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City Council rejects plan for four-story apartments near SouthPointe

The Lincoln City Council rejected a plan for a four-story apartment complex near 27th Street and Pine Lake Road that nearby homeowners detest.

This was the second time Rick Krueger’s plan for apartment buildings has come before the City Council.

Last summer, the council approved the apartment complex plan, but Mayor Chris Beutler vetoed it.

This time, the council, on a 4-3 vote, rejected the plan. Councilman Bennie Shobe, the only council member who changed his vote, said he was persuaded by the homeowners' concerns about the proposed very tall building next to their homes.

The homeowners in Porter Ridge West Townhome Association expected three office or medical office buildings, up to 45 feet tall, in that area. Krueger could also build apartment buildings on the land, but only 35 feet tall.

But Krueger proposed taller apartment buildings, 50 feet tall, so he needed a height waiver from the city.

Krueger, owner of Krueger Development, was proposing 121 apartments above a first floor of 23,700 square feet of commercial space in two buildings at about 29th Street and Porter Ridge Road, which is just southeast of the intersection of 27th and Pine Lake.

Krueger had reduced the height of one of the buildings, making both of them 50 feet tall and reduced the number of proposed apartments from the earlier vetoed plan. He also offered to provide much more landscape screening and taller trees than the city requires.

But neighboring homeowners said the development still isn't appropriate for the area.

This started as a size-12 foot going into a size-6 shoe, said Bill Blake, an attorney representing the neighborhood. Now the developer has reduced the size to 11 1/2 feet into that size-6 shoe, he said during a public hearing Monday.

“There is not much change. Why are we back here?" he asked. City Council and Planning Commission members have been inundated by emails from nearby homeowners. Shobe said he has received 55 emails on the project.

“We are not asking the City Council to change anything. Just enforce the rules in place," said homeowner Doug Gerlach.

“We are rewriting the Lincoln zoning handbook for one person. Changing things for one person, that doesn’t seem fair,” he said.

Krueger pointed out the apartment complex would likely be valued at $4.4 million more than medical office space, giving the city more property taxes.

The apartment complex conforms with the comprehensive plan and doesn’t require any new streets or any extension of the water and sewer system, Krueger pointed out.

“It is important to allow the private sector to do these things,” he said.

Voting against the height waiver were Shobe, Carl Eskridge, Leirion Gaylor Baird and Jane Raybould. Voting for waiver were Cyndi Lamm, Roy Christensen and Jon Camp.