The North Bend Eagle

 

Development of subdivision further discussed with planner

by Nathan Arneal
Published 1/10/24

Development north of town was back on the agenda as the North Bend City Council met with city planner Jeff Ray, one of the city’s engineers from JEO Consulting.

At a previous meeting, Chris Armstrong and Garret Hetzel presented plans to develop about 45 acres of land between the Highway 30 expressway and County Road S extending from Highway 79 to Country Road 8, or Cemetery Road. The plan included a gas station or truck stop, commercial lots, single-family housing, apartments and space for a community center.

Councilman Alex Legge said the development being about three-quarters of a mile outside of town presents some challenges, but it is an important step for North Bend to take. He said North Bend is the last town to be linked to the four-lane Highway 30 expressway, and he pointed to the growth taking place between the expressway and original towns on either side of North Bend.

“It think this is a really a pivotal point for North Bend in the big scheme of things,” Legge said. “This would really be a good thing for town.”

Ray said the housing demand is not going to slow down and he has seen developments in Wahoo, Schuyler, Fremont and Ashland fill fast.

“I think you’re in a great location,” Ray said, “especially with the four-lane coming on. You don’t have to go through Fremont anymore to get to Omaha. To get to west Omaha in particular is going to be pretty easy. You have a lot of job opportunities there, as well as Fremont and Schuyler. The demand is just going to continue to increase for housing.”

Ray said in his role of a city planner, he is seeing a trend of rural kids who moved to Omaha or Lincoln for college and once they get married and start having kids, they want to get back to a smaller town while keeping their city jobs.

“And they’re not looking in the Bennington, Gretna world,” Ray said. “They’re looking in the Wahoo, North Bend, Tekamah kind of world where they can find a tight-knit community they’re used to growing up in. We’re seeing a lot of that. And through COVID, we’ve learned that you don’t always have to go to the office every day. Maybe they’ll work from home two, three days a week and have a nice safe community where everyone knows each other and they have a good school district.”

Ray laid out the process for establishing a new subdivision, which basically includes three phases: a pre-application meeting, a preliminary plat application and a final plat application with each step getting more detailed as to what the final design will look like. Ray said the whole thing is usually a six-month process, resulting in what he called “paper architecture,” plans on paper before actual work on the land begins.

Ray also presented a few options for getting city water and sewer lines out to the development, which is required for the city to be able to annex the ground. City clerk Theresa Busse emphasized that the city’s primary interest in contributing to the development is to grow the local tax base, so it sees annexation as a requirement.

Ray said to annex a piece of ground not adjacent to the city limits, a tract of “developable land” must connect it to the city proper. He said a strip of about 100 yards wide would likely qualify as “developable.”

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