Approval of the Common Meeting Minutes of Tuesday, May 8, 2001.
Mr. Jon Camp, Common Chair, requested a motion to approve the above-listed minutes of the Common Meeting. Ms. Linda Steinman, Vice-Chair, moved approval of those minutes as presented. Ms. Coleen Seng seconded the motion which was approved by the following vote: AYES:, Jon Camp, Kathy Campbell, Glenn Friendt, Bernie Heier, Annette McRoy, Coleen Seng, Linda Steinman, Ken Svoboda, Terry Werner, Bob Workman; ABSENT FOR VOTE: Jonathan Cook; ABSTAIN: None; NAYS: None. ABSENT: Mayor Don Wesely, Larry Hudkins.
Mr. Camp asked Ms. Steinman, who will be leaving Lincoln, if she wished to make any parting comments at this, her last Common Meeting. Ms. Steinman responded that she had lots of parting words, but she would share those at another time. She thanked Mr. Camp and added that she would miss everyone very much. She explained that she would miss this. She felt this was an unusual gathering, noting that not many elected bodies in other County/City areas held such joint meetings. She noted that it was unusual - the way we all get along and work together. She will miss this.
Mr. Camp wished Ms. Steinman and her husband good luck. He also welcomed the newly elected Council Members to their first Common Meeting in their official capacity as elected officials. He briefly explained the goals and operating procedures of the Common.
This Meeting was Scheduled to Address:
COMP PLAN BRIEFING
Mr. Kent Morgan addressed the Common on the redistricting efforts being undertaken by governmental bodies after the 2000 U.S. Census. He explained that the members of the Unicameral had taken action on their redistricting efforts on the State level. He then explained the efforts that will be initiated now on the County and City levels to accomplish the redistricting necessary at those levels.
He mentioned the material sent out to Common members a few weeks ago which outlined the numbers of the population figures for each of the districts, explaining that the information from that material is outlined with one correction in todays materials. At the bottom of the County's figures, the average number per district in 1990 was misstated; 42,728 being the corrected number for the County Board's average for the five districts.
In 1990, the largest discrepancy on the Council population distribution was .11%; on the County's districts, .16% was the greatest difference. We were able to come very close to perfect distribution. Of course, as the City and County grow, the discrepancy changes, though they're still surprisingly close. Now on the County side the greatest discrepancy is 1.21%; and the City is at a 2.24% discrepancy. That will give you some starting points in terms of the over-all population, which is the information you'll need to do the redistricting based on population.
Mr. Shively passed out information to the Common which showed the number of registered voters in each district at this point. Although nothing is based on the number of registered voters, but on population, there is always a question on the number of registered voters per district. Also there are questions on partisan break-downs as well, and this information is also outlined in the material.
The legislature did pass, and the governor has signed, all of the states redistricting bills. The ones we followed closely were the legislative redistricting. From our point, now we will have to redraw some precinct lines. Specifically, in the Country Club area, and in the 12th and "O" area, they cut through some precinct lines for us. There were also some other areas of town where that was done. This re-drawing is a bit of a time consuming process for us, but we'll need to go into the computer database and make sure everyone is in the right legislative district and that other such details are correct. We'll be working on that for the next 45-60 days. After completing that work, then we'll be able to come back and do the redistricting work. So, give us some time to get our work done, then we can get your redistricting done.
The problem with the legislative precinct lines is that they follow census tracts and not our precinct boundaries. So they don't always match. We'll probably combine some precincts, create a couple of new ones. In addition we have some work to do in the Southeast and Southwest parts of town. The 27th and Superior area will also require attention. Wherever the new growth areas lie is where there will be some re-drawing of precinct lines.
Mr. Morgan reviewed the hand-out material for the Common members, which contained information on the process that should be followed in terms of doing the redistricting for each of the respective bodies. [This material is on file in the Council Office] Mr. Morgan also answered questions from the Common Members on the software capabilities.
Mr. Bob Workman mentioned the "crooked lines" in some of the districts, noting that they were confusing and requested straighter lines next time. [Laughter]. Mr. Shively noted that some of the "crooked" lines were originally along the City limits, especially in the newer areas. He explained that they would try to straighten the district boundaries as part of the redistricting plan, but did note that they also had to try to keep the precincts in reasonable sizes as well.
The following of arterials as district lines was also discussed briefly. It was determined that the redistricting efforts would be brought back to the separate bodies at public hearings where they could be commented on with action taken by the respective bodies. It will take approximately a three month period to get this worked through and discussed with the County Board and City Council.
