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‘The Compass’ may get new ’boutique liquor store’ if Casper zoning changes happen

The Metro Coffee Co. east side location is one of the new businesses located at "The Compass." (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — Casper’s east side development “The Compass at Centennial Hills” may get a new “boutique liquor store” if the Casper City Council approves removing some zoning restrictions that are currently in place.

“The Compass” is home to several businesses which have opened in recent years near the Wyoming Boulevard and Centennial Hills Boulevard intersection, including a Hilltop Bank location and the east side Metro Coffee Company.

Casper Community Development Director Liz Becher told the Casper City Council on Tuesday that True Land and Realty own “The Compass” and are requesting that some zoning restrictions which were put on the property back in 1999 be lifted to allow a new “boutique liquor store.”

Becher explained that the “New Delta Addition” where The Compass is located was zoned as a C-2 zoning district when it was created in 1999.

While C-2 zoning districts are for “general business” and typically allows for things like liquor establishments, special restrictions were placed on the district at the request of the previous property owner who also developed the nearby “Stafford Square” neighborhood up on the hillside behind what is now “The Compass.”

Becher noted that some restrictions which were placed in 1999 have been lifted over the years, including the lifting of a restriction on convenience stores to allow the Loaf ‘N Jug development. Most recently, some restrictions were lifted in 2018 to allow drive-through businesses. That allowed for Hilltop Bank to offer drive-through services at the location as well as Metro’s drive-through coffee service.

The Planning and Zoning Commission have recommended that the council approve the request to lift remaining restrictions on the C-2 zoning district, including for liquor establishments (additional business types would also be allowed if the restrictions are lifted).

Becher noted that the restrictions would only be lifted for “Lot 1” of the New Delta Subdivision. Existing restrictions would remain in place on Lot 2, which is the portion of the area which directly abuts Stafford Square.

(City of Casper)

Council member Bruce Knell said he was in attendance at recent Planning and Zoning meetings in which some residents of the area expressed concern about the requested zoning changes.

Knell said that he thinks most of the concern was cleared up when it was made clear that the zoning changes wouldn’t apply to Lot 2, which is closer to houses in the area.

He added that he thinks the liquor store which is being proposed will be a “high-end liquor place.”

“This isn’t a tavern,” Knell said.

He added that some people expressed concern that the zoning changes would allow “brothels” to be developed in the area. Since the zoning change would allow a variety of business types such as massage therapy, Mayor Steve Freel said people sometimes see that possibility and have exaggerated concerns about what could happen. Prostitution is illegal in Casper.

Knell said some people at the Planning and Zoning meetings expressed concern about a liquor store being close to a school in the area. The closest school is Summit Elementary, located at 2210 Waterford Street.

While resolutions for zoning change requests of this type would ordinarily come before council as part of a consent agenda list (a list of separate items the council votes on altogether), Becher said that due to the level of concern expressed at the Planning and Zoning Commission, the resolution would not be placed on the consent agenda list.

Council will consider adopting a resolution for the change during their Tuesday, April 20 meeting.

True Land and Realty say that they aim to make “The Compass” a “single destination for multiple necessities—and your new favorite place to gather with friends and family.”