The Casper Aquifer Protection Plan will remain unchanged, after the Laramie Planning Commission voted against changes to the plan during their meeting on March 27.

Laramie Planning Commission Chair Kaye Willis said the meeting, held in the City Council Chambers, was attended by about 50 people who spoke out against the proposed changes to the protection plan.

The commission voted against the changes five to one, with one member not being present for the meeting, Willis said.

Willis said she understands the arguments for the changes to the aquifer, but ultimately the Planning Commission was not able to approve them.

“There are good arguments for the changes,” Willis said. “Expanding businesses could create new jobs. However, we decided that it was not a good idea.”

The changes, proposed by the City Community Development Department, sought to alter the recommended prohibited activities table in the protection plan that deals with hazardous toxic substances related to vehicle repair. The changes would have allowed the Spradley-Barr dealership in Laramie to move to an area situated above the aquifer on East Grand Avenue.

The Environmental Advisory Committee had previously voted to oppose the changes in early February, citing concerns about possible contamination of the aquifer.

Willis said the Planning Commission also had concerns about possible contamination.

“By voting to allow the changes, we felt that we would be opening Pandora’s Box,” Willis said. “That’s why we voted against it.”