Mr. Cook asked about annexation, wondering if during the redistricting, not only the census figures but also growth figures were evaluated. Mr. Shively noted that the redistricting would be based on the 2000 census figures. Future Estimated Growth cannot be included in the redistricting plan.
The deadlines were explained by Mr. Dana Roper who noted that they were taking their prompting from the federal guidelines using the census date. He stated that they would look into the issue further. Mr. Camp felt the two governmental bodies, County and City, should know that information when dealing with the cut-off time for the redistricting plan. The guidelines note that the absolute deadline for completion is within six months after the completion of the census. "Completion of the Census" is undefined at this time. Mr. Shively thought it meant at the time of the release of information from the State to the Governor - that formal process by which the Governor receives the census information. He noted that that was done in March, and that is usually what we set as our starting point.
It was noted that in Guidelines - 32.553, "New District Boundaries will be drawn within six months after the passage and approval of the legislative bill providing for re-establishing the legislative Districts". It was determined that the end of November would be the final deadline. Mr. Morgan responded that after the last census, it was by October that we were through with the process.
Mr. Mark Bowen of the Mayor's Office gave a brief update on the Ethanol situation. Mr. Bowen presented the draft of the letter that the Mayor was going to send over to our area State Senators regarding ethanol. He hoped to have the final, finished copy for the Common members by lunch time Mr. Heier stated that it looked good and thanked Mr. Bowen for putting it together.
Mr. Werner asked if there was a policy that City vehicles use ethanol...is there such a policy? Mr. Bowen stated that there was a program in place for the buses to run on ethanol....demonstration, test [inaudible]. When asked if other Departments had ethanol policies, he noted that he was not sure how the bulk fuels were purchased, but would check into the matter
Mr. Camp requested that, for the Council Members who haven't been here before, Mr. Bowen summarize what the general policy is for the City. Mr. Bowen stated that the City's policy has been in support of ethanol. He thought the confusion came after a meeting with the Health Department and the Corn Board. Mr. Heier explained that the Health Department had a display in the County/City Building Lobby that did not include ethanol use in its clean air program. So, that was when Mr. Heier's curiosity was aroused and he requested a clarification on the City's position on ethanol use. He felt the ethanol exclusion from the clean air program was a one-man decision rather than what should have been.
Mr. Bowen reiterated that there had been some discussions and there has been a clarification, noting the City does support ethanol as a clean-air fuel.
Ms. McRoy noted that Senator Hagel was going to be in town today to talk at a press conference to discuss ethanol and the role it plays in the budget. Will that be coordinated with what we're doing here? Mr. Bowen stated that he did not know that Senator Hagel was going to be in town. He stated that he would find out if there was some City/County coordination with that event.
Mr. Camp thanked Mr. Bowen for the update. Mr. Heier noted that he appreciated the efforts on the behalf of the farmers of Nebraska. Mr. Bowen thanked Mr. Heier for bringing the issue to the attention of the Common.
Comp Plan Briefing
Ms. Kathleen Sellman and Mr. Kent Morgan of the Planning Department came forward to give the presentation. Mr. Morgan noted that all of the Common Members should have a briefing manual which he then reviewed with them.
Ms. Kathy Campbell asked for a decision on changing the July Common meeting from July 2nd, as scheduled, to July 9th. After a brief discussion, it was decided to leave the meeting as scheduled - July 2nd, 2001 for Beltway Discussion and the Comp Plan Amendment.
Mr. Morgan continued the Comp Plan report. He stated that there were several operating task committees working on the Comprehensive Plan. He noted that the Comprehensive Planning Committee was the main guide that Planning works with on an every-other-week basis. There are 14 members on the Committee (who were appointed by the Common Members and the Mayor), along with two Planning Commission Members - Cecil Steward and Jon Carlson. The Committee's meeting dates are set out in the materials the Common Members have received. The Committee is also looking at some informal sessions now and then. They have one set up already on June 14th, just for the Committee to get together and discuss anything of concern to them, above and beyond their formal meeting discussions.
Mr. Morgan explained the sub-committees:
Economic Development Proponents Committee. This group was set up basically to look at the economic future of the City and County. They are working on developing a long-term economic strategy, or integrating an economic development strategy for the City and County in the Comp Plan.
The Human Services Council. This was brought up before in the 1994 Plan and we are coordinating the City Comp Plan with the Human Services Council's Comp Plan. They have an on-going process and we are coordinating our efforts with theirs, mostly in the area of transportation and housing.
