Tuesday, May 8, 2001- 8:15 a.m.
County-City Building - Conference Room 113
COUNCIL MEMBERS IN ATTENDANCE: Jon Camp, Common Chair; Jeff Fortenberry, Jonathan Cook, Cindy Johnson, Annette McRoy, Coleen Seng;
COUNCIL MEMBERS ABSENT: Jerry Shoecraft.
COUNTY BOARD MEMBERS IN ATTENDANCE: Linda Steinman, Common Vice-Chair;
Kathy Campbell, Bernie Heier, Bob Workman;
OTHERS IN ATTENDANCE: Mayor Don Wesely, Mark Bowen, Mayor's Office;
Terry Werner, Newly Elected Council Member; Jim Linderholm, HWS, Inc.;
Dave Johnson, County Attorney's Office; Kathleen Sellman, Director, Steve
Henrichsen, Kent Morgan, Mike DeKalb, Planning; Roger Figard, City Engineer,
Scott Cockrill, Virendra Singh, Kelley Sieckmeyer, Public Works; Kerry Eagan,
Chief Administrative Officer for County Commissioners; Stevens Creek Task
Force Members: Marleen Rickertsen, Walt Bagley, Estel Schroeder, Hugh Bullock,
Ann Bleed, Kip Hulvershorn, Richard McGinnis; Comprehensive Plan Committee
Members: Debby Brehm, Cecil Steward, John Ludden, Marva Wasser, Eleanor
Francke, Rick Krueger; Several Citizens attending; Darrell Podany, Aide to
Council Members Johnson and Camp; Joan Ray, Council Secretary; Chris Hain,
Mr. Jon Camp, Common Chair, requested a motion to approve the minutes of the January, 2001 Common Meeting. Ms. Coleen Seng moved approval of those
minutes as presented. Ms. Linda Steinman seconded the motion which was
approved by the following vote: AYES: Mayor Wesely, Jon Camp, Chair; Kathy
Campbell, Jonathan Cook, Jeff Fortenberry, Bernie Heier, Cindy Johnson, Annette McRoy, Coleen Seng, Linda Steinman, Vice-Chair, Bob Workman;
ABSTAIN: None; NAYS: None.
Announcement from Administration
Announcement from Administration -
Mark Bowen of the Mayor's Office informed Council that his presentation was just a follow-up to the meeting Administration had held with the County Board members the preceding week. Mr. Bowen asked Mr. Heier to share his concerns with the Common.
Mr. Heier explained that this discussion was initiated by the County/City Health Department's display regarding air pollution, and the lack of mention of ethanol in that display. Ethanol is less of an air pollutant than gasoline. Mr. Heier had asked the Director why ethanol wasn't being promoted as a clean air fuel. The Director indicated that he did not know and suggested that Mr. Heier talk with Scott Holmes. Mr. Heier, feeling he did not have the expertise in air-pollution to bring theissue forward, requested the Nebraska Corn Board to contact Mr. Holmes. It was Mr. Heier's belief that what was agreed to at that time was only to agree to disagree.
Mr. Heier felt that since the Mayor of Lincoln and the Governor of Nebraska and all of the State Senators are promoting ethanol as a renewable resource, and since Nebraska is the number three corn producing state in the Union and the number three ethanol producing state in the Union that we should be promoting ethanol as a clean-air fuel also.The Board of Commissioners took action last Thursday to do that. He stated that they were now waiting to see if the City would take the same action and present that commitment for endorsement to the City/County Health Department.
Mr. Bowen indicated that Scott Holmes is out of town today, but the Administration will visit with him. Mr. Heier commented that he would like to see the Common body go on record in favor of the promotion of ethanol as a clean-air fuel. Ms. Campbell noted that it might be wise this month to let Mr. Bowen finish his work with the Health Department and wait for that report. This subject could be placed on the Common Agenda for next month, so there would be sufficient information then and City Council could have the same information. Mr. Heier agreed to that. Mr. Camp requested staff to place this on the Agenda for the June 4th Common meeting.
