Norfolk City Council sided with residential development over agricultural preservation at Monday night’s meeting.
Council voted unanimously to approve a zoning change from agricultural to rural residential for land on the northwest outskirts of town, despite objections and concerns from several neighbors.
The property, located a quarter mile east of the intersection of North 49th Street and West Eisenhower Avenue, is being developed into a new subdivision, the Pines.
Stephen Karmazin, the developer, said the idea to develop the area came to him when he was looking for a house.
“When I decided to start this process my wife and I basically wanted an area to raise our children and we knew the citizens of Norfolk were looking for the same thing,” he said.
One of the reasons some oppose the development is because of the condition of the roads, especially Eisenhower Avenue.
“It’s bad. The last rain we had was horrible. I had to take a second vehicle because I can’t take my small car on these kinds of roads,” said local resident Lynn Walmsley. “It’s awful.”
Increased traffic could also cause more accidents and other safety issues, Walmsley said.
But the main reason Walmsley opposes rezoning is that it would mean less land for farmers and ranchers, she said.
“My big concern is agriculture,” she said. “We remove the aspect of the land, the possibility for a farmer to continue his exploitation because we continue little by little to remove it.”
In Madison County, agriculture is in decline, Walmsley said.
“It’s going to keep going down when we do things like that and take away our agriculture, our grazing,” she said.
Walmsley also believes the development is unnecessary, she said.
“I know there’s development all around, but Norfolk doesn’t have the people in this community to support 22 homes that would support this type of development,” she said. “Norfolk’s median salary cannot support $250,000 homes.”
However, not all neighbors oppose development.
“I own the land that joins this right to the north, and I’m all for this project going forward,” Kenneth Porter said. “As far as the road is concerned, the departmental roads are departmental roads. And this road is no worse than any other county road anywhere.
Karmazin said increased tax revenue from the development could encourage the county to improve roads.
“I have worked with the Madison County Highway Department and the city, and they are well aware that Eisenhower is in poor condition and this additional accommodation will not be a benefit for current road conditions,” he said. . “But they are also very aware that additional tax revenue might be exactly what is needed to justify some of these needed repairs.”
Norfolk City Council met in Norfolk City Council Chambers on Monday.
Council members present: Mayor Josh Moenning, Kory Hildebrand, Frank Arens, Gary L. Jackson, Rob Merrill, Fred Wiebelhaus, Thad Murren, Corey Granquist and Shane Clausen.
Absent Board Member: None
Duration of the meeting: 1h45.
Others present: municipal staff, eight; media representatives, two; and about 10 from the public.
– Passed an ordinance amending the city code to enact Chapter 13, Article XVI to regulate sex businesses.
— Approved a zoning change for a property whose address is 212 S. Eighth St.
—Approved a zoning change for a property located one-quarter mile east of the intersection of North 49th Street and West Eisenhower Avenue.
— Approved a special assessment against a property located at 1009 W. Nebraska Ave. for the demolition of a structure.
— Passed an ordinance authorizing bonds for Paving Districts, Space Paving Districts, Water Districts and Sidewalk Districts not to exceed $3.6 million in principal.
— Adoption of a resolution calling the 2018, 2018B, 2019C and 2019 series anticipation bonds outstanding.
— Approved resolution adding two stop signs at Cooper Drive and South 25th Street and Taylor Avenue and South 25th Street (south of Highway 275) and adding a yield sign at the intersection of Taylor Avenue and Cooper Drive.
— Consider a contract for the Fourth Street Sanitary Sewer Replacement Project for $1,119,546.85.
— Receipt of the complete annual financial report for the financial year 2020 and the letter from the auditor.
— Proclaimed Earth Day on Thursday.