The Cecil Steward Letter from the Joslyn Castle Institute. The Joslyn Castle Institute has been awarded funds from the Nebraska Environmental Trust. The City and County will be contributing funds, along with the City of Omaha, to run a multi-year process to look at issues that are common between the City of Omaha and the Omaha region and Lincoln/Lancaster County and areas of southeastern Nebraska. As we look forward to the long-term effects for the Comprehensive Plan, we'll be working with the Joslyn Castle Institute Staff to make sure that we're coordinating our efforts at a purely regional level.
Outreach Efforts. As Mr. Morgan began his presentation, Mr. Werner asked if there wasn't a Committee on Minorities? Mr. Morgan noted that there was not. He commented that the outreach was being done, but there was no committee, per se.
Under the "Outreach" we have one of the first documents with our "Planning 101" - which is the basic hand-out that we use [at public meetings]. The information has also been translated into various languages so that as we work with the various communities through-out the City and County, we are able to provide this kind of information in languages that are familiar to the citizens, and we will continue to do that.
We have had several workshops, starting back in January The summary sheets for those are included in your material. We've held day and night meetings. After input from our community survey's last year, we've attempted to hold the meetings and work sessions in centralized focal points in the community within the neighborhoods. Mr. Morgan pointed out one of the meeting notices that had been sent out with the workshop schedules had the front being printed in English and on the back, the notices were printed in either Vietnamese or Spanish. He noted that in the workshops those specific groups were targeted and we will continue that process as we go through the next year or so. Mr. Morgan also mentioned the Second Round Workshops held in April, which were also a part of the Outreach program.
Planning Department Homepage: Mr. Morgan encouraged the Common Members to log onto the Planning Department's Homepage on the internet noting that there was an abundance of information on all of these issues at that site. There is also a spot for the public to submit comments about the Plan or to request information. There is a great deal of very good information on that website.
News Letters for the Public, the County Map (with surrounding Towns and Villages and their Commissions and Boards listed) were noted by Mr. Morgan. Mr. Cook asked how the plans of these smaller communities are integrated into our Comprehensive Plan, noting that there had recently been a controversy regarding that issue. Mr. Cook asked what if our Comprehensive Plan is at odds with another communities plans - how are we supposed to make a decision about something right next to their boarders? Mr. Morgan commented that the big thing would be communications - so we can understand what concerns they have. We will continue to talk with them and we do have copies of all of the town plans, which are also posted on the website for your review. We will continue to look at those as we go on to more detailed Plans together. He noted again that the basis of the planning would be communications; and those contacts have been established and will continue to be monitored as we go.
Mr. Friendt stated that communications are commendable, but is there a mechanism in place as to whose plan takes priority if the plans conflict and communication doesn't work it out? Mr. Morgan noted that it would be whichever body has jurisdiction. He noted that it would be the same as the City of Lincoln and Lancaster County. The City has jurisdiction within the 3-mile limit and all conflicts have been worked out. Mr. Morgan felt, with open communications and Lincoln/Lancaster County as a model, all the conflicts could be resolved.
Mr. Morgan noted that June meetings would be getting the word out to many communities and groups, including businesses, neighborhoods, and county farm groups, so they could be up to speed and know what is happening. They can then contact Common Members with any concerns they might have.
Environmental Justice Action Strategy: The formal name that is required by the federal government `Environmental Justice' is a misnomer. There are specific targeted groups which the federal government requires be involved in at least the transportation process. Mr. Morgan stated that the number of groups would be expanded in Lincoln and the planners would be working with the Mayor's Multicultural Advisory Committee to insure that all groups in the City and County would be included in the planning process.
Mr. Cook stated that he knew there was some controversy regarding the last update of the Comprehensive Plan regarding some particular language about minority populations. A local attorney had come forward stating that the language about minority populations were inappropriate for the Comp Plan. Mr. Cook stated that he did not remember the exact wording or concerns, but he felt we needed to be very careful about what is included in the Comp Plan and how we address these things so we don't run into that same kind of situation.
Mr. Morgan noted that in this update, the Plan is more process oriented. We're making sure that we're contacting all segments of the community early on in the process so that their interests are fairly represented. There are some special things...legislation...that requires us to look at this as we go through this process. This isn't a plan, per se, it's more of a process at this point.
