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Waverly Progress 1.31

New housing continues to go up adjacent to Waverly's water tower, which proudly claims the city is “a great place to grow.”

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission on Wednesday unanimously approved a plan that would allow a rural event center to host weddings and other events on a farm east of Waverly.

The commission approved what's called a Historic Landmark Overlay on the 17-acre farm at 172nd Street and Bluff Road, as well as a special permit for the event center.

The Historic Landmark Overlay essentially recognizes the farm has historic significance and it helps to preserve the existing buildings by putting restrictions on changes to them.

It also makes it easier to run an event center.

For that, owners Carol and Jed Hartweg plan to build a new building that would be roughly 8,000 square feet and accommodate about 300 people.

The Hartwegs said they hope to have the building built and open for events sometime next summer.

The plan has the support of many people in Waverly, which has few facilities to host large events.

"I support it. The city supports it," said Waverly Mayor Mike Werner.

But owners of several neighboring properties do not.

During a public hearing Wednesday, they laid out potential problems, including increased traffic, a lack of law enforcement to deal with any problems and the possibility of a clash with farming activities.

Marlan Johnson, who owns property in the area, said he agrees that Waverly needs more community facilities, but it would be a "much better solution to put something like this in the city."

Several members of the Planning Commission, though, said they felt the property, which does not have another house within 1,000 feet, is a good location for an event center.

The plan will now go to the Lancaster County Board for final approval.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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