Zoning change would allow playhouse to sell adjacent land

2012-09-17T20:00:00Z 2012-09-17T21:36:04Z Zoning change would allow playhouse to sell adjacent landBy NANCY HICKS / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com

A zoning change that would allow the Lincoln Community Playhouse to sell almost 3 1/2 acres of adjacent land for office or restaurant use is before the Lincoln City Council.

If approved, land that has little use to the playhouse will go back on the property tax rolls, said Lincoln Community Playhouse board member Bob Everitt during a public hearing before the City Council on Monday.

The sale of the land will allow the playhouse to begin planning for "much-needed repair, renovation and expansion of the current building," according to a letter from the playhouse board to the Planning Commission this summer.

The Planning Commission already has approved the zoning change and the development plan that will allow for office and limited commercial uses, including a restaurant, on the land that sits south and east of the Playhouse, 2500 S. 56th St.

The plan would allow for a reduction in required parking for any proposed office space, because the two areas likely would share parking and the peak demand would be different for each use.

Playhouse executive director Morrie Enders said he could not talk about any specific future uses of the site. But the planning documents and previous correspondence indicate some likely uses. 

Private discussions have centered on using the site for office space, but the zoning change also will allow for the site to be used for a restaurant. That would allow for a potential dinner theater in the playhouse, according to planning documents.

Reduced parking would not be allowed for a restaurant because both the playhouse and a restaurant would have similar peak parking hours.

The zoning change and development plan, expected to be approved by the council next week, also would allow garden centers, veterinarian facilities and enclosed commercial recreation facilities.

Other uses allowed by a special permit would include elderly and retirement facilities, health care facilities, academies and early childhood care and outdoor seasonal sales.

The community playhouse purchased the land in 2000 to build a new theater. But the recession and a drop in support intervened. In 2009, the community theater cut its operating budget by 29 percent to keep its doors open.

Reach Nancy Hicks at 402-473-7250 or nhicks@journalstar.com.

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