Mr. Werner asked if there was some way that the planners could contact the Interfaith Council and have them included also. He continued, noting that he had originally been appalled at the lack of diversity on the Comprehensive Planning Committee. He felt that we have 4000 Arabic speaking citizens who impact the community and he felt they should be more involved in the planning process. He stated that he would appreciate it if one of these meetings could be held to reach out specifically to those groups. Mr. Morgan answered that that had been done. Earlier meetings have been held at the Asian Center; the Park Middle School for the Hispanic Community; Malone Center... So we have done those and will continue with them as we go through the process; and we will return periodically to keep those communities updated in order to keep their input current. Ms. McRoy assured Mr. Werner that the minority planning meetings were well presented and interfaith organizations had been included in them.
Mr. Camp suggested that if there were other concerns regrading the diversity issue to contact Mr. Morgan since we did need to move on in order to cover all of the material to be presented today. Mr. Morgan did note that there had been a telephone comment line for comments on the Plan from the public. Both a Vietnamese and a Spanish line have been established as well. He noted that we may need to get that publicized more.
The Community Survey: The summary included in the material received by the Common Members outlined some of the larger issues such as Traffic, and Environmental Issues, which had strong support. Mr. Morgan continued his review of the materials for the Common Members.
Mr. Mike DeKalb reported briefly on the Environmental Information that had been gathered over the last years of study which directly effects and dictates what can and cannot be incorporated in the Comprehensive Plan. His presentation included information on the ground water in Lancaster County. This included the Saline and Wetlands in the North and Northwest parts of the County; the Rural Water Districts to the East and Southeast and in the far South areas. The Topographic/Climate considerations were explained including such items as drainage basins, ground elevations, precipitation, temperature, growing seasons, vegetation and habitat including wild-life areas and prairies in and around Lincoln. Also mentioned were surface water run-off and flood plain considerations; soils considerations which would help determine prime farm lands, crop productivity and shrink/swell restrictions and restrictions on septic systems and lagoons.
Mr. DeKalb noted the basic themes that emerged from this information: Lancaster County is home to an ecosystem, biological communities, saline wetlands, tall grass prairie, threatened and endangered species. Of course, Wilderness Park is such a high sensitivity area that we plugged that in separately. He noted that the County is shaped by several major watersheds. He stated that a lot of people don't realize that not only does Salt Creek start in the southern part of the County, flowing north, but the far southern part of the County is in a different watershed that flows south. There are some areas to the east that are in another watershed that flows east that aren't even a part of the Salt Creek Basin.
Watershed basins, flow patterns and management practices are all things that must be taken into consideration in the planning process. The County's natural features can help us decide where we're going to grow with suitability in relationship to the environment. He stated that they had extended one more phase beyond this information...beyond the 60 or so layers of data that were in the GIS Base. Now we're trying, through a Greenprint program, to bring this up in a more generalized pattern revealing the implications the environment would have to the Comprehensive Plan and future planning issues. Mr. DeKalb reported that the Clark-Enerson Partnership is helping in both this process and in the Greenprint process to help us with the interpretation of the data regarding some of the prairie and wetland issues. He stated that Greenprint phase should be completed in June. All of this information, of course, is part of the input on the Comprehensive Plan. The next phase will be more public meetings to get the public to tell us what their preferences are on the mix-match of planning options regarding growth in the City and County.
Mr. DeKalb outlined the different types of growth options:
A Panels: Agriculture and Acreage Types; A1 - Clustering; A2 - Ag-Exclusive large lot zoning with acreages close to town; A3 - Pre-1979 Stripping (piano keys) along the County roads; A4 - A mix of next to the town large lot acreages for future splitting as well as accommodation of Ag.
B Panels: These are a directional growth approach. B1 - Tighter Growth - Greenbelt around the City with the city growing outward in several directions, but keeping the growth tight, increasing the density; B2 - Uni-direction - putting all the resources in one direction from the "blob" of the community; B3 - Multi-direction following the corridors (Hwys. 77, 2, and the major road systems); B4- Multi-directional growth - East/West/North and South in areas of opportunity through-out and around the City.
C Panels: Transportation elements. C1 - Transportation Management Facilities which cover traffic timing, and computer placed systems. C2- Expanding on the concept of the One-way Pairs; We didn't see a lot of opportunity to expand on that, but brought the concept forward for consideration. C3 - Expanding to 6-lane roads where the opportunity existed; enhancing some of the major roads; C4 - Taking the Beltway system another step beyond the East and South Beltways...building on that to swing all the way around to the North and Northwest into the North with a complete circle loop. C5 - Totally different approach, putting the employment and corporate facilities and residence in pockets where one didn't have to travel, that was a concept brought forward.
