A new, privately-owned hospital on Casper’s east side is one step closer to becoming reality.

Casper City Council approved, on second reading, the site plan that will contain the proposed 52,000-square-foot Summit Medical Center, along with several medical offices and a restaurant.

Council approved the site plan 6-0. Mirroring the previous vote, Ward I’s Daniel Sandoval, Ward II’s Paul Meyer and Ward III’s Paul Bertoglio recused themselves from voting.

Casper mayor Kenyne Schlager says council is complying with planned unit development rules put in place when the McMurry Business Park was created in 2005.

“We had received advice from our city attorney that, really, this issue is just a land issue and there’s no reason or basis for us to deny,” Schlager said.

The plan has drawn scorn from the Natrona County Board of County Commissioners and Wyoming Medical Center. Both groups say a third hospital would drive up healthcare costs by injecting more underutilized beds into the region.

Wyoming Medical Center also claims the new hospital would absorb too many insured patients, leaving WMC with the underinsured and uninsured. Officials with WMC also say, if current revenue streams were to evaporate, it may not be able to continue its Level II trauma center operations.

Two weeks ago, a Casper-based Summit Medical Center representative told councilors that 24 doctors have an ownership stake in the proposed 16-bed facility.

Officials from Nueterra, the Kansas-based healthcare facility management firm that will oversee the property, still have not spoken to the media in regard to the complex.

The ordinance formally establishing the subdivision must pass one more reading before it can be formally adopted.