Council Defeats Casino Proposal - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Council Defeats Casino Proposal

Posted: Updated:

The City Council had a packed agenda Monday, from items as mundane as rezoning land, to one that has caused some controversy in a West End neighborhood.

Last week, KULR-8 brought you the story of a plan to move the proposed Jack Rabbit Red's Casino into a vacant retail space in the Rimrock Mini-Mall. The plan formally came before the council Monday.

The plan was opposed by neighborhood residents due to its proximity to Central Heights Elementary School. The proposal involves the City Council to grant the business a wine and beer license, with gaming. The proposed site is separated from Central Heights by a row of homes. School District Two has also voiced its opposition to the plan.

"You are affecting not just the children of that specific neighborhood,but children from all over Billings if you grant this," said former SD2 Trustees Connie Wardell. She said during the meeting that she resides outside of the area, but still want to voice her opinion.

Another reason for opposition was traffic.

"For our community, for the safety of our children, please deny this!" said one of the area residents.

The project did, however, draw some support.

"They are first-class landlords. They're not gonna put up with any hanky-pank," said one business owner.

In the end, the Council voted to accept the recommendation to deny the project. Only Angela Cimmino, who represents Ward Two, voted against the motion to accept the recommendation. Cimmino said her decision was based on past decisions by the Zoning Commission, as well as the retail space's layout.

Also discussed at the meeting was a proposal to enlarge the patio at Squire Lounge. Despite area resident opposition to alleged noise violations, the council voted to approve the proposal. The council also voted to reject two offers received to buy retail space at the Empire Parking Garage that is still under construction, and approve a new, two-year police contract.