D Panels: Urban Development within the City - D1 - pedestrian friendly concepts - close to work residences. D2 - High Density Residential within the existing city; D3 - Redevelopment Mixed Use for combination of both Industrial, Employment, Shopping, Residential - Higher density residential redevelopment within the City; D4 - Environmentally friendly approach with green extended in through the City; and as the city grew, it would try to accommodate corridors and wetlands and so on; D5 - Reflection of the existing pattern of development of the City.
Mr. Steve Henrichsen came forward to cover the next part of the presentation. The Planning Committee was to look at potential futures for alternative growth. There was a portion of the note-books that included these concepts. For each area that we're looking at we show some past growth patterns and in general, what type of area we should be looking at for the future. Mr. Henrichsen outlined a 25-50 year growth area of 30 square miles...picked on the basis for each one of the concepts being fairly equal in terms of area and terms of comparison.
He outlined the growth pattern of the last 30 years, from 1970 to 2000, reporting that the population increased 50% from about 150,000 to 225,000. Interestingly, while the population over the last 30 years increased 50%, the land area also increased 50%. We went from about 50 square miles to about 75 square miles. He noted that by-and-large, that is actually quite unique throughout the United States. In that same 30 year time period, most communities had maybe 3-4 times the increase in land area as they did in population....but we're about the same, adding about 25 square miles over 30 years.
The new growth pattern would be a little bit different...it would be adding over 30 square miles over a 25 year period, vs. the 25 square miles over 30 years. For purposes of comparison, that 30 square miles would have plenty of area for future residential development, (Planning Department assumed, with the continued typical suburban type style densities, which is about 4 dwelling units per acre). It also included the same population per household which is about 2.39 persons per household. Fortunately, all of these figures are included in the hand-out material. It would also include enough area for about 15,000,000 more square feet of commercial space. This would be in addition to all the existing commercial space within the 75 square miles. We have about 1250 industrial areas. Another thing shown is the basic future service limit of our current Comprehensive Plan. That limit today has bout 18 square miles inside that future service limit that is outside of the City limits.
He noted that not even looking at some of the other future potential growth areas, we have 18 square miles inside of our future service limit - in that area that Lincoln is looking at accommodating today. That doesn't include the 4 square mile area that is inside our future limit that is north of the Interstate in an area we refer to as N2 (generally from 27th to 56th Streets). That was included in some of the alternatives, but was not included as a baseline on area.
Also included in each of these alternatives is an area which is another 30 square miles for development we call Planned Vision...but generally development beyond the year 2025.
Between the first 30 square miles and this additional planned vision area is about 60 square miles for purposes of comparison. What was also retained in this plan is, generally, the split of 90% of the County population being inside of the City limits and 10% outside of the City limits in the remainder of the County. Of that split, the 10% has generally been about 6% non-farm, or what might be considered acreage development. That also includes population of some of the un-incorporated communities. About 3% would be in the incorporated towns and villages and about 1% would be what we consider farm or agricultural population.
Mr. Morgan re-capped the presentations. Futures are not necessarily scenarios or alternatives, but represent or articulate some of the policy and concepts that we've been working on since April. Plans One-Five were presented to the Comprehensive Plan Committee on May 18th.
Future One: Compact City (Most of the future urban growth would be in the future service limits with dense population areas within the city; very little new development outside the area.) There would be higher densities in population, greenbelts and greater mass transit support.
Future Two: One-Directional growth option. (Plan shows growth to the east through Stevens Creek) Over a 50 year period, all of the urbanization would occur to the east of Lincoln along with the other acreage developments in the area. Most of the small towns and villages to the east and north would be experiencing most of the growth...perhaps not having much development in the flood plains.
Future Three: Multi-Directional growth option. (Plan shows most growth to the east through Stevens Creek, but includes growth all the way around Lincoln) This includes some of the environmental concerns regarding prairie grasslands in the west and northwest, wetlands in the north and special treatment areas in there. Acreage development would be scattered throughout the county, and basically in the north around environmental areas.
Future Four: Also Multi-Directional, though with a southwest emphasis. This would have large acreage developments to the west, but still development actions all around Lincoln and concentration of small town growth and preservation of agricultural areas.
Future Five: A Corridor Plan for development along state highways and interstate. This would be a definite impact on Waverly. This is just a representation of different ideas as we look forward to the future. These were presented to the Comp Plan Committee on May 15th. We had dialogue with them and went back and offered other series of options last Friday...from which dialogue were developed these alternative plans:
A - Future One: Most would occur in the future service limit, but does away with the greenbelt; it does show the 3-mile jurisdiction for City as a potential future reserve. Acreage development would occur along community lines to the south and west.
