Mills City Council President Sara McCarthy, left, Mayor Leah Juarez and Councilor Brad Neumiller sit in session at Mills City Hall Sept.12. (Rhonda Schulte, Oil City News)

CASPER, Wyo. — For the second time, the Mills City Council has taken action on a plan to revitalize and develop the Mills historic downtown and riverfront district into a destination and gathering place for visitors and residents.

Without discussion, councilors on Tuesday, Sept. 12 unanimously passed on second reading the Mills Downtown Commercial River Front District Rezoning Ordinance. Legally titled Ordinance 803, the proposed rezoning mainly converts residential lots to commercial.

The rezoning effort involves converting specified residential and mixed-use lots within the original Mills Townsite to an established business district. The ordinance also changes four lots from established residential to public lands institutions zones.

On Aug. 22, Councilors Brad Neumiller, Tim Sutherland, Sara McCarthy and Cheri Butcher along with Mayor Leah Juarez unanimously approved on first reading the rezoning ordinance. 

A third and final reading with a public hearing is planned for the Oct. 10 council meeting. Because publication dates of a notice advertising the public hearing will not meet the legal deadline for Sept. 26 action, the Mills City Council will table action on the rezoning ordinance when it meets Sept. 26, thereby delaying action until the Oct. 10 public hearing can occur.

Current uses of properties proposed for rezoning include single-family residences, mobile homes and a four-unit multi-family complex, plus several vacant parcels, according to City of Mills Planning and Zoning Commission documents.

By initiating property rezoning, the City of Mills is following up on work started several years ago.

“The purpose is to further implement goals outlined in the 2017 Comprehensive Plan and the 2016 River Front Concept Development Plan, which include creation of a downtown district within the City of Mills, as well as development of the Downtown Riverfront Corridor,” state City of Mills Planning and Zoning Commission documents.

In other action Sept. 12, the Mills City Council passed on third and final readings two amended ordinances. They were:

  • Ordinance 801, amending sections of code related to the fire chief’s emergency powers. The revised ordinance allows the fire chief to place fire restrictions and bans under emergency conditions without first obtaining council approval.
  • Ordinance 802, amending fees for the voluntary release of animal ownership to the city. According to the ordinance, Natrona County municipalities want more consistent animal code provisions, and the City of Mills’ $150 fee per animal for voluntary release of ownership was inconsistent with the City of Casper. The revised ordinance says a person voluntarily relinquishing an animal to the City of Mills will pay a fee set by council resolution. The initial fee is $60 per animal, and the chief animal control officer may choose to waive the release fee.