COUNCIL MEMBERS IN ATTENDANCE: Jon Camp, Common Chair; Annette McRoy, Coleen Seng; Ken Svoboda; Terry Werner; COUNCIL MEMBERS ABSENT: Jonathan Cook, Glenn Friendt. MAYOR WESELY: In Attendance.
COUNTY BOARD MEMBERS IN ATTENDANCE: Bernie Heier, Common Vice-Chair; Kathy Campbell; Ray Stevens; Bob Workman. COUNTY BOARD MEMBERS ABSENT: Larry Hudkins.
OTHERS IN ATTENDANCE: Kathleen Sellman, Kent Morgan, Mike DeKalb, Planning Department; Gwen Thorpe, Kerry Eagan, Office of the County Board; Director Allan Abbott, Steve Masters, Nicole Fleck-Tooze, Roger Figard, Scott Opfer, Scott Cockrill, Public Works; Steve Beal, Health Department; Kit Boesch, for JBC; Darrell Podany, Aide to Council Members Camp, Friendt and Svoboda; Joan Ray, Council Secretary.
Chairman Camp called for approval of the above-listed minutes. Ken Svoboda moved approval of the minutes, as presented. Coleen Seng seconded the motion which carried by the following vote: AYES : Mayor Don Wesely, Jon Camp, Kathy Campbell, Bernie Heier, Annette McRoy, Coleen Seng, Ray Stevens, Ken Svoboda, Terry Werner, Bob Workman; NAYS: None; ABSENT: Jonathan Cook, Glenn Friendt, Larry Hudkins.
COMP PLAN UPDATE
CITY/COUNTY ISSUES RE: ACCESS AT 91ST & CHENEY
JBC PROCESS PLAN
COMP PLAN UPDATE- Ms. Kathleen Sellman and Mr. Kent Morgan came forward to make the presentation. Ms. Sellman stated that this presentation would be a short one. Mr. Morgan started with a review of the hand-out materials. (Copies of these are on file in the Planning and Council Offices) After review and input from all of the committees and agencies and continued public hearing, the Plan will come before the City Council and County Board in April and May, 2002 for final Review, Public Hearing and Action. Mr. Morgan informed the Common Members that they would receive a draft of the Plan prior to those April/May meetings. Mr. Morgan indicated that the Public Hearing portion of these meetings would probably be quite lengthy. The Common Members determined that they would like to hold the hearings on two separate dates in order to give the public two opportunities for input, in the manner of the Beltway Hearing Schedules.
Mr. Morgan reviewed the news letter maps (2025 Comprehensive Plan "Blueprint") which Common Members had received prior to this meeting. He explained that the areas of consideration in Tier One had been expanded by 3 square miles. He explained that this equated to about 23 `buildable' miles.
The Commercial/Industrial Policy: The Planning Department tried to come up with a program that was both flexible and predictable. We tried to identify locations where those facilities might go in order to give the landowners and residents in those areas some idea of the proposed growth pattern.
The Transportation Maps show all of the various roadway constructs (such as widening the interstate, and the beltway, and East "O" Street as well as other road projects) which will be included in all of the alternate plans. (Map A)
Mr. Morgan explained that there is another map (Map B) that shows the projects laid out on Map A with different projects layered on top of that map to show various alternatives. The alternative that has drawn the most controversy is the Wilderness Park Crossing. We've had numerous community quorums and correspondence on that one. That project will continue to be looked at and evaluated.
Mr. Morgan reviewed for the Common Members the Acreages Map and the comments received regarding that issue.
Mr. Werner asked if Mr. Morgan felt this "eleventh hour" attempt to add more land to the growth area didn't compromise the entire process. Mr. Morgan noted that it had been included in the discussion all along. He noted that the Planning Department's concern is just that a decision be made. He stated that it does begin to effect the Plan and they would just like to see a decision made.
Mr. Werner felt that it would be very inappropriate to change things now. Mr. Morgan noted that they were trying to let the Committee work through the issues and come forward with recommendations.
Ms. Campbell stated that the County Board had planned a meeting to go into a work schedule on the acreage issue so we could review that. She indicated that any members of the Council who would like to attend that meeting would be more than welcome. She noted it would be in Room 113 on Tuesday, December 11th from 9-10:00 a.m. The County Board felt they needed to go over in greater detail some of the things that are on the map- and better sooner than later.
Mr. Heier asked if the acreages that are already in existence would be ‘grandfathered' in? Ms. Sellman stated that they are recommended to stay as they are in the new Plan as well as in the current plan.