B1/B2 - Derivations on the Uni-directional growth theme. The growth would predominantly be to the East through Stevens Creek, although a third tier of concepts was introduced, looking beyond the 50 year time horizon at what would happen to Lincoln after that time period. It shows growth to the East involving Waverly and acreage growth to the south. There would also be a third tier of acreage development going away from Salt Creek. B2 would also address, long, long term, what would happen with East/South Development and beltway development.
C - Multidirectional growth option all around the City. This would show how the planning zones might be utilized for different types of development either urban or acreage type of developments. This would preserve the cut-back on the prairie and wetlands areas.
These are the nine options given to the Comp Plan Committee at that last few meetings. Kathleen will explain what they recommend. The idea is that we will come up with a series of sketch plans from these. Those plans will be analyzed over the summer and we can look at the impacts of utilities, policy impacts, etc.
Ms. Sellman stated that there had been a long discussion with the Comprehensive Plan Committee. The discussion covered everything. She wanted to recap for Common Members the general committee comments and offer a look at the four directions that we appear to be headed in terms of devising the sketch plans.
General Comments: There were comments regarding the length of time for which we're planning. On these three tiers is a near-term within the next 25 years; tier two shows a 50 year planning period; tier three shows a long, long view. In the past we've looked at a future service limit, but we haven't really asked the question "what's on the other side of that limit?' What are we doing in those areas that may well effect our ability to have logical growth in the future. So, those are things that will now be an emphasis as we move forward.
Some of the things the Committee identified as important: The need to focus on the areas where most people will live. Although one of the issues that comes up over and over again, is acreages, most people, in fact, will probably live near the towns and the City of Lincoln. So, we need to provide some focus there.
We do need to look at how growth will absorb existing acreages, future acreages, and how we treat them if they are engulfed by urban development. Acreages then could be built to meet City standards if they occur within the 3-mile area of influence, so that as they are incorporated there is a logical process for seeing development happen around them in terms of extending services and so forth.
The comment was made more than once that acreages are on a collision course with growth; and that the agricultural conflicts between the right to farm as urban types of development move farther out from the city will be something we see more often; and that we would like to anticipate and prevent those conflicts when we can.
The concept of a larger minimum size for acreages outside the three-mile area were discussed. There was interest in looking at the idea of a 40-80 acre minimum in those areas outside the 3-mile area of influence.
There is at this time, other than the right to farm language, no definitive protection for farms in the County. We need to be looking at that.
Discussion of a potential green-way system at the edge or outside the City area is a topic that comes up over and over again.
There was some discussion on the cost ramifications of extending services and facilities to new development as it becomes farther from the center of the City; not only the cost of building those services and facilities, but also the cost of operating and maintaining them. The people who benefit, the Committee notes, should be paying the cost of this new growth. So, we need to look at who these people are and what ways can be identified for the cost of that growth to be covered.
There is interest in "leveling the playing field" for development and re-development. It was noted that many of the areas within the City's current service limit have not been developed to their fullest extent. We will be looking more at that.
Another concern is the effects of "sprawl" on the small towns as the City of Lincoln grows out. We need to be thinking about strategies to work with those towns. A note was made, in terms of the concept, that detailed the following transportation corridors, expressing the need to plan and zone to prevent just sprawling out along the highways.
So the four sketch concepts that the Committee has talked about pursuing over the next few months will be these:
First: To Define the Multi-directional growth respecting the natural momentum that we're seeing to the North. Recognizing that we have infrastructure capacity to the west and southwest out in the area of Highway 77. Basins and Beltways are creating momentum to the east and the south. Also, we would like to keep development within a proximity to downtown. So, the multi-directional concepts that we've looked at will be re-dressed with some new ideas, bringing in the new discussion and we'll see how that goes.
The Uni-directional - or Stevens Creek Primary Directional Growth, is another concept that we will be looking at. One of the comments with this is that Omaha and Lincoln are growing together and I-80 is an influence that we are seeing more and more. Again, looking at the Beltways and the momentum that they will create to the east and south makes it imperative that Stevens Creek is incorporated into our future plans.
A Third Idea - the Compact City. At one point the Committee seemed not interested in pursuing this, but after some discussion, decided that because there are so many areas already existing within the service limit that we have some opportunities there for both development and re-development. Also, there was an issue with the North and North-Central part of the County on some of the limitations in that area with regard to water availability and also saline wetlands. That may be a part of the County that requires some sort of special treatment.
