An Omaha neighborhood that looked out at golf fairways and tee boxes lost what may have been its last stand against a developer’s push to build apartments and homes on the course.
Developer NP Dodge will build up to 210 apartment units and up to 37 single-family houses on the land it bought from the former Sunset Valley golf club near 90th Street and West Center Road.
The City Council approved the south-central Omaha development’s final plat 7-0 after a public hearing Tuesday dominated by nearly two hours of neighborhood testimony against the project.
Over the past two years, neighbors have fought the proposal over worries about building in a flood plain, increased traffic, sidewalks, developer influence and community character with the Planning Department, Planning Board, Mayor’s Office and City Council. Each time, the project has advanced.
Neighbors Don and Louise Giger said Tuesday that they worry most about whether plans to fill in part of the Big Papio Creek flood plain will push flooding onto neighboring properties. Some neighbors shared photographs of flooding that already has occurred to emphasize their belief that new development would make it worse.
“Our home is our savings and our security,” Don Giger said. “So I’m concerned by the fact that this is going to change.”
The council sided with Planning Department and Planning Board recommendations that the development fit with the neighborhood. The council also sided with city planners who said the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District found that no neighborhood properties would be added to the flood plain or require flood insurance because of the project.
Councilman Brinker Harding, whose west Omaha district includes the Sunset Hills neighborhood, said he would not have voted for the project if a single current property owner would need flood insurance as a result of the development.
NP Dodge’s designs include stormwater retention so the runoff doesn’t cause problems for others in the watershed, the developer said. And the company is leaving 60% of the land as green space.
Lawyer Rick Anderson, speaking for developer Nate Dodge, who also testified Tuesday, said his client’s team had worked closely with neighbors, meeting with small groups before applying for a permit and several times after.
That is why the developer added the buffer of single-family homes, Anderson said. He also said private and public engineering reviews of the hydrology of the area found that NP Dodge could build on 40 percent of the 49 acres without putting nearby homes at risk.
Lawyer Ryan Kunhart, representing neighbors, asked the council to delay its vote, citing litigation on how some zoning exceptions were handled. He also said the development was not compatible with the city’s master plan.
Lawyers for the city, as well as city planners, said the development meets the city’s revised master plan and said the council need not wait.
Harding pressed NP Dodge to keep commitments not to change the character of the neighborhood and secured Nate Dodge’s commitment that he would work with the city on lowering traffic speeds if it proves necessary.
Dodge, answering a Harding question from neighbors, said that 127 of the 317 trees on the site would need to be removed but that each would be replaced with a new tree and that as many as can be safely relocated would be.
Evan Halpain, who lives near where the apartments will be built, said he and others feel ignored. He worries about increased crime, particularly thefts, that he said often accompanies apartment buildings. He wondered whether the city was putting profit over the people.
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It was about 15 years ago that seeds were planted for an iconic western gateway to Omaha. City officials at the time were preparing a master plan for developing suburbia. Now the seeds have sprouted. Between the Avenue One project and the office parks planned by R&R Realty, an area about four times the size of Aksarben Village is to be transformed at 192nd Street and West Dodge Road. Read more
A former one-story furniture store that has been vacant for several years is to stretch up and out as J. Development plans to integrate a new five-story apartment building into the existing property. When done, the $17.8 million project at 119 N. 72nd St. will contain indoor parking, community and fitness rooms and 158 market-rate apartments ranging in rent from $800 to $1,100. Read more
The long-awaited Dundee Flats (shown above) at 49th and Dodge Streets is finished, and its development team, Sage Capital, is now planning its next apartment project in another “emerging” pocket of the city. That future apartment property in the Benson area is to be called the Mill, a nod to its past as a grain mill, and would become home to 95 market-rate units. Read more
The Centerline apartment complex, a J. Development project on the 72nd Street corridor north of Spring Street, is open for business. Nearly 80 of the 162 units, at 7007 Oak St., are ready and other floors are opening in phases through November. Read more
A batch of 12 newly constructed single-family homes — selling for upward of $300,000 and featuring rooftop decks and garages — is poised to open along the corridor next spring. Milestone Development’s $3.6 million Courtyard on Park Townhomes project stands out on that re-energized stretch between about Harney Street and Woolworth Avenue in that it’s new construction targeting homeowners rather than renters. Read more
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There was plan after plan to renovate the Logan Hotel, a historic building at 18th and Dodge Streets. A local architectural firm worked 15 years to see the structure survive.
