The Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission on Wednesday gave the green light to redeveloping part of a southeast Lincoln golf course into a large apartment complex.
The commission voted unanimously to recommend rezoning 54 acres in the southeast corner of Yankee Hill Country Club to allow for an 860-unit apartment complex.
Chateau Development, which owns several apartment complexes in Lincoln, wants to build what it believes would be its "flagship complex," said attorney Mark Hunzeker, who represented the company at Wednesday's public hearing.
The complex would have 14 buildings of varying sizes, three of them with underground parking garages. Plans are to build it in stages, with a first phase of 288 units along Yankee Hill Road.
Hunzeker said Chateau met several times with staff from the Planning Department and other city departments and also held a well-attended neighborhood meeting to hear concerns and make adjustments to its plan before formally submitting it.
Among the changes he said were made to the plans after input from those meetings:
* Extending the setback from a neighboring acreage development to the east of the property to double what's required.
* Constructing the buildings with flat roofs to shave a few feet off the heights.
* Agreeing to work individually with abutting property owners on landscaping plans to help screen the development.
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The formal plan also increases the already steep east-to-west drop in grade of the property to make buildings even less visible to neighbors.
Owners of acreages in the Country Acres and Country Acres South developments east of the property said the proposed changes, while appreciated, were not nearly enough.
Lisa Koch, who said she was representing several of her neighbors, called the size of the project and the height of some of the buildings excessive.
The 860 apartments on 54 acres produces a density of almost 16 units per acre, "a density that's generally reserved for downtown area, not suburban ones," said Koch, whose house backs up to the proposed apartment complex.
In addition, she said the road network in the area cannot handle the traffic that will be produced by the 860 apartments, as well as 118 town home units that are proposed in a development across Yankee Hill Road.
The apartment complex, when fully built, will have two driveways onto Yankee Hill, at 44th and 48th streets, with roundabouts likely at both intersections. As plans stand now, there would be no other way in or out of the complex.
The plan will now go to the City Council in a few weeks for another public hearing.
If the council approves the plan and the sale of the land goes through, Yankee Hill Country Club will continue to operate as an 18-hole golf course but with a smaller footprint.
Plans call for a 5,400-yard course that would play to a par of 68 or 69. The current par-72 course is a little more than 7,000 yards.
Construction of the new course layout would start early next year and ideally be done by late summer or early fall, according to a letter sent to members. It would likely open for play in 2021.
Chateau has not said when it would start construction on the apartment complex.
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