Comprehensive Plan Amendments for Beltway - Process & Schedule -
Mr. Camp commented that the two items that would constitute the bulk of the meeting were presentations from the Planning Department. He noted that Ms. Sellman was here to go through some schedules that lie ahead for public hearings on these issues. He requested that Ms. Sellman address that schedule prior to any other presentation.
Ms. Sellman had a packet passed out to the Common Members [copy on file in the Council Office]. She thanked the Common for giving the Planning Department the time to present this information. She noted that there were many members of the Comprehensive Plan Committee and the Stevens Creek Basin Task Force present at the meeting today. She acknowledged these individuals for the hard work they've done on Stevens Creek and now on the Comprehensive Plan process. This is a pretty compressed process and they are trying to get everything accomplished in a quick period of time. So, all of the things to be discussed this morning, the Comprehensive Plan, the Stevens Creek Basin initiative recommendations and the Beltway process are so linked together that one of the big conversations during the last week at the staff level had been in what order to present them. She noted that the order of presentation of the issues today doesn't mean one is more important than the others, but because of some timing requirements of staff, the Southeast Beltway presentation would be first.
Ms. Sellman reported that there have been two processes anticipated. One is almost complete on the Southeast Beltway decision making.
First are the Federal requirements and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement which is out right now. There have been a couple of hearings on that. The comment period for that was to have ended on May 7th. At the request of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, it has been extended by the Federal agency making these decisions to June 15th. So, that has moved our projected schedule into another month that we had hoped it would not consume. But, in the interest of having full and complete information available for our decision making, we now have this additional time scheduled.
She noted that we will be looking at the information that comes to us from that review of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. What we do with that has been the central question. There are Federal requirements that have to be met in the Draft Environmental Impact assessment process. We're hoping that the determination and decision on that will be forthcoming; we have no reason to think that it will not. That will conclude the Federal requirements.
The method for making the decision at the local level, which is the big decision now, will be done by means of amending the Comprehensive Plan. The model that we're following is very similar to what was done with Antelope Valley. The requirements of the Federal Review are met through the DEIS and the local decision is done through the amendments.
Because this has been so confusing as we've gone through it (because the process has gone on for many years), we have a package of information which the Common Members may be, more or less, reading in its entirety; but it reviews some of the key points since November of 1994 when the Comprehensive Plan stated that there would be a study done to determine whether a beltway was desirable on the south and east sides of Lincoln. There have been a variety of discussions on route alternatives. There was the `No Build' scenario; the `Super-Arterial' idea, and what went forward for the full evaluation - the three routes on the east and one on the south. This was after a very complicated process of decision making.
Initially there had been recommendations on what routes to study on the east. There was tremendous conversation about that by elected officials and by the public. And, in fact, at one point, there was a vote by the City Council and by the County Board, meeting individually as separate bodies - but in the same room at the same time--which determined that for the purposes of the study, to complete the Federal requirements, the East-Far would be the location that would be studied. Again, that was for the purpose of the DEIS.
Following that vote in December of ‘98, early in 1999 the Federal Highway Administration directed that it was premature to make the selection of one route for the east and all three of the east routes should be looked at in the DEIS. So, that is what was done, and that study has been completed. We're now waiting for the end of the public comment period now. We're now getting ready for the Comprehensive Plan Amendment. There's a schedule, marked DRAFT. We will be doing extensive work during May with the information that we have. We'll be preparing four Comprehensive Plan Amendments for your consideration on each of the three east locations and then the south, so that you can consider each one individually. We'll have staff prepare for you an analysis of each of these which will look at each route's compatibility with the Comprehensive Plan and at other goals which have been expressed by the City and the County.
This will go first to the Planning Commission, as it is a Comprehensive Plan Amendment. The staff report will be released on June 27th. The Planning Commission will meet three times and take action the third time. They will meet July 11th, July 18th, and July 25th - when they are scheduled to take action on the four Plan Amendments.