A Fourth Concept is one we don't see here. Ms. Sellman noted that that would be the Natural Resource Oriented Idea. Many of the Committee members expressed a desire to see some ways of having development happen, but creating special treatment areas such as the prairie on the west and the Saline Wetlands where development could occur, but with regard for the special type of area that we see there. They have identified these areas as signature landscapes. Things that you see in Lancaster County that you may not see elsewhere in Nebraska, or elsewhere in the country.
There is a desire to preserve the rural character both of the outer areas in the County and also the areas surrounding the smaller towns. Also, recognizing the need to do some things with farms and farmland. The final comment there is to recognize and try to deal with the struggle to balance the natural conditions with economic development and the market.
So, that's the direction in which we'll be going over the next few months. Ms. Sellman noted that the Planning Staff would be glad to answer any questions the Common Members might have, or field any comments they might want to share. Let us know what your response is thus far.
Mr. Bob Workman asked, in the eyes of the Committee, of these five, which one came out the winner? Ms. Sellman noted that she did not think there was a winner. She noted that neither did the Committee; but there certainly had been some spirited discussion.
Mr. Terry Werner commented that he thought that some of the people aren't being heard, because he felt there was far more support for the Compact City Plan than Ms. Sellman was presenting. He thought that some who lent support to that plan were rather quiet. Ms. Sellman answered that she felt he was right about that. She noted that her goal today is not really to present these in a prioritized way, but just to set them before the Common. Mr. Werner stated that he understood, but he felt that, at the meeting Friday that the Compact City Plan might be thrown out and it shouldn't have been, because there is support there for it. Ms. Sellman agreed, noting that is why it's still in the presentation today.
Ms. Seng commented that she is terribly impressed and really appreciated what the Planning Department has accomplished. She noted how old Lincoln was now, observing that the City is over 100 years old. The City developed without much planning at times in the early years. She thought now we're trying to do this in a visionary manner, and felt everyone should be congratulated for that effort. She noted that Dick Erixison always pointed out that the Stevens Creek area was the same size as the whole City of Lincoln, and think how long it took us to develop Lincoln. We can't think that the Steven's Creek Basin can be developed in an instant. It will probably take another 100 years, or so. She noted that if one took the whole area south, that too could be a 100 year development project.
Ms. Seng asked if there were any elected folks involved in the regional planning effort that was going on. Mr. Morgan stated that it was his understanding that the first major event will be all together - Staff, elected officials, anyone who has a stake in the growth of southeast region of Nebraska. We need to begin to get the issues out on the table. Then that will be a multi-processing effort, so it's not just for the Staff who is organizing it.
Ms. Seng inquired then if the Common would hear more about it. Mr. Morgan assured her that they would. She noted that it was important and she did understand the problem with having elected officials included, but at the same time she really thought that some elected officials did need to be included.
Ms. Seng further asked about the difference between the historical waterways and wondered if the map of that area is in the booklet the Common members have received? Mr. Morgan stated that, if not, they could get that information to them....that information would be based on the soils. Ms. Seng thought that might be interesting for them to see because people are constantly bringing up the issue of flooding.
Mr. Friendt stated that he too had attended a variety of the meetings leading up to this and he too is very impressed with having seen the variety and intensity of citizen input, and with the Planning Staff for having brought it to this point, and having narrowed it down to these options. He asked Ms. Sellman if the Common Members could get copies of her comments presented here today, noting that it was a nice summary of where we're headed, adding that he would appreciate having that.
Mr. Heier thanked Ms. Sellman for the work. He noted that, while they [farmers] are not well represented on the Committee, there was some representation due to the fact that the committee has made some references to conflicts with agriculture. He requested Ms. Sellman to expand on that. Ms. Sellman stated that one of the things that came up was that the conflicts go both ways. As development occurs, it becomes increasingly difficult for existing agricultural operations to continue with the practices that they historically employed. Whether that would be spraying, or just the time that work is done, creating conflicts for residences in the area; or vice-versa. The opportunity for someone to establish a new agricultural operation that might be seen as a nuisance would also be difficult. Mr. Heier asked if there were specifics to that?
