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Housing development proposal to go before Planning Commission

September 23, 2018

Though its future remains in doubt, a proposed housing development near West Philip and Dixie avenues will move on as scheduled to its next public hearing and vote Tuesday before the North Platte Planning Commission.

Members will take comments on and consider the entirety of the plan, including its subdivision plat and North Platte homebuilder Lonnie Parsons’ request for tax increment financing, during the commission’s regular monthly meeting. It begins at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers at City Hall, 211 W. Third St.

If commission members endorse the project, the city Community Development Authority will decide whether to reject it or recommend it to the council. The CRA, which kicked off public review of the plan Aug. 22, is scheduled to meet at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the City Hall conference room. Its meetings are public.

The original six-week timetable for deliberating Parsons’ $11.5 million proposal was thrown into confusion last Tuesday, when the City Council gave 5-3 second-round approval to a rezoning ordinance but failed to waive its rule requiring three “yes” votes to adopt ordinances.

As a result, council members won’t take their final vote on rezoning the 8-acre site from R-1 to R-2 until their next regular meeting on Oct. 2. That’s the same meeting at which the council has been slated since late August to hold the plan’s fourth and final public hearing and possibly vote it up or down.

State law says rezoning ordinances take effect 15 days after they’re approved, meaning any zoning change at the West Philip and Dixie site wouldn’t be official until at least Oct. 17, the day after the council’s second and last regular October meeting.

But after reviewing the matter, city officials have concluded that the Planning Commission could advance the plan Tuesday — if it so chooses — by making its recommendation conditional on final rezoning approval, said City Administrator Jim Hawks and Planning Administrator Judy Clark.

On the other hand, they said, Parsons’ project would die if any of the following takes place:

» The Planning Commission declines Tuesday to recommend the project.

» The CRA, which has the last word on TIF requests, refuses Wednesday to advance the plan to the council.

» The council votes down either the rezoning or the development itself on Oct. 2.

» The CRA, which plans to meet Oct. 3 to complete TIF arrangements, instead rejects TIF at the last minute.

Parsons, president of his Eagle Dancer homebuilding firm and a partner in project developer Dancer Properties LLC, has proposed building as many as 41 single-family homes on the West Philip and Dixie tract. He has said the homes would average between 1,600 and 2,000 square feet, with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and an attached garage. They would sell in the $200,000-plus price range.

Parsons also has said he cannot proceed with the project without TIF. If it’s approved, property taxes generated by any increase in the tract’s taxable value would be used for up to 15 years to help Dancer Properties offset part or all of the site’s purchase price and the city’s bill for installing streets, sidewalks and utilities. Local governments would continue to divide taxes based on the site’s current valuation.

Neighbors have steadfastly opposed the plan, in part because the proposed zoning change would let the homes be built on somewhat smaller lots than are typical in their part of North Platte. Allowing that many smaller homes in their neighborhood, they have said, would depress their property values by making the area less attractive.

Opponents also dislike the plan’s draft subdivision plat, which would make motorists enter and leave the would-be development on a narrow and deteriorating South Dixie Avenue rather than the wider West Philip Avenue.

That plat will be presented Tuesday, city officials say, but Planning Commission members can recommend plat changes to the council.

In other business Tuesday, the Planning Commission will:

» Consider a three-lot replat by Keith and Catherine Hinrichsen of their property between 902 and 1110 W. Walker Road. The City Council annexed the land on Aug. 7.

» Have a public hearing and consider a Lincoln County Community Development Corp. request to add a sixth duplex to its existing project at 1802 N. Sheridan Ave. Clark said the group’s already approved master plan calls for five duplexes, two of which have been built.

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