Quickly following that, we are proposing that the City Council and the County Board...and we're looking for some direction here... as you did in December of 1998, the Council and the County Board will have their separate meetings, but the hearing will be held jointly. The two bodies will be in the same place, there will be separate votes, but you will hear the testimony all at once. This should be a lot more efficient for those people who wish to testify to you on this subject. We're proposing that these sessions be held on August 15th and on August 22nd. They will be one week apart. We're proposing that they be held on a Wednesday, which is a departure for both bodies. We're looking at a hearing time that will begin in late afternoon and go through the evening with a break for dinner. That will be on August 15th. The Cornhusker is being considered as the location with live television coverage on 5-City TV. In talking with both the City Council and the County Board, the idea of a hearing facilitator came up. This would allow someoneto control the logistics of the hearing while the City Council and County Board members would be able to concentrate on the testimony that is being presented to them.
Ms. Sellman indicated that the Heartland folks who assisted the Planning Department with the Stevens Creek Basin project had indicated that they would be available to assist on these two dates if that is something that the Common Members would like to pursue. She noted that a speaker "sign-in" sheet would be used so there would be a record of who was there and who would be speaking. They would have people "on deck" in order to use the time as well as it can be used and let the most testimony occur in the most efficient way. Speakers would be timed.
On August 22nd ... again, a second Wednesday session...the meeting would be held in the County-City Building in our hearing chambers; and, again , covered by 5-City TV. This meeting would continue the hearing from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. with the same process for testimony with a dinner break at 6:00 p.m. Then everyone would come back clear headed and well-fed at 7:00 p.m. for deliberation. That is what is being proposed.
Ms. Sellman noted that there are some assumptions here. That is that staff response to comments can be completed within the two week period following June 15th. We're unaware of any new directions that might be coming to us during those comments from the National Trust. We're also assuming that we will have the four separate amendments for your consideration. Ms.Sellman noted that what she needed from the Common members was a decision as to whether those dates would work (August 15th and August 22nd); whether or not the locations seemed good; if the facilitator is desired; and any other details that you want to cover.
Mr. Camp noted that Ms. Sellman laid out the schedule options well. He asked the members in attendance what thoughts they might have regarding Ms.Sellman's comments. Mr. Cook noted that on July 25th the Planning Commission takes action on all four plan amendments and he assumed that actually means that they take action on just what they want to ecommend. Ms. Sellman explained that they will make a recommendation on each of the four amendments. That recommendation may be for approval or denial.
Mr. Cook asked if the Planning Commission couldn't make a recommendation for approval on more than one east beltway location...or could they? Ms. Sellman noted that it is possible that they could. Mr. Cook asked then, if that would be an indication that the Planning Commission liked two or more [proposed routes] well enough that they did not want to make a decision, but would ask the Common Members make that decision. Ms. Sellman noted that was correct and the Common could be considering more than one route option.
Mr. Cook asked how that would affect the action that the Common Members would be taking. He noted that when Planning Commission makes a recommendation for a Comp Plan amendment, the City Council is somewhat constrained in changing that recommendation. He stated that he did not know if the County Board felt that same constraint, but if the Planning Commission recommends one of the beltway choices, then in order for us to make a different recommendation, we need five votes. If they recommend multiple choices as acceptable, then we just pick one with four votes. Ms. Sellman explained that the Planning Department was in the process of working with both the County and City Attorneys' offices to get some kind of definite schedule of how things work on this because of the possibility of the unique circumstance of having more than one option. We will get that information to you just as soon as it is put together. There are many things to consider and we're making sure that we look at everything so that nothing "pops up" at the last minute.
Mr. Cook thought it seemed odd for the Planning Commission to potentially recommend multiple courses of action...that seems out of line with what they normally do on any project. Ms. Sellman indicated that she was not saying that they would, but she felt it was not impossible.
