A zoning change near downtown to accommodate more of the Wayne State College students who will be finishing up their senior year in Norfolk as part of the Growing Together initiative was approved by the Norfolk City Council on Monday evening.
Following a public hearing, the council voted 7-0 to change zoning from C-1 (Local Business District), to R-3 (Multiple Family Residential District) on property located at the northeast corner of Phillip Avenue and Fifth Street. The area previously was used by Courtesy Ford and includes the parking area to the south.
Altogether, the Norfolk City Council considered several items of business during its meeting Monday that — if they all get approved all the way through the process — will add more than 200 housing units to Norfolk’s housing stock.
This particular zoning change request came from Elkhorn Valley Community Development Corp., which is doing business as NeighborWorks Northeast Nebraska.
Val Grimes, city planner, said the change is needed so that an apartment building can be built. There were concerns raised about it when it was considered by the Norfolk Planning Commission, which were mostly about parking and a church to the east that was interested in acquiring the property, she said.
Nobody spoke in opposition on Monday evening.
Kelby Herman of Progressive Builders said he is working with NeighborWorks on the project to provide for up to 30 units. It is being put in place in conjunction with the Growing Together initiative at Wayne State, he said.
“The architect has done a good job of trying to blend the building in with the neighboring structures downtown,” Herman said.
The council did ask Herman about parking.
Herman said there would be sufficient parking on the lot that would be six stalls short of building code. There also is an agreement with Midtown Health to use its parking lot, just to the north, he said.
There also will be parking off the alley between the old Courtesy Ford building and the new building. There will be about 17 stalls to the north, and the rest will be to the south between the building and Phillip Avenue, Herman said.
The apartment building will feature two- and three-bedroom units. The majority will be for student housing, up to 45 bedrooms for students. Up to 15 bedrooms or about seven units will be open to the public, he said.
Herman said there also has been discussion about having the housing open to some of the internships with Midtown Health. The facility is interested in that relationship as it could provide convenient housing close to its operations, he said.
Originally, Midtown Health Center had purchased the entire former Courtesy Ford property, then came to NeighborWorks and put the partnership together to develop the housing, Herman said.
The projected timeline is to start construction in the spring, with phase one competed in the fall of 2024 and the second phase completed in 2025, Herman said.
After the meeting, the pastor of the church did voice his support for the project and desire to welcome the students to the neighborhood, Herman said.
Mayor Josh Moenning thanked him for the investment in Norfolk and the council voted to approve all three readings of the ordinance to change zoning.
The Norfolk City Council met Monday evening at the council chambers.
Council members present: Mayor Josh Moenning, council president Rob Merrill, Kory Hildebrand, Gary L. Jackson, Corey Granquist, Frank Arens, Andrew McCarthy and Thad Murren.
Council member absent: Shane Clausen.
Meeting lasted: 1 hours 35 minutes, including a 5:15 p.m. meeting of the Community Development Agency.
Others in attendance: City staff, about 10; media representatives, three; and about 15 from the public.
— Approved the mayor's appointment of Ben Collins to the Norfolk Public Art Council for a three-year term ending November 2025.
— Approved a resolution to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day as an official city holiday, to be observed on the third Monday of January every year, in accordance with the rules contained in city's personnel manual.
— Approved an agreement with the American Cancer Society, doing business as Norfolk Area Relay for Life, allowing the use of Ta-Ha-Zouka Park to hold a Norfolk Area Relay for Life event including but not limited to live music performances, ceremonies, vending of food and other items, walking and a silent auction on Friday, June 2.
— Approved an agreement with Lutheran High School Association of Northeast Nebraska to allow the use of city streets to hold a 5K Turkey Trot run on Thursday, Nov. 24.
— Approved an agreement with Downtown Norfolk Association, to hold a Hometown Holiday Festival in downtown Norfolk on Tuesday, Nov. 22, (with a rain/snow date of Nov. 29) from 4:30 to 9 p.m., including horse-drawn carriage rides, tractor-pulled hayrack rides, live reindeer display, live Nativity scene and small campfires in self-contained steel firepits.