CITY/COUNTY ISSUES RE: ACCESS AT 91ST & CHENEY - Mr. Camp explained that he had requested this discussion due to questions he had received from residents of Cheney at a recent meeting. They had concerns about the access road. Mr. Roger Figard passed out material to the Common Members on this issue showing a sub-area plan with a Highway 2 Corridor
Mr. Figard asked what the specific question was regarding the Access. Was it a specific question regarding the status of access at 91st and Cheney? Mr. Camp stated that that was correct. There had been several individuals who had expressed concern about how 91st Street will be treated in the future plans. They wanted to make sure that officials were addressing the concerns of those residents.
Mr. Figard stated that the hand-out map shows the proposed temporary connection. It has language in it that shows an existing right-of-way at 91st Street. Between the State and the County there is a temporary connection to Cheney starting with the re-alignment of 91st Street. That is the access into Cheney as 91st Street is being re-built.
It is designated as a temporary road; the language goes on to say that total access to Cheney would be determined at a later time. Until such time as annexation occurs, and the land use changes, it's not possible for us to say exactly how that will occur. The written material speaks to access and indicates that "The details of this access point should be resolved prior to Commercial Zoning south of Highway 2 and full turning movements into Cheney at that intersection shall be permitted." Those were commitments made in the sub-area plan. We will follow through with those, or make changes in the future.
The material further states, "Specific details for full access into Cheney from 91st has yet to be resolved. This access should be resolved prior to the approval of Commercial Zoning south of Highway 2. The County Engineer is in favor of closing Yankee Hill Road once the new road alignment is built in order to eliminate one railroad crossing conflict point. ... Residents in Cheney should be included in the discussion and review of the new Yankee Hill Road and South 91st Street since this road is a primary access point for the residents."
Mr. Figard explained that they can continue to come in and out of Cheney as it exists today. As the development on the north side is begun and we relocate 91st Street, they will come down that re-located 91st Street, with full access reconnecting back into their existing street, as shown on the map...in the existing State right-of-way.
As that area is re-zoned and the land use would change, the access and relocation of that has to be part of the discussion and the residents have to be a part of that decision. There isn't an absolute answer, but there has to be a process and a way for them to participate. It would be premature for us to designate a permanent access route at this time.
Mr. Camp asked if there was a way to disseminate this information to the residents of Cheney, so they know that there will be an opportunity for their input. Ms. Sellman stated that they had the name of the individual who had expressed these concerns and they would contact that individual with the information on the planned citizen involvement. She noted that there were a number of residents who had expressed an interest in this issue and they would be sure that all of them were contacted. Mr. Camp thanked her for that.
Mr. Steve Masters, Public Utilities Administrator for the City of Lincoln, came forward and noted that for the benefit of the County Board, he would like to inform them that the City officials were approached initially because of issues that Cheney S.I.D. was experiencing. He explained that they had at this point denied annexation, primarily because of utility issues. There are significant issues with annexing S.I.D.s , especially Cheney at this point, because of water and wastewater. He stated that his office had made available to City Council a fair amount of information, and requested permission to transfer that information to the County for their reference as well. Mr. Camp stated that anyway we can communicate information is appropriate. Mr. Masters offered to answer any questions that might arise from constituents or from elected officials.
Mr. Camp asked if Mr. Masters might need some over-all direction from the Common? Mr. Masters stated that continuing to raise questions and analyze options makes good sense. He noted that there may be some opportunities that emerge over time...he felt we were headed in the right direction.
Mr. Camp asked if this would be a delay in the annexation decision as we try to come up with remedies? Mr. Masters answered that they did not see any different points for Cheney at this time. It depends on the phased annexation process as it goes forward. There will be concerns regarding the timing in the Beals Slough drainage area; and also what happens in the Stevens Creek development. But, for now, he did not see any position changes pending.
CCAC APPOINTMENTS - Mr. Steve Beal of the Health Department, whose late arrival delayed the appointments discussion, came forward to answer any questions regarding the proposed appointments to the Child Care Advisory Committee. Common members briefly discussed the nominations and procedure for bringing the appointments forward. The Common does not have the authority to vote approval of an issue, but did vote to forward the nominations as presented by the Health Department to the individual legislative bodies for approval. Ms. Coleen Seng moved that the nominations be so forwarded. The motion was seconded by Terry Werner and carried by the following vote: AYES: Jon Camp, Annette McRoy, Coleen Seng, Ray Stevens, Ken Svoboda, Terry Werner, Bob Workman; NAYS: None; ABSENT FOR VOTE[Left Early to attend Previously Scheduled Meeting] Mayor Wesely, Kathy Campbell, Bernie Heier; ABSENT: Jonathan Cook, Glenn Friendt, Larry Hudkins.
