An oilfield transportation company’s application to have 20 acres of Natrona County land rezoned for an expansion project is one step closer to being approved, despite objections from people living nearby.
The Natrona County Planning and Zoning Commission voted in favor of USA Trucking’s request at its Tuesday meeting. The application will now move on to the Natrona County Commissioners.
USA Trucking, which is located along Poison Spider Road in Casper, is an oilfield transportation business that specializes in the hauling of drilling mud and other oilfield and industrial needs, according to its Facebook profile.
The company is asking that 20 acres alongside the facility be rezoned. The company needs more space to reorganize and improve the flow of traffic at the facility, owner Rick Legerski told the Star-Tribune.
But about a dozen Mills residents who live near the proposed zone change spoke out against it prior to the commission’s vote.
Cody McCormick said the company already creates a significant amount of noise.
“I live half a mile away and I get woken up in the middle of the night,” he said. “... When they get that much closer, it’s just going to create more problems.”
Veronica Bates, another Mills resident, implored the commissioners to put themselves in the citizens’ shoes.
“It changes the value of our homes; it changes how we as a neighborhood can increase and grow our community,” she said. “… If this was your neighborhood, if this was your home, if this is a place that you go home to after work, to live with your families and to have peace and comfort and those given rights that are given to us through the United States of America, you would not want this in your backyard.”
Other residents expressed concerns that the business’s expansion could become a public health hazard by creating more air pollution or increasing the risk of a community fire.
Jason Gutierrez, the director for the Natrona County Planning and Development Department, told the commission that the business is monitored to ensure it complies with the proper safety measures.
“They go through endless checks and balances,” he said, listing routine inspections from the fire department as one example.
The commissioners ultimately approved the application. The Commission already approved the request earlier this year and sent it along to the Natrona County Commission for consideration.
But the Natrona County Commissioners sent it back for further discussion.
“We sent it back to (planning and zoning) because we want the Town of Mills and USA Trucking to talk it over,” Rob Hendry, the chairman for the Natrona County Commission, said last week.
After the meeting last week, Legerski said he did meet with Mills leaders and agreed to reduce his rezoning request to 20 acres. The original application asked for 30, he said.
According to Legerski, the company is also working to reduce its effect on nearby residents. Trucks are no longer permitted to unload between the hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., he said.
Mills Mayor Seth Coleman previously explained that the Mills Town Council has no real authority over the matter. The rezoning request involves land that’s adjacent to Mills, but it is not within the town’s limits.
“As far as direct control over it, we have none,” he said.
The Natrona County Comissioners are slated to hear the matter at a meeting next month.