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Casper considering annexing properties despite owners' objections

 Mail boxes along Poplar Street on land subject to the annexation in Natrona County, Wyo. on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019.
Mail boxes along Poplar Street on land subject to the annexation in Natrona County, Wyo. on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. (KCWY)
Published: Dec. 6, 2019 at 10:34 PM CST
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Casper City Council members are debating whether to annex land into the city off Poplar Street south of Wyoming Blvd.

Though the city has the legal right to do it, property owners on the land don’t want to become Casper residents.

The city’s right to annex comes from an agreement with property owners allowing them access to Casper’s water supply.

Tuesday, council members approved the annexation on first reading. It still has to pass two more readings. Only Councilman Ken Bates, Ward II, voted against moving it forward. Other members said they would like more information before approving it on second reading.

The vote came after vocal opposition from residents who spoke at the council meeting. Many said their main concern with being annexed is being subject to city regulations. One speaker mentioned city laws prohibiting firing a gun. She said she sometimes needs to shoot rattlesnakes on her property. Following the hearing, Casper Police Chief Keith McPheeters told her and other residents he is willing to work with them. He said he could issue permits, on a case-by-case basis, allowing owners to shoot rattlesnakes on their properties.

Casper Mayor Charlie Powell, Ward II, said a major reason the city wants to annex these properties is to add population ahead of the 2020 Census.

“The annexation is driven by the upcoming census,” he said.

The city’s funding depends largely on its population. More people means more money.

“All the citizens of Casper benefit when our population expands based on the sales tax revenue that we receive and that, in theory, lessens the burden that each citizen has,” Powell said.

If council members approve the annexation, they’d zone the land as urban agriculture.

“The zoning will give them the freedom to operate their properties exactly as they have without any additional resources,” Powell said.

Multiple property owners said this wouldn’t be the case because they’d still be subject to city regulations.

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