BELTWAY UPDATE - Mr. Jim Linderholm of HWS Consultants, made a brief presentation to the Common on the Beltway. He reported that the final draft of the EIS [Environmental Impact Statement] Document has now been forwarded to the Public Works and Planning Departments; and more importantly, to The Federal Highway Administration which is the agency that will take this document and move it along to what are called the Merge Agencies. These are the State and Federal Agencies that will make a preliminary review of the document. He believed that the plan was to have all of these agencies have their comments returned by the 9th of January.
The Federal Highway Administration, pending the disposition of any comments from those agencies, will make the document available to the general public. That will start the process, 30 to 60 days (30 days minium) for the final review comments on the final EIS document.
If all that sails through, that will allow the Federal Highway Administration to make their final ruling and come up with their Final Record of Decision sometime, hopefully, in the late Spring. That will allow the design of the South Beltway to begin sometime in Spring of 2002. He noted that he has been optimistic before, however.
The agencies that are going to receive these are agencies that have had the preliminary documents from an earlier submission. Unless they have some surprises which we're not expecting, we should be moving on to the next phase. He hoped the project would move along quickly after these reviews. He noted that this was all for the South Beltway.
Mr. Workman asked two questions on behalf of Commissioner Heier, who had left to attend another meeting. Mr. Workman stated that Commissioner Heier was concerned about the planting of some trees for screening. He wondered exactly where that [inaudible] will go. Mr. Linderholm stated that they had not changed the location from the locations presented at the Council/County Board Hearings. In this document it does remain on the west side of [inaudible]. We are meeting with some landowners in a couple of areas where mitigation was required, to go over those kinds of details. Mr. Linderholm indicated that they would be happy to meet with any local representatives to [inaudible]. Mr. Linderholm also indicated that they would meet with any property owners who had any questions about the beltway or any of the locations.
Mr. Workman noted that the other question with which Mr. Heier was concerned regarded the interchanges. He noted that in looking at the map, 120th Street is not a through street; nor is 134th Street a through street. Mr. Heier's question is "are we, because of the location of the intersections in that first interchange 3 miles south of "O" Street, are we forcing more traffic down "O" Street"? In the placement of those intersections, have you considered the fact that 134th and 120th do not go through?
Mr. Linderholm responded that that wasn't a specific criteria in the placement of the interchanges. One of the things that was a concern, initially, in the placement of the interchange at Pioneers was that that was the one place we could put it. We couldn't put it on Van Dorn because of the proximity to the historic structure. He thought that was still the case, even on the Middle Route regarding Van Dorn. In the last hearing process, there was an additional 80 acres on the west side, which was going to be defined as the Stevens Creek Stock Farm, which may be eligible for the Historic Register. He doubted that an interchange at that location would be feasible at this time. That was the governing factor in not putting an interchange at Van Dorn.
As to the future development of those other streets, he was not sure what the plan was for 120th and 134th. Streets. He noted that the County would have that determination.
Mr. Abbott noted that as the Transportation Plan and Comp Plan reach finalization, these issues will be addressed. The Beltway was planned under the Comp Plan in existence at the time; so as more and more information becomes available throughout the Comp Plan process, there could be some revisions...but he did not say there would be, but that there could be. He felt any considerations for change should be done through the Comp Plan and not through the Impact Statement here.
Mr. Stevens asked if the Federal Highway Administration signs off on this in January, does that mean that they've signed off on the project and it would now move back to local control as to exactly how this will proceed? Mr. Linderholm answered that he believed that the document would be made available to the public in 2002, then there would be a time-period after that when they would receive public comments. Then, pending receipts of those comments, and based upon those comments, at some later date, they would, hopefully, sign off. Mr. Linderholm noted that he hoped it would be late winter, or early spring of 2002.
Mr. Stevens asked then if, as far as the feasibility of the project, the engineering, all of those decisions are then back to the state and local level? He noted that funding would be something that they would have to plan for, participate in and schedule.
Mr. Linderholm stated that there is funding now available for the South Beltway; the process that we'll be moving to is with the Nebraska Department of Roads. They will be the agency that will administrate the design work for the South Beltway.