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As once happened for Florence, Benson, Irvington and a handful of other small towns, the buffer between Omaha and Bennington is disappearing. Families are flocking to the outskirts of town, building homes in brand new neighborhoods with brand new schools in the Bennington school district. READ MORE
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After Eppley Airfield recorded its busiest month ever in May, airport officials are beginning the next stage of planning for future renovations and expansion. READ MORE
The century-old Blackstone Hotel, most recently used as an office building in midtown Omaha, is poised to be resurrected to its original use under a nearly $75 million plan by two Omaha developers. READ MORE
The Douglas County Board will consider using eminent domain to acquire a property near 18th and Howard Streets for its proposed $120 million juvenile justice center. Read more
The 130-year-old St. Agnes Catholic Church and related buildings appear headed for the same fate as a few other Omaha parishes in the past few years: The campus at 23rd and Q Streets has been sold to a developer who expects to replace it with rental housing. READ MORE.
A familiar Old Market warehouse — the 133-year-old Woolworth building — is now 44 residences. The homes were carved out of the top three floors of the five-story structure on the northeast corner of 12th and Howard Streets. READ MORE.
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A $13 million headquarters for OCI is set to rise northeast of 204th Street and West Maple Road. READ MORE.
A growing Omaha-based Baxter Auto Group is revving up with a new corporate headquarters to be built northwest of 168th Street and West Dodge Road, near three dealership structures the company currently has under construction. READ MORE.
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A company that builds senior living communities has staked out an 8-acre spot on Omaha’s sprawling West Farm development. The Avamere Family of Companies, based in the Portland, Oregon, area plans an $84 million project featuring a pair of upscale residential structures with independent senior living, assisted living and memory care units spanning 325,000 square feet. READ MORE.
The former Creighton University Medical Center is becoming the state's largest single structure of market-rate apartments, near 30th and Cuming. READ MORE.
Officials continue to move closer to developing Lot B, an 8-acre piece of downtown real estate near the CenturyLink Center. Plans calls for a $125 million mixed-use development with restaurants, stores, apartments, open spaces and possibly another hotel. READ MORE.
NuStyle Development is poised to convert another downtown Omaha building into housing — replacing much of the Wells Fargo Bank center at 1919 Douglas St. with about 200 apartments and indoor parking. READ MORE.
The 30 Metro residential and retail complex brings a five-story, $20 million investment to North 30th and Fort Streets. The building includes 110 apartments, 12,000 square feet of commercial bays — and the Icona, a sculpture that stands near the entrance to the 113,000-square-foot complex. READ MORE.
The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska plans to move its health clinic and administrative offices from South Omaha to the vacant former Infogroup headquarters campus near 84th and Q Streets. READ MORE.
Omaha's Intercultural Senior Center is building a 22,000-square-foot facility at 5545 Center St. Construction on the $6.2 million project is expected to be done by 2019. READ MORE.
Alvine Engineering is settling into a new home at 12th and Cass Streets, about four blocks north of the 127-year-old digs it had been in for three decades. The facility marks the first corporate headquarters to be constructed in that downtown area since 2013 when a $44 million, 130,500-square-foot facility at 13th Street and Capitol Avenue was built for grain-trader Gavilon. READ MORE.
Omaha’s movers and shakers, with more than half the funds pledged privately, are forging ahead with a $290 million proposal to breathe new life into the city’s downtown riverfront. A conceptual master plan calls for adding spacious lawns for events, a Farnam Street walking promenade that stretches past Eighth Street to the river, a ribbon-shaped rink for ice skating and rollerblading, a water plaza where kids can play and splash, and a dog park. READ MORE.
The Rohwer family is one of the last farm families on 204th Street, one of the final few trying to straddle the fuzzy line between this area’s rural past and suburban present. "My life is farming," said Alan Rohwer. "My life is this land." READ MORE.
Omaha-based Metonic Real Estate Solutions helped refine a project it thinks will target an unmet demand in the west Omaha area. Ravello 192, as it’s called, is planned as a sprawling 11-building town house development offering private entrances and garages for each of the 118 rental residences. READ MORE.
Rising southeast of 10th Street and Capitol Avenue is a six-story mostly residential structure with ground-floor commercial bays. Capitol Place, as the $27 million project is called, is the dream of two former city officials who are shedding a suburban lifestyle to help build Omaha’s downtown central business district. READ MORE.
Two heavy-hitter youth athletic organizations are teaming up to help build a $10 million Elkhorn facility set to sprawl across 135,000 square feet and host up to 400,000 visitors a year. READ MORE.
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Urban Village Development is set to build 167 apartments on the site of the former Grace University administration and dorm structure at 1311 S. 9th St. READ MORE.