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Hillcrest Heights, an acreage development next to the Hillcrest Golf Course along O Street, will be annexed into the city limits, but the annexation will not take place until next December.

This decision -- annexing but with a year’s delay -- was the same decision the council made two weeks ago on the annexation of Sunrise Estates, an acreage development in northeast Lincoln.

In both cases, homeowners vigorously opposed the annexation in emails and in appearances before the Lincoln-Lancaster Planning Commission and City Council.

Also in both, the neighborhoods would move from the Waverly School District into the Lincoln Public Schools District and the year delay gives parents more time to make school-related decisions, council members said.

Monday's annex-but-delay decision also affects a single home that sits along O Street to the east of Hillcrest Heights.

Councilwoman Cyndi Lamm argued the city should not annex Hillcrest Heights until land to the south was brought into the city and the neighborhood was connected to A Street.

Her motion not to annex at all failed on a 3-4 vote.

Lamm said the city should respect the wishes of the homeowners. “It is very presumptuous of us to say we know better than the residents, who have lived there 10 to 17 years."

At her request, Council Chairman Roy Christensen asked Hillcrest homeowners in the audience Monday to raise their hand if they felt their concerns had been respected by the council.

No hand went up.

Christensen suggested the same arguments the planning department used not to annex the neighboring Hillcrest Golf Course could be applied to Hillcrest Heights. He agreed the city should wait to annex both areas until development to the south occurs and the area is connected to A Street.

But Counciwoman Leirion Gaylor Baird said the council was being consistent in treating Sunrise Estates and Hillcrest Heights alike. Both acreage developments had similar fire safety concerns, believing the rural volunteer fire department could better serve them. And both neighborhoods would move into the LPS district.

Councilman Carl Eskridge said Hillcrest Heights, like Sunrise Estates, will have better emergency, fire and police service from the city than they receive from rural volunteer services and the sheriff's office.

"A year's delay is OK (for getting city services). But the sooner the better," he said.

The 4-3 vote on the annex-but-delay motion divided down party lines, with Gaylor Baird, Eskridge, Bennie Shobe and Jane Raybould, all Democrats, voting for annexation and Jon Camp, Christensen and Lamm, all Republicans, voting against it.

The council also annexed about 68 acres near 84th Street and Yankee Hill Road during the Monday meeting, completing the involuntary annexation votes.

The planning department had recommended annexing eight areas on the edge of the city because they are surrounded on several sides by city property and have easy access to city water and sewer services.

The annexations provide equity for all taxpayers since people at the edge of the city use many city services, including streets, but don't pay any city property taxes on their homes or the city wheel tax on their vehicles.

According to city calculations, the areas would add more than $190,000 a year to city coffers in the form of property taxes and motor vehicle-related taxes.

Individual property owners would pay an additional $300 per $100,000 of valuation on average for city property taxes.

The planning department said the annexations promote orderly and efficient growth, and eliminate areas where county and city jurisdictions change back and forth over a few blocks.

These involuntary annexations are not typical. Normally land comes into the city voluntarily, at the request of a developer who wants to build or of homeowners in an existing development who need city water or sewer services. Property owners must be within the city limits to access city water and sewer.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7250 or nhicks@journalstar.com

On Twitter @LJSNancyHicks.

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