Zoning ordinance changes advanced

Some municipalities would be required to provide notification to a county board before changing zoning ordinances within their extraterritorial zoning jurisdiction (ETJ) under a bill advanced to select file Feb. 3.

As originally introduced last session by Norfolk Sen. Jim Scheer, LB295 would have required county board approval prior to enforcement of any ordinances, bylaws, rules, regulations or resolutions within a municipalities’ ETJ.

Scheer said the League of Nebraska Municipalities expressed concerns with the original bill regarding the ability of communities to retain authority within an ETJ, but that a compromise had been reached.

“We’ve come with a compromise, which is outlined in the committee amendment, to allow just for a letter of opposition or support [from the county].”

An Urban Affairs Committee amendment, adopted 32-0, replaced the bill.

Under the amendment, a first- or second-class city or village would be required to provide the county board of a county in which the municipalities’ ETJ is located with written notice of—and the opportunity to comment on—proposed zoning ordinance changes within the ETJ.

The bill would not apply to cities or villages located in a county with a population greater than 100,000 or counties in which the city and county have a joint planning commission or joint planning department.

Bellevue Sen. Sue Crawford, chairperson of the committee, said the original bill would have been a “monumental shift in policy,” which was addressed by the committee amendment.

In addition, Crawford said, after LB295 was advanced from committee, city advocates asked that the bill be made clearer regarding municipality authority.

As a result, Crawford offered an amendment that would allow a city to make its final decision either 30 days following notice given to the county or when a county board submits comments or recommendations to the city prior to the expiration of the 30 days.

The amendment was adopted 32-0 and the bill advanced to select file on a 35-0 vote.

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