lots currently in Natrona County is surrounded by city land, and several of the residents receive city water, according to the agenda for the meeting.

The annexation would be known as the East Robertson Road Addition and rezoned as Urban Agriculture, and rezoned on one property from One Unit Residential to Urban Agriculture.

Properties on the land are developed and undeveloped, with 12 dwelling units and potential for 16 more.

City staff and elected officials met with area residents in the past year.

Tuesday, City Manager Carter Napier dealt with two common suspicions by residents of annexation.

First, residents may think this will inhibit their abilities to use their properties, Napier said.

The Urban Agriculture zoning designation in this area will allow for the flexible use of property, he said.

Second, some people think annexation will lead to higher taxes, which is a misperception, Napier said.

In this case, the opposite would happen if the annexation did not happen, he said.

For reasons unknown, some residents in this area have been receiving city water but never have been charged the out-of-city water rate, which is 50% more than those who live within Casper City limits.

If the annexation doesn't happen, the out-of-city rate would be imposed, Napier said.

Mayor Steve Freel and council woman Lisa Engebretsen abstained from the vote. Both are in the real estate business.

The next reading of the proposed annexation ordinance will be Feb. 2.

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