Mr. Abbott asked who "they" was in the reference to funding. He stated that if it referred to the Federal Highway Administration....really the Federal Highway Administration doesn't set the priorities for the [inaudible]. The County/City and State will be putting together the program. We obviously could not proceed if we're not eligible for federal dollars. As Jim said, once the Record of Decision is signed off by the Federal Highway Administration, which will be by the end of this Spring, then into Winter is when the actual design could be done. He noted that we now have an agreement between the City, County and the State. We are now preparing and re-doing a draft of this agreement between these three entities as to how exactly we will proceed from this point on with the South Beltway.
The Nebraska Department of Roads will be asking to do the final design on the South Beltway project as soon as the Record of Decision has been signed. We're also working with the Department of Roads and the Congressional delegation for continued, additional funding for the South Beltway.
He noted that there was some funding in place now which will allow them to start the design and do some preliminary acquisition. It is our hope to get these additional dollars from the Federal government. At the last meeting with the Department of Roads and the Congressional delegation, we had a request in for $100,000,000, trying to update those figures from the next Federal Highway Act to continue funding for the South Beltway. The initial, approximately $6,000,000 was for the design - for the beginning of the project. (Exactly:$4,125,000 - requiring a 20% match in funding).
Mayor Wesely stated that Representative Beureter had originally added some additional funding into the program, but he was afraid that was not going to be the case at this point. Mr. Abbott agreed noting that there had been several cuts, and unfortunately, that additional money had been one of them.
Mr. Svoboda asked if he had heard the terms "construction start" and Spring of 2002 in the same phrase? Mr. Linderholm and several other voices answered "no". Mr. Svoboda asked what the Spring of 2002 date would signify? Mr. Linderholm stated that the hope was that the Federal Highway Administration would sign off on the final document and issue a Record of Decision, either in late winter or early spring. That would allow the design work to begin in 2002.
Mr. Linderholm indicated that they had stated previously that perhaps 2008-09 would be a reasonable time-frame for completing construction of the South Beltway. It definitely is a ways off. Mr. Svoboda stated that a question that he is most frequently asked is when would bulldozers actually start plowing ground...in the best case scenario? Mr. Linderholm answered that it would probably be in two-three years if.... He noted that the sticking point won't be the design work, but will be the land acquisition for this South Beltway. There are parcels of land that do require court action. Sometimes those can be lengthy processes.
Mr. Svoboda asked then if a reasonable assumption might be a start of 2004-05 and a completion date of 2008-09 - for total completion. Mr. Abbott noted that this is one of those projects that, unfortunately, you have to build the whole thing before you can open it. The fortunate part is that you can start in several places and work as we get right-of-way acquired, as that happens. But, it would probably be 2004 before any major construction could be started.
Mr. Camp asked if at one time we hadn't had both by-passes, beltways, linked together. Are they still linked together? Are we going to de-couple them? Mr. Linderholm answered that they're still linked together for purposes of the Environmental Impact Statement so that both routes could be clear for funding. But, the intent right now is to move ahead with the South Beltway only. There is no funding for the East Beltway. None of the preliminary funds are set aside for the East Beltway. That would have to be separate funding action by some [inaudible].
Mr. Camp asked if there was no perceived difficulty, though, in proceeding with the South Beltway? Mr. Linderholm answered that the South Beltway could be a stand-alone project. It's going to be lined up to where it can, where it comes into Highway 2, be `stand-alone', or someday be connected to the East Beltway.
Mr. Camp asked if the consideration had been given on Highway 2 and the proposed six-lane concept and where that might fit into this so we don't get a huge traffic snarl in southeast Lincoln? Mr. Linderholm asked if he meant Highway 2 in the interim part of the projects? Mr. Abbott answered that the Comp Plan now shows portions of Highway 2 as six-lanes. One of the options is six-lanes almost to the [inaudible] bypass connection. That's in the Comp Plan right now.
Mr. Camp stated that knowing that there isn't definition from a timing stand-point, we don't want to get over-lapping construction and shut that area down. Mr. Abbott stated that this is obviously a very big part of the construction sequence. We will have two major projects underway around the city in the next few years. One of the things that we'll try our best to do is make sure that we don't shut the City down. Obviously, the construction sequence is a very complicated issue. The beauty of the beltway is that it can be constructed without really impacting, significantly, any of the streets - except the connection with Highway 2 and 77. That gives us some time.
