The Lincoln City Council made it official. The council annexed Sunrise Estates, near 84th and Holdrege streets, but delayed the action for one year to give homeowners a chance to sort out some of the annexation issues, which include higher taxes and moving the area from the Waverly School District to Lincoln Public Schools.
Two weeks ago, the council approved an amendment to the annexation ordinance laying out the year’s delay, but inadvertently failed to take a final vote on the amended ordinance at that meeting. This Monday, the council took that final action, voting 4-1, at a meeting where annexation controversy was prominent.
The council also held public hearings on the final two of eight city-requested annexations: Hillcrest Heights, 156 acres at about 93rd and O streets, and 68 acres near 84th and Yankee Hill Road.
Residents of Hillcrest Heights have raised concerns about fire and police services, the speedy annexation process after they had been told their area probably wouldn’t be annexed until 2020 or later, and a move from the Waverly to the Lincoln school systems. All annexed land automatically moves into the Lincoln Public School District.
The neighborhood is conceptually not opposed to annexation "when the time is right," said Terry Neddenriep, president of the Hillcrest Heights Neighborhood Association. "Involuntary annexation is not the answer," he said.
Only a small area of the northern edge of the subdivision touches the city limits. It is surrounded by undeveloped farm land and a golf course, said Marybell Avery, a homeowner in the area.
What it looks like is that the neighborhood touches the city limit so "now it's time to grab the money," said Bob Creager, a Hillcrest Heights homeowner.
Annexing Heritage Heights will bring in about $51,500 in property taxes to the city.
Waverly Superintendent Cory Worrell said he was concerned about the late notification, in August, as the district was wrapping up its budget. The change will impact students, who will have to come in as option students without busing support, and the district will lose around $331,000 in tax revenues.
These developments are among eight areas of land that the Planning Department has recommended be brought into the city limits because they are surrounded on several sides by city property and have easy access to city water and sewer services.
Normally, land comes into the city at the request of a developer or the homeowners of an existing acreage development because the area needs city water and sewer services, so there is seldom opposition.
But these eight annexations are being requested by the city administration, based on providing equity for all taxpayers, eliminating areas where county and city jurisdictions change back and forth, and promoting orderly and efficient growth. Some property owners have objected during hearings before the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission and City Council.
The council will not vote on these last two annexation areas until its next meeting, Dec. 4.
The Sunrise Heights annexation decision passed on a 4-1 vote, with council members voting as they had on the amendment two weeks ago.
Voting yes were Carl Eskridge, Bennie Shobe, Leirion Gaylor Baird and Roy Christensen. Voting no were Cyndi Lamm. Jon Camp opposed the annexation two weeks ago but was absent from this week's meeting. Councilwoman Jane Raybould had a conflict of interest, because a brother and sister-in-law owned a home in the acerage, and did not participate in the discussion or vote.