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Albany County Commissioners have scheduled a joint work session for themselves and the Albany County Planning and Zoning Commission to review the Casper Aquifer Protection Plan and proposed revisions to the Aquifer Protection Overlay Zone’s development regulations.

At their Tuesday meeting, Albany County Planner David Gertsch presented options for updating the Casper Aquifer Protection Plan, or CAPP, an issue that arose when the delineation of the aquifer’s western boundary was questioned in late 2019.

“The most appropriate way to update the Aquifer Protection Overlay Zone in my opinion is to update the Casper Aquifer Protection Plan,” Gertsch said. The CAPP has not been updated since 2011.

Gertsch estimated the update will cost between $75,000 and $125,000. Gertsch suggested the possibility of doing a joint update with the city of Laramie, in which case both governments would share the cost.

The city of Laramie has already made plans to update its own CAPP this year.

The joint work session, scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday, will also include a discussion of proposed revisions to the APOZ development rules, which the planning commission signed off on in December.

The regulations were opened to a 45-day public comment period on Dec. 17 and were also subject to a public hearing before going to the Albany County Commission for approval this week.

The regulations came before commissioners Tuesday, where they decided to take a more in-depth look at the regulations in a joint work session to consider the public comments and add clarity to the regulations.

County Attorney Peggy Trent thanked those individuals who made written comments in the 45-day period, saying it was good feedback.

“I think from that, now we’re able to take those comments and incorporate them, and now there’s a lot of policy decisions and discussion that must come from that,” Trent said.

During the public hearing Tuesday, several Laramie locals expressed concerns about the new amendments to the APOZ regulations.

“There’s a lot of work that needs to be done editorially, to add clarity to the regulations,” Albany County Clean Water Advocates President Sarah Gorin said during the public hearing.

Planning Commission Chairman Shaun Moore echoed Gorin’s concerns, saying “we have definitions that don’t even make sense.”

Trent also agreed the regulations were not ready to be adopted.

Aside from a lack of clarity in the regulation amendments, Laramie locals presented issues with specific amendments.

For instance, the current regulations allow for any party to petition for the APOZ to include a piece of property. The amendment to this regulation would bar anyone but the property owner from petitioning his or her land to be included in the APOZ.

Richard Anderson-Sprecher is a homeowner in the Laramie Plains Subdivision who, in late 2018, tried to get commissioners to review a 6-acre piece of property for possible inclusion into the APOZ.

“You can’t have a situation where the polluter is the only one who can make an objection or say that the polluting should be reviewed,” Anderson said during the hearing.

Maura Hanning, who sits on the city’s planning commission, expressed concern over the amendment’s definition of “expansion” as it pertains to non-conforming uses of the APOZ that have been grandfathered in.

The current regulation allows for nonconforming use expansion if an investigation shows the expansion wouldn’t have “increased hazard to the aquifer.” The new regulation would instead allow for no expansion of nonconforming use at all.

The new regulation defines expansion as occurring “when there is an increase of storage capacity of hazardous materials or the location of the nonconforming use is changed.”

Hanning suggested the county’s definition of expansion should also limit a gas station’s ability to increase its volume of gasoline sales even if the capacity of its storage tanks weren’t increased.

“It’s sort of acknowledging that you can’t run a gas station without losing product into the environment,” Hanning said.

Jason Tangeman, a Laramie attorney who represents Tumbleweed Express, urged commissioners to reject the proposed amendments to APOZ development in a Jan. 30 letter.

“After Albany County dismissed its lawsuit, it appears that the proposed amendments to the APOZ (and companion moratorium) have been almost entirely directed at the Tumbleweed gas station,” Tangeman wrote. “In this regard, we believe the proposed amendments violate Due Process Clauses of both the United States and Wyoming Constitutions. ... The proposed amendments are nothing more than a backdoor attempt to regulate the Tumbleweed property and further constitute an unlawful ‘takings’ as outlined in our prior correspondence.”

The current temporary moratorium on the APOZ is likely to be extended following Monday’s work session to allow for a thorough examination and update of the regulations.

(12) comments

Watch Dog

Why don't the City and the County shut the Tumbleweed down? The Tumbleweed is clearly in violation of Albany County Zoning Resolution- adopted Oct 1, 2015. It states " No non-conforming use shall be expanded beyond the use in existence at the time of adoption of this resolution". The Tumbleweed was never open 24 hours a day for thirty past years, and it was never open past 7 P.M. and closed on Sunday. By 2015 when the Albany County Zoning Resolution was adopted it was only open seasonally; open during the summer and closed all winter. Courts have ruled that extension of operating hours and increased sales have constituted an expansion of a non-conforming use. Somebody needs to hire an attorney to sue the county to make them enforce their zoning resolution , because as of now attorneys for the Tumbleweed - Nicholas and Tangeman are just blowing smoke. They are just scaring the county attorney who backs down way to easy and they know it.