One of the purposes of the beltway was to reduce the increase in traffic on Highway 2. It would not decrease the traffic, but it would reduce the increase in traffic. This six-lane portion, as we get into that, will depend on how quickly the development at 84th and Highway 2 occurs; and how quickly it starts to draw traffic as we get into the area. Again, at this point in time, we do not have six-lane plans for Highway 2 in the current Comp Plan. The six-lanes in Highway 2 would come sometime after the construction of the South Beltway.
Discussion continued with questions and concerns about right-of-way, whether or not to acquire all before starting, or lose federal funding. There was concern of negotiating in "good faith" due to State and Federal Guidelines. Mr. Abbott explained that if too much land is acquired through condemnation, it looks like we are not doing "good faith" negotiations. It's not fair to the contractors to not have the land prior to the beginning of the project; it's not fair to the sellers of the right-of-way. Now the majority of the negotiations for right-of-way must be completed before we can get the Federal funding. On the times that it is necessary to go to condemnation, once the suit is filed, then construction can begin, because then it's a matter of settling [inaudible] costs.
We must have the right-of-way for interchanges and for bridges before we start, but we do not need the right-of-way for the entire project or section. We do have the right-of-way for the first half of the East "O" Street project. He reported that he has promised the Federal and State governments that the City would have the right-of-way for the second half before the second year began, so we can get that portion built.
Mr. Werner asked if there was no mandate from the Federal government on the right-of-way stating that you must have it. Is it just a requirement to show "good faith"? Mr. Abbott stated that the requirement of the Federal Government is that you have all the right-of-way before you let the project. That's the rule. But there are letters that you can write that would explain the public benefit to begin the project and that you can do the work and that you will have the right-of-way before the contractor gets to that location. Then, with a public interest letter, once they're approved, then the project goes on. So there are deviations from the rules and exceptions to the rule.
Mr. Workman stated then that it would seem the sooner we begin the acquisition on the East Beltway, the better we'll be ten years from now. Mr. Abbott answered that from the efficiency of operation, yes. From the standpoint of what can you financially afford to do, that's another issue that will have to be examined.
Mr. Camp asked if there was anything we can do to facilitate the negotiation process time-frame. Mr. Abbott replied that we are trying now to prioritize the projects that we need the right-of-way for next year, so we're working on those and not those needed two years from now. It's a matter of proceeding; we can't change the plan frequently. So, once we get started, it'd be nice that we didn't go back and change it. Not that it's ever `done ‘til its done', but once you start, and the project is approved, it gets to be very difficult to keep changing and adding, and adding as we go along. Once it's approved, there will be people who are not happy as the project goes along, but we can spend only so much time trying to answer every question to the exact satisfaction of every individual who has concerns.
Mr. Camp noted that there were a number of people in the South Beltway area who had individual homes or properties and when they expressed concerns during the hearings, we were able to take those concerns into account; so to a certain degree we've opened that door and it will just be the comfort level that we're working with. A project of this magnitude requires such an enormous amount of public input. Mr. Abbott stated that once we get the engineers started, if we can get the property owners to agree, we can make major adjustments without tinkering excessively in detail. We'll try to make impacts as minimal as possible and be sure that these people are adequately compensated, either through dollars, or through mitigation of design.
Mr. Camp encouraged the quick start of right-of-way acquisitions, noting that no one liked to go through the eminent domain process. Mr. Abbott stated that they would begin the right-of-way negotiations as soon as possible. He felt the process would range between 12-18 months, over-all.
Mr. Stevens noted that, with the South Beltway being the area of emphasis, the interchanges on each end of that .... will those be substantially done before it's open. Mr. Abbott stated that substantially yes, they would be. The east end would be completed so when the East Beltway is constructed, that intersection will not have to be re-done.
The Mayor indicated to the Common Members that there would be a Comprehensive Invitationsent to the Members for the Rococo opening on Wednesday, December 19th from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. at the DLA office.
JBC PROCESS PLAN - Ms. Boesch came forward and made a presentation outlining the attached material. [Copy on File in both the Human Services and City Council Offices]. The Common had requested this information after difficulties with some of the city's neighborhood centers. After an extensive discussion of the legalities and proprieties of implementing the proposal as a procedure vs. a guideline were discussed, a final decision was made to implement the proposal as a guideline on how to handle these problems on a case by case basis when the need arose.
OLD BUSINESS - None
NEW BUSINESS - None
ADJOURNMENT - Mr. Camp called for adjournment. The motion was made and seconded and Mr. Camp declared the meeting adjourned at 9:50 a.m.
Joan V. Ray