Annexation changes clear first round

First class cities in Nebraska would have greater authority to annex nearby land under a bill advanced from general file March 30.

<a href='http://news.legislature.ne.gov/dist03' target='_blank' title='Link to the website of Sen. Carol Blood'>Sen. Carol Blood</a>
Sen. Carol Blood

For annexation purposes, LB9, as introduced by Bellevue Sen. Carol Blood, would deem land, lots, tracts, streets and highways as contiguous to a first class city even if areas owned by the federal government or a natural resources district is located between potentially annexed land and a city’s corporate limits.

The bill also would allow for a special valuation of agricultural or horticultural land within the boundaries of a city or village if the land is subject to air installation compatible-use zone regulations or is within a flood plain.

Federally owned Offutt Air Force Base prevents Bellevue from expanding southward, Blood said, and other borders — such as those with the city of Omaha and the state of Iowa — prevent the city from growing in other directions.

“Bellevue’s future growth and expansion can only occur to the south of the base,” she said. “We don’t have what Papillion has … we don’t have what La Vista has, because they can continue to grow.”

An Urban Affairs Committee amendment would limit LB9 to first class cities located in counties with at least three first class cities and would remove natural resources districts from the bill. The amendment, adopted 38-0, also would prohibit annexation that changes electrical service without the approval of the electrical utility serving the potentially annexed area.

Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha said the amendment was tailored to Sarpy County.

“[This will] make sure different parts of our state can grow the way they need to grow and have the tools that they need to develop their area,” he said.

Lawmakers advanced LB9 to select file on a 42-0 vote.

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