— Approved an agreement with Northeast Nebraska All-Star Football Classic, allowing the use of Memorial Field in Veterans Memorial Park to hold an all-star classic football game on Saturday, June 10, 2023.
— Approved a special designated liquor license for Elkhorn Valley Museum to serve beer and wine at 515 Queen City Blvd. on Sunday, Dec. 11, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. for a beer and wine tasting event.
— Approved a special designated liquor license for Taylormade Catering, doing business as White House Reception Hall, to serve beer, wine and distilled spirits at Our Savior Lutheran Church, 2420 W. Omaha Ave., on Friday, Jan. 13, 2023, from 4:30 p.m. to midnight for a fundraising event.
— Approved a special designated liquor license for Bar A to serve beer, wine and distilled spirits at Lot 279, 400 W. Monroe Ave., on Thursday, Dec. 8, from 11 a.m. to midnight for an open house.
— Approved advertising for bids for one terminal tractor, also known as a “spotter truck,” for the Norfolk Transfer Station.
— Approved advertising for bids for replacement of the octopus water feature at AquaVenture Waterpark.
— Approved all bills on file.
A check for $3,163 was presented from Mark Hall, the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District director, for the Seventh Street beautification project. Nate Powell, Norfolk parks director, accepted on behalf of the city.
PUBLIC HEARINGS AND RELATED ACTION
— Conducted a public hearing and met as a board of equalization to hear and equalize special assessments for Water Extension District 127 (Channel Road). Then reconvened as the council and approved all three readings of a related ordinance levying special assessments in the district. The assessment for five property owners covers up to 20 years, with a discount if paid within 50 days.
— Conducted a public hearing to consider a request from Elkhorn Valley Community Development Corp., doing business as NeighborWorks Northeast Nebraska, and approved a zoning change from C-1 (Local Business District), to R-3 (Multiple Family Residential District) on property located at the northeast corner of Phillip Avenue and Fifth Street. The council then voted to approve all three readings of a related ordinance approving the zoning change.
— Approved the first reading of an ordinance to amend sections of the city code to prohibit the removal of city corridor trees funded or planted by the city without prior written approval from the city and to allow planting a tree closer than 5 feet to the back of a curb on certain residential streets. Hildebrand cast the only negative vote. The ordinance must be passed on three readings to take effect.
— Approved the purchase a Bobcat track loader/skid steer from Bobcat of Norfolk with the Nebraska state contract discount for the amount of $61,687, for use by the parks division. Hildebrand cast the only negative vote.
— Approved a change order and certificate of substantial completion with Elkhorn Paving Co. for the Highway 275 undercrossing project resulting in a net increase of $7,250.
— Approved a change order with Bauer Underground for the Benjamin Avenue overhead to underground utility relocation project, resulting in a net decrease of $8,940.
— Approved of an agreement for engineering, consulting and related services for 60% design and pre-permitting of proposed improvements with HDR Engineering for the levee certification — Phase III — a project for an amount not to exceed $509,480.
— Approved an agreement for professional engineering services with JEO Consulting Group for the 2023 bridge inspections for a total of $7,000. There are 19 bridges to be inspected within the city limits.
— Approved the first reading of an ordinance annexing a tract of land generally located southeast of the intersection of East Benjamin Avenue and North Victory Road.
— Approved all three readings of an ordinance to amend code to restrict parking on the east side of North Cottonwood Street from East Norfolk Avenue to East Prospect Avenue, and on the south side of East Prospect Avenue from North First Street to North Cottonwood Street. This is a temporary measure.
— Approved a resolution adding stop signs to control the following locations: East and westbound traffic at the intersection of North Cottonwood Street and East Nebraska Avenue, westbound traffic at the intersection of North Cottonwood Street and East Braasch Avenue. This is a temporary measure.