Southeast Rural Fire District

The Southeast Rural Fire District's North Station is at 8401 Holdrege St.

TED KIRK, Journal Star file photo

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission on Wednesday recommended approval of plans to annex two more areas on the city's edges.

The areas, near 84th and Holdrege streets and Seventh Street and Fletcher Avenue, are among eight identified by Planning Department staff as appropriate for annexation. The commission recommended approval to annex four other areas at its meeting two weeks ago.

No one showed up to testify against annexation of the 152 acres near Seventh and Fletcher, and it was unanimously approved by the Planning Commission.

The area, which stretches from First to 14th streets, includes 24 homes, two churches and a tree farm. It is surrounded by the city limits on three sides.

The area near 84th and Holdrege also abuts the city limits on three sides, but its residents presented a much different story.

All 28 homeowners of an acreage development called Sunrise Estates signed a letter opposing annexation.

A couple of residents said they saw no benefit to being annexed, but plenty of costs.

"We're all looking at a huge chunk of money," said David Halvorsen.

He estimated that on top of the additional property taxes and other taxes, he could spend tens of thousands of dollars to pay for infrastructure services such as city water and sewer.

That could put things "out of the realm of being able to afford to live there."

Other neighbors said their main concern was fire protection.

The 203-acre area currently is served by the Southeast Rural Fire District, which has a station at 84th and Holdrege. With annexation, the area would be served by Lincoln Fire & Rescue from its closest station nearly three miles away.

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Assistant Fire Chief Pat Borer said Lincoln Fire & Rescue is planning to build a station near 84th Street and Leighton Avenue, although it would be at least two years away from opening.

Jeanelle Lust, an attorney representing one of the homeowners, said it made more sense to wait until that station is built before annexing the area.

"The question you really need to ask yourself is, why not wait the two years until that fire station is built?" she said.

Commissioner Chris Hove agreed with that sentiment and voted against recommending the annexation, saying it seemed more appropriate to wait until the new city fire station is built.

However, Borer said he was confident the area can be served adequately now with existing stations.

The other eight commissioners all voted in favor of recommending annexation.

Both proposals will now go to the City Council, which will make the final decision on annexation.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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