Waheguru

I’ve heard you ate free pizza 🍕 from Tumbleweed owners. At least that’s what they claim. Why you always so concerned to keep them in news. . I mean they are enjoying free publicity.

Watch Dog

Because Waheguru no- one is above the law. When the public's health and welfare are at risk because someone wants to monopolize all the business - and has no remorse to the people's outcry, I would call this a mean spirited greedy individual. Then the county commissioners cannot read their own statutes and follow the law, I would call this a far cry from protecting the public safety. Waheguru, thank you for writing and keeping this in the news. I appreciate it!

Waheguru

So it’s okay to eat free pizza from those evil individual??? I smell hypocrisy here. That place is busy like crazy. I mean come on man !!! I am sure you get your fuel there too. Maybe in middle of night. I see you trespassing into their private property behind the store. They have footage I heard. They said they are going to get restraining order from court against you for soliciting & loitering at their property. Don’t be crazy enough to post those pictures on Facebook. You are leaving a massive trail of evidence behind you .

Watch Dog

Wow ! Waheguru you have a very vivid imagination going on there. You have my vote to run for next County Commissioner!

Waheguru

Don’t backout then. I am planning on replacing Gosar. 👍🏻👍🏻 He is embarrassing all of us Democrats by pretending to represent us. I like to have real representation not fake. I never trusted him to begin with.

Watch Dog

Hey Waheguru I heard you were looking for a campaign manager. Free gas and pizza I'll be your campaign manager. Then I wouldn't have to sneak around Tumbleweed anymore! I was hoping maybe you could replace the other 2 County Commissioners. Don't you have a friend?

Waheguru

But gas is a fossil fuel & pizza is bad for the health as well. Why not Offer something healthy like bigotry, fear mongering and pure liberal racism hidden in white KKK hats. I am sure you don’t need my help on that . You have plenty of local volunteers to help you with that too. Oh I forgot ,,, a dose of freshly brewed cup of lies would work just fine to lure the voters in . 🤷🏻‍♂️🤷🏻‍♂️🤷🏻‍♂️ & who could be better at that than yourself mister..??

Watch Dog

Wow! Your rambling thoughts don't make any sense... Just because you lost the argument- don't mean you have to start calling people names. Maybe you need to up your medication, or get back on them. Oh, by the way Waheguru- I am going to sue you for slander. I was trying to be nice to you, I knew you had mental problems since you were trying to get rid of Gosar.

Waheguru

Sue me??? Wow I am scared!🤣🤣 slander ??? You are on record stating those employees at Tumbleweed Express being as illegal immigrants!!! You have got more than 7 people as of right now for false accusations & Slandering. BTW Homeland Security doesn’t take those threats lightly anymore since your boy Trump is in office. Let those complaints sink in & we’ll see who comes out with mental problems.??? You are working harder above your pay scale here.

Watch Dog

Get your facts straight Waheguru before you start mouthing off. Re-read the article about Pandher and his homeless workers brought over from India to work in his truck stop. Why don't you let your own complaints sink in and look and see yourself with the mental problems here. You keep getting your facts all wrong and you seem to be totally confused and your ramblings don't make any sense. Talk about pay scale do you even get paid? The I.C.E agents should be showing up Monday to check your employee records. Good Luck-have a safe trip back to India.

Waheguru

My employee record & India??? What are you smoking Patrick ??? If you like snooping around others businesses!!! Not my problem. What in the world ICE has to do with me??🤦🏼‍♂️🤦🏼‍♂️ You are thinking of me as your worst enemy now.. I ain’t flying nowhere... I will be haunting your every bigoted post & comment for rest of your adult life. In case you forgot ,, I still don’t like racists. Especially liberal racists. You people have destroyed a fine party with your dirty deeds . Claim it as much as you can be a proactive or advanced. Inside you have that dark passenger named Jim Crow . Racism doesn’t die it just changes the target. Threatening me with immigration and what not!!!! You should be ashamed of you. Your hypocrisy is taking over you . Your real you is literally visible. Call Trump if you can . Nobody is scared here...🇺🇸🇺🇸

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