Mr. Morgan stated that Bill Siefert, who is a farmer on this Comp Plan Committee, is actually the source of many of those comments. From his perspective, he was talking about the two-way problem. The acreage folks that move to the country who don't understand how the country operates, whether it's dust, or spraying, or odors...and things like that. The flip side is that as farmers are trying to farm they get traffic from acreages or get complaints because of the developments. It's a key source of farm [inaudible]
Mr. Cook stated that, in response to Mr. Heier's comments, he wanted to note that there were some complaints at the meeting Friday. An overwhelming amount of time seems to be spent discussing what to do with acreages, even though they only comprise a percent or two of the population of the County. They are always on our minds and we talk, and talk and talk about them because we don't know what to do with them. We hit them with growth and we don't know what kind of arrangement we want to have regarding minimum lot sizes; he felt they do not get short shrift at all in that regard. He noted that maybe farmland doesn't get as much attention as they [acreages] produce and they [farmland] deserve more.
Mr. Heier stated that he didn't want to debate, but the Common won't have to make a decision on the farm land. The farmers will make the decision for you. It's an economic decision. Mr. Cook agreed.
Mr. Cook brought up several other issues. There are two ways of evaluating where you think it's appropriate to grow. One would be considering the particular policies that you want to achieve. Do we want to make Downtown the focus of the City? In that case, going east may be counter-productive. Is the ecological sensitivity, which Ms. Sellman mentioned, the consideration; or the proximity to Omaha? But, maybe in discussing the proximity to Omaha we should also discuss the future of our airport. Mr. Cook didn't remember that being discussed. Of course the further east people live, the less likely they are to use the Lincoln Airport. If you have to drive 15 miles to our airport, well...why not drive to Omaha and get better service. So, that is a big deal for consideration for future transportation service and should figure into the economic development studies. Ms Sellman answered that it does and in fact it would be a huge issue for them in terms of transportation and also in terms of future industrial locations.
Mr. Cook stated that the big issue for him would be cost. He noted that at that point [of decision in the planning process] you have to evaluate the different costs between expanding into different areas of town. He stated that he did not know what it would cost to go far east, but stay close to the City limits in the Steven's Creek Drainage Basin. It may be enormously more costly than trying to stay farther north, but expanding a larger area to the north. Until we have that information, it's hard to choose a particular direction for growth.
He stated that he was also concerned that the schools are not involved as much as they need to be. This was brought home at the last meeting the sub-committee for the Parks & Rec's Board held. He noted that there had been a lot of opportunities for planning parks and swimming pools and rec centers...even within the last few years...and we've missed those opportunities. He felt that that was a shame.
He noted that LPS was left out of the infrastructure financing committee efforts; yet the cost of new schools is enormous. So, he would like to see LPS be more involved in the process because the location of new schools and the costs of new schools, depending on which direction Lincoln grows, is a huge deal. He did not know what kind of formal arrangement could be made with the LPS, but he felt the Planning Department should be a City/County/AND School System Planning Department. Then we'd have much better results if we had that.
Mr. Cook asked if the new council members had seen copies of the infrastructure financing materials? It was indicated that they had.
Ms. Sellman asked if she could briefly respond to a few of Mr. Cook's points. The cost of the various expansion sketch plans is a big part of the analysis that will be done, so, the costs will be looked at.
With regard to the schools, we met with the Lincoln Public Schools Administration and Board last week and spent quite a bit of time talking with them about the plan. Certainly cooperation and co-location issues were part of what was discussed. We look forward to working with them.
Mr. Workman asked if the last four maps/plans evolved from the discussion of the Committee on the first five. Ms. Sellman indicated that they did.
Mr. Workman had one last question on the 40-80 acre lot size outside of the 3-mile limit - Mr. Workman assumed that that was a density requirement rather than a lot size. Ms. Sellman answered that it really hasn't been defined, but density would certainly be a more logical way to go given the natural constraints on the map. Mr. Camp commended the presenters and their efforts.
OLD BUSINESS - Mr. Camp asked Mr. Steve Hubka questions regarding the Commons Budget Hearing schedule. Mr. Hubka stated that initially June 28th had been set aside for that time, but it had been learned that there might be a desire to change that date. The July 2nd Meeting was also discussed for possible cancellation. After a brief discussion, it was agreed to continue with the current schedule: June 28th for the Common Budget Hearings; July 2nd to remain as the next Common Meeting date.
NEW BUSINESS - None
ADJOURNMENT - Mr. Camp called for a motion to adjourn. The motion to adjourn was made and seconded and carried by the following vote: AYES: Jon Camp, Kathy Campbell, Jonathan Cook, Glenn Friendt, Bernie Heier, Annette McRoy, Coleen Seng, Linda Steinman, Ken Svoboda, Terry Werner, Bob Workman; NAYS: None; ABSENT: Mayor Don Wesely, Larry Hudkins. The meeting was adjourned at approximately 9:26 a.m.
Joan V. Ray