Casper Planner: Neighbors Nervous Over Possible Park Lot Sale
It's steep, undeveloped, isolated and unmowed, but a possible sale by the city of a small triangular lot at the far southwestern corner of Washington Park for someone to build a house has raised concerns in south central Casper, city planner Craig Collins said Monday.
A citizen whom Collins declined to identify asked the city to rezone that part of the park and the Mitchell Street right of way. Mitchell Street's right of way heads due north from East 12th Street, but the roadway itself veers northeast to South Jefferson Street in the park.
The changes will require rezoning the property from a Park Historic classification to a One Unit Residential classification to create a salable lot. The park property and the Mitchell Street right of way total about 11,800 square feet, or about a quarter-acre, Collins said.
Residents within a 300-foot radius of the affected area have been notified, and apparently some are not happy.
"We haven't received any written formal comments yet, but I know there's a lot of nervous folks in the neighborhood," Collins said. "I understand that."
But he thinks some of the concerned residents don't know just what part of the park is affected, he said. "It's a great little neighborhood, and I just don't think people want to see that lot developed, from what I've heard."
There's not much to the lot because the city never did much with it such as installing picnic tables and other amenities that make Washington Park popular.
"It is not being used as a groomed portion of the park," Collins said.
"However, I do know that some neighbors have used it for walking dogs and informal uses like that," he said. "It's never been developed or used historically as a park."
People may submit their comments for the to the Planning and Zoning Commission by Friday for their inclusion in the agenda for the commission's meeting on March 16. People also may speak during the public comment period of that meeting.
Even if the rezoning process makes it through the City's Planning and Zoning Commission, and then approval by the Casper City Council, Collins said the market will make the final decision about the land.
"If the property is disposed of, it will require a bidding process, a public bidding process, so there's no guarantee that that person would even get it, if he were not the high bidder," he said.