La Vista council eyes annexing land package
The City of La Vista is looking to annex land that would bring an additional $44 million in valuation into the city.
The annexation package considered by the La Vista City Council includes the Mayfair sanitary and improvement district northwest of 96th Street and Giles Road. With a valuation of $43.4 million and a population of 537 people, Mayfair accounts for almost all of the package.
Other targets include two other lots in the Mayfair neighborhood and properties to bridge a gap in the city limits leading out to Performance Auto at 124th Circle and Harrison Street.
Public hearings on the proposals are expected to be held before the La Vista Planning Commission on May 9 and before the La Vista City Council on June 4.
Bellevue looks to grow green streets program
Bellevue's green streets program got a dose of fertilizer when officials met to discuss the latest innovations in modern streets.
Phil Erickson, a California architect working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said the concept of green, or “sustainable,” streets can involve the creation of shopping districts where pedestrians feel at ease. To be environmentally friendly, green streets can control stormwater with so-called rain gardens, use permeable paving or incorporate parks and open spaces.
Bellevue was one of 43 communities accepted into the EPA's green streets program.
John Jungers, president of Bellevue's Olde Towne Development Committee, said collaboration between the city and private interests has been lacking. He said trees have been removed in Olde Towne and the holes have not been filled in, broken street lights have not been replaced and parking problems abound.
“We need to get the key players together,” he said. “The biggest barrier is collaboration.”
Assistant City Administrator Larry Burks acknowledged that parts of Olde Towne need attention. He urged that any effort to redesign the area envision Mission Avenue, Olde Towne and two neighboring parks as a single destination.
Erickson said the cost of developing greener streets is always a concern, and taxpayers need to be shown the benefits.
“There are communities where, even during the current economic environment, the citizens have agreed to increase their taxes to fund these kinds of improvements. It takes time.”
Supreme Court upholds rental ordinance
The Nebraska Supreme Court upheld La Vista's controversial rental housing licensing and inspection ordinance.
In an opinion issued earlier this month, the court rejected a challenge by landlords alleging they were unfairly singled out.
When the city passed the ordinance in 2009, many rental property owners complained about the impact of the regulation. Some homeowners, however, testified that deteriorating rental properties were driving down property values.
Mayor Doug Kindig had to split a tie vote of the La Vista City Council to pass the ordinance.
A lawsuit followed in September 2010 arguing the ordinance created special privileges for homes occupied by their owners.
In 2000, a La Vista study found neighborhoods in decline, but that it was still economically feasible for the city to intervene.
The judges said attempting to stop the deterioration of rental properties was such an intervention.
“The record shows that city officials knew of longstanding maintenance problems with La Vista's rental properties,” the court wrote.
— World-Herald News Service