Mr. Cook observed that when it comes to the hearings, there is no separation between the Draft Environmental Impact Statement public hearing and just a public hearing on the project. He asked if those were just being combined under this process. Ms. Sellman reported that, under Federal regulations, there is no need to take action on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement at the local level. Those requirements are well on the way to being met through the process that has been designed and implemented by the Public Works Department, our partners at the State and Federal level and our consultants - HWS.
Mr. Cook asked about the closing date for public comments on DEIS, which is June 15th, noting that, then basically, that comment period is on-going now and there is no formal hearing of any kind as there was with Antelope Valley. Ms. Sellman stated that there have been two hearings and they have already occurred. Mr. Cook stated that those meetings did not involve elected officials. Ms. Sellman stated that they did not. Mr. Cook asked if, though, the elected officials would see all of the comments that went into those meetings. Ms. Sellman indicated that that was correct.
Mr. Cook asked if someone has comments or concerns after the June 15th deadline, it would be too late? Ms. Sellman stated that this is the time period, now through June 15th, for any comments or concerns on the Environmental Document to be submitted through that process. Mr. Cook noted that people will probably still have comments at that time. Ms. Sellman stated that the process will be closed on June 15th, noting that it has already been extended an additional 37-45 days. If anybody has concerns on the environmental documents or questions as to whether or not the Federal regulations have been met, this is the time for that comment, written or oral, to come forward.
It was noted that August 15th and August 22nd the Council and County Board would be setting together, but taking action as separate bodies. Discussion on whether or not to take action the same night as testimony is received ended in the decision that the answer would be determined at a later date, after the new City Council Members had been updated on the issues.
The structured time of the meetings were discussed regarding procedures that, with the facilitator, would expedite testimony. The facilitator concept, which had been implemented during the Stevens Creek process, was agreed upon and the firm, Heartland Center, was agreed upon. It was determined that both the County and City Clerk would be in attendance to handle the meetings in the usual manner with the exception that the facilitator would be presiding in the Clerk's role in the calling for testimony and timing the speakers' allotted time. The proposed times and locations were also approved and Ms. Sellman indicated that she would be working with the County and City Clerks to work out the meeting details.
Comprehensive Plan Update
Mr. Kent Morgan came forward to make a presentation, which he abbreviated in the interest of a timely adjournment. He passed out materials and reviewed that material for the Common Members. [Copies of the material are on file in the office of the City Council]. The areas of concern that Mr. Morgan reviewed for the Common members covered the areas of Urbanization,(Change in land use that efficiently accommodates increased density of urban activities while preserving areas for less intense use and enhancement of natural areas and historic sites); Natural and Cultural Resources; Agriculture; Residential; Commercial; Parks and Recreation; Industrial; Community Facilities; Transportation and Utilities.
Mr. Morgan requested the several members of the Stevens Creek Task Force who were in attendance at todays meeting to introduce themselves: Marleen Rickertsen, Walt Bagley, Estel Schroeder, Hugh Bullock, Ann Bleed, Kip Hulvershorn, Richard McGinnis.
Mr. Morgan noted that it was a 17 member committee of people who worked very diligently for a seven to eight month period meeting nearly twice a month. The Task Force Members suggested that if any Common member had questions to please feel free to contact any one of the Task Force Members for input or clarification on any of the related issues.
Ms. Campbell noted that after looking through the plan, she felt that, on behalf of those elected officials who had pushed for this effort, she wanted to say that she was very pleased with the results presented here. She hoped that everyone would go back time-and-again to the manual that has come out of all of the research and data gathering. She felt there was a great deal of material in the report that can be used and should be incorporated into the Comprehensive Plan.
She said that she was very much impressed with the commitment of everyone on the Task Force that enabled them to come together to find that single vision. She noted that it would be very difficult when dealing with an area that large, and with the number of the people who worked on this project. She said that her husband had indicated that one of the most energizing aspects of serving on the group was that everyone with different viewpoints worked together to come to that single vision. The Task Force Members are to be commended, because that was not easy.
