An apartment development proposed for 192nd and Leavenworth Streets drew strong opposition Wednesday from neighbors but won approval from the Omaha Planning Board.
The plan for 272 apartments would still need City Council approval. Neighbors from The Grove subdivision next door vowed to continue their fight against the proposal.
“We're holding out hope that we can persuade the Planning Department or the City Council,” said Dave Mayer, president of The Grove Homeowners Association.
He was one of more than 30 residents of The Grove who attended Wednesday's meeting to oppose the project.
The developers, DP Metro Capital, propose to construct 34 buildings, two stories tall, of eight units each, on about 20 acres of land.
One-bedroom apartments would rent for $750 to $800 a month, two-bedroom units for $1,000 to $1,100.
The neighbors said the apartments would not be compatible with their neighborhood of single-family houses. They said that the city's master plan does not allow multi-family housing on the site and that it's not an appropriate use of the property.
“We're not against development. We're pro-development,” homeowner Joe Hearn said. “We know something will go there. … We just want it done right.”
Neighbors said traffic from the apartments, which would be routed through neighborhood streets instead of directly onto 192nd Street, would cause safety problems. They said a lot of children live in the neighborhood, that even a light snow makes its steep, twisty streets dangerous and that traffic moves perilously fast on 192nd Street.
“I'm going to be hearing sirens,” homeowner Steve Sargent said. “There's going to be bodies in the street.”
Larry Jobeun, attorney for DP Metro Capital, said the development would be low-density, perhaps less than a single-family house development on the site would be.
Planning Board member John Hoich said single-family houses on the site would generate as much traffic as would apartments.
Another 250 units would be built on about 20 more acres in a future, second phase.
That and other expected future development near the site would require a street connecting to 192nd Street.
City Planning staff, while recommending approval, said the proposal is consistent with the city's master plan.
Omaha Public Works staff said the streets could handle the traffic.
The Planning Board voted 5-0 and 4-1 to approve the plat and the plan. Board member Van Deeb opposed it, saying he agreed with neighbors about the traffic.
Neighbors expressed disappointment.
“We made some strong technical arguments and some even more compelling practical and safety arguments,” Mayer said. “We know that there's more to the process, and we're going to continue to fight.”