City, East-Side Homeowners Reach Unhappy Compromise About Dumped Snow
The City of Casper will continue dumping snow at a lot at 21st and Wyoming Boulevard, but it will try to fix some other problems voiced by neighbors.
During a work session Tuesday, council member Kenyne Schlager identified four issues: noise from snowplows and other vehicles, runoff, use of the land as an informal park, and debris.
Council, Schlager said, has resolved all issues but runoff from the snow.
Neighbors in the area of 20th, 21st, South Walsh and Parkway still weren't happy because the core problem persists after they brought up the problems last month.
"We are, yes, very disappointed that the city wants to continue dumping snow there," Debbie Snell said after the work session.
"It's a natural park that we've used since '78 for the use of our neighborhood, and it's been degraded with how they've changed the land," Snell said.
The city began putting the plowed snow on the 5.4-acre lot several years ago after it could no longer put it on the Kelly Walsh High School soccer fields.
Neighbors then saw how the runoff affected fence lines, and caused houses to move on their foundations causing cracks in walls and ceilings, she and other homeowners said.
The snow is contaminated with chemicals and debris. The weight of the snow and the contamination left behind has compacted the soil and killed vegetation so the soil cannot absorb the water, they said.
Neighbors asked about other possible sites to dump the snow.
Public Services Director Andrew Beamer said other possible sites were either impractical or the property owners didn't want the snow. Depositing it at a site on Bryan Stock Trail would cost the city about $80,000 more for snow removal, he said.
Dumping it in the North Platte River could raise pollution issues and probable actions from the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, Beamer added.
Besides noting the irony that the contamination was bad for the river but not near their houses, neighbors said the lot has become a dump for trash and a place for people to operate their all terrain vehicles and further rip up the ground.
They also believed, based on their understanding of public documents, that the lot was a park and they moved there for that reason.
The legal questions came to light last fall when the city proposed swapping that lot with property on Casper Mountain where people hike the popular Bridle Trail. The owner of the Casper Mountain property grew tired of the hassles of people on his land and offered the city the opportunity to have the trail wholly on public property.
Snell and others objected, saying property records showed the land was to be dedicated as a park.
The proposed deal collapsed in December when the city discovered a gas line easement on the lot. City Manager V.H. McDonald said the legal issues had nothing to do with the dead deal.
Tuesday, the property issues again surfaced.
Mayor Daniel Sandoval said the city should be careful to not describe the lot as a "park."
McDonald added the lot is technically designated as "park historic," which is a zoning use. "Park" would mean the city would have the responsibility to maintain it as a park, he said.
Sandoval said the city will install cable-and-post fencing around the area to keep out off-road vehicle users, limit the noise from snowplows, clean up trash, and look at engineering and remediation of the land's contours to divert water away from the homes.