Mr. Heier indicated that this was something that has been around and has been discussed for over fifty years. He commended the Task Force for having the intestinal fortitude to go ahead and do something about it, rather than just putting the issue on the back burner and letting it sit there and not do anything about it. He stated that his `hat was off' to the Task Force Members.
Ms. Steinman noted that one of the reasons the County Board had pushed the project as a group was because of the problems that have been encountered in some of the other Planning Decisions which arose because planning came after the fact - after development had already come in. She noted that in an area like this with the Basin and such a potential for flooding, or losing what was important in the Basin - she was really glad that a lot of foresight had gone into this plan.
One of the Task Force members commented that this was a comprehensive process. The Plan does integrate a lot of different elements with one thing hinging on the other. Because of that, she would ask that, if in the process of the Comprehensive Plan, decisions are made to make changes to the guidelines which the Task Force has put forward, that the Committee would be called back to at least give comments on those changes. These are jig-saw puzzle pieces that fit together and changing one does affect the others.
Ms. Seng noted that the area under consideration is not quite as large as the City of Lincoln's current area, but that it is comparable. She noted that if this kind of planning had been done way back when...Lincoln wouldn't have grown topsy-turvy, as most cities have, up until the Comprehensive Plan was initiated...not all that long ago. Think how much better this area will be than the City of Lincoln because of this planning effort. The Common members thought this loomed as a great boon for the future of Lincoln's growth.
Mr. Morgan stated that he encouraged all of the Common members to review the handout materials. Ms. Sellman added that she would like to thank the Planning Staff, under Kent Morgan's leadership, for getting the City through this to a successful conclusion.
Mr. Morgan reported that they are going through a one year process on the Comp Plan Amendment. He asked the Comprehensive Plan Committee members who were in attendance to introduce themselves: Debby Brehm, Cecil Steward, John Ludden, Marva Wasser, Eleanor Francke, Rick Krueger. Mr. Morgan noted that there had been a membership committee set up to work on this.
He explained that it was a one year process and they were working on the plan. They're going through a series of planning concepts on which there have been community workshops. They're trying to come up with alternative futures. We're hoping to have those available by June...probably within the next couple of weeks. We'll have the Planning Committee make a decision on those in June and we'll continue to refine and do analysis on them. Our hope is that we will be able to refine those and they will be able to narrow the land use options in September to one or two.
You'll notice the June/July time frame. July would be for the Planning Commission on the Beltway then City Council/County Board in August. Our hope would be that that decision would be in place by the time the Committee is really in the position to have narrowed those land uses. That's part of the juxtaposition between what your doing and what the Committee is doing. If it's in place when the deliberations on the Long Range Transportation Plan begin, we'll have that and won't have to go through that decision process then.
The expectation is that at the end of the year, even though we've lost about a month here because of the extension of the Beltway process, we think we can still get a document out by the beginning of next year. That document would then be available for public comment, and the Common would be asked to review it and take and act upon it in the early part of 2002.
Mr. Morgan stated that there were three things that the Planning Staff would like to confirm:
B. Confirm July 3rd Meeting Date This would be for further information on the Beltway - July 2nd was confirmed. [Done]
C. Add or move September Common Meeting to Tuesday, September 11th - 8:30 a.m. [Done]
OLD BUSINESS - None
NEW BUSINESS - Ms. Johnson announced that this was her last Common Meeting and, also speaking on behalf of Jeff and Jerry, wanted to share what a great opportunity it has been working with all of the County Board Members. She stated that as the Common moves forward on the many projects you're getting ready to face, we'll be thinking kindly of you. We wish you the best and we will miss you. But, it's been fun.
The Common Members agreed unanimously that Ms. Johnson would also be missed.
Mr. Camp called for a motion to adjourn. Adjournment was moved and seconded by several Common Members. The meeting was adjourned by unanimous consensus at approximately 9:45 a.m.