Seven of nine annexations passed a vote by Bellevue’s City Council Oct. 1 while decisions on the other two, Normandy Hills and Cedar View, were tabled until Dec. 3.
City staff recommended delaying the annexation because of the threat of a lawsuit from Normandy Hills if it was annexed. The council voted 6-0 in favor of tabling the annexations.
Bellevue City Attorney Bree Robbins said the city could proceed with the annexations but was delaying them until a lawsuit filed against the city by Darling International Inc., was resolved. In that suit, Darling alleges its plant north of Normandy Hills is “not urban or suburban in character” and not contiguous with city limits and therefore ineligible for annexation. The city annexed the property in June.
Dean Jungers, an attorney representing the Normandy Hills board, said at the Sept. 17 council meeting he would file a lawsuit similar to the Darling case if the council approved the SID’s annexation.
He also expressed concerns about the neighborhood only having one access point. The SID lost its second access point when the state improved Highway 75.
Councilman Don Preister affirmed the decision and said it showed the council listened to residents’ concerns.
“This is the prudent thing to do,” he said.
Councilman Pat Shannon asked city staff to use the time to come up with a plan to add a second access point to Normandy Hills.
“I think this is a good opportunity for us to have that information before we vote on Dec. 3,” he said.
City Administrator Jim Ristow said the city will work with the state to address the issue and that future development in the area could provide a way to add a second access point.
Cedar View, the second SID vote tabled, is immediately south of Normandy Hills and would not be eligible to be annexed because it would not be contiguous with city limits. The council was unanimous in its decision.
Six SID annexations — Sunrise III and IV, Piper’s Glen, Orchard Valley, Spring Creek, Kennedy Town Center and Colonial Pointe — passed unanimously while Lakewood Villages passed 5-0 with Councilwoman Kathy Welch not voting.
Welch said she owned a “weekend retreat” lakefront property in Lakewood Villages and is the current president of the Lakewood Villages Lake Lot Owners Association.
She left the council chambers during the Lakewood Villages vote due to the conflict of interest.
Welch also left the chambers during a vote on an $800,000 property purchase for land for a new facility for the Bellevue Public Works Department facility. Welch represented the city in the deal and cast a vote during the Sept. 17 meeting.
Ristow and Welch both acknowledged the vote during Tuesday’s meeting and said Welch should have left the room.
“It escaped all of us,” Ristow said. “I’ll take responsibility for that.”
Prior to leaving the council chambers, Welch, reading from a statement, said, “I know there have been some questions surrounding this agreement from the last City Council meeting and why I cast a vote at that time. I believe this issue has been addressed with the city administrator and the city attorney and I can confirm that it was truly an accident in oversight.”
The council voted 5-0 to nullify the Sept. 17 vote and then approved the property purchase 5-0.
Also at the meeting, the council approved the sale of the former city hall and other city-owned property in Olde Towne to 1st City Development. Ristow said the sale was being finalized to allow for demolition to occur this winter and the developer had “identified prospects for future development.”
In previous public meetings, 1st City had outlined plans that included a small grocery store, office buildings and multi-family residential and retail mixed use buildings.
In other action:
- Approved updated qualification standards for lottery operations.
- Approved activities associated with Olde Towne Trick or Treat.
- Tabled a vote on an interlocal agreement with Omaha Public Power District.
- Approved a $11,850 bid from Tennis Courts Unlimited to renovate tennis courts at Haworth Park.
- Approved a $176,621 bid from Alfred Benesch & Company for engineering work on a bridge replacement on 25th Street.
- Approved an amended Emergency Medical Services Medical Director Agreement with University of Nebraska Medical Center Physicians.
- Approved an interlocal agreement with Sarpy County for design work on 36th Street between Cornhusker Road and Highway 370.
- Approved a memorandum of understanding with the 55th Wing at Offutt Air Force Base for living accommodations for four Offutt firefighters.