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November 13, 2010


How does your city grow? Chamber comes out against “compact growth” option

by Deena Winter

It’s official: The Lincoln Chamber of Commerce has come out against one of the three growth scenarios being considered by the city as it updates its comprehensive plan.
Assuming the county will grow by 126,000 people by 2040, with 90 percent of those people settling in Lincoln, the comprehensive plan (which the city has dubbed LPlan2040) will direct and guide that growth.
The city has proposed three alternatives to deal with the 47,500 new housing units that would be necessary to house those people, including one that envisions “compact growth” — where the city would offer incentives to see that more growth occurs within the current city limits. Under this alternative, one-third of new housing would be built within the city limits, and two-thirds outside. Half of the new housing would be single family homes and half apartments and condos. This would be the cheapest option for the city, with the infrastructure cost estimated at $851 million.
It’s also the option being opposed by the chamber. (scenario_C)
The other two alternatives are:
• Stevens Creek growth — 96 percent of housing would be built at the edge of the city, mostly in the Stevens Creek watershed and south of Lincoln. Infrastructure cost: $1.1 billion.
• Multi-directional growth — 96 percent of housing would be built at the city edges, in all directions. Cost to city: $1.34 billion.
The Chamber of Commerce recently issued a statement expressing “fear that attempts to constrain the growth of the city will only make it more difficult to accomplish projects like (Verizon and Perot) in the future.” The chamber said the city should follow “the most optimistic models for growth” and “opposes the adoption of any of the extremely constrained assumptions made in growth scenario C (the compact growth scenario).”
The chamber said it could support a revised scenario that generally encompasses the Stevens Creek scenario, but that also allows the areas along Highway 77 in southwest Lincoln to remain in the Tier 1 and Tier 2 land use map.
This should be an interesting debate — and litmus test for Mayor Chris Beutler, who has governed more like a Republican, with a pro-growth attitude determined to end the city's anti-business reputation. This is the guy, after all, who built a $2 million Development Services Center on the second floor of city hall, with the goal of making planning and permitting more user-friendly.
To learn more about the proposals and process, go to the city Web site on

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. scottw
    Nov 13 2010

    Did they remove the poll from the lplan2040 website? The compact scenario was winning by a large margin when I last looked but I can’t seem to find the poll results now.

  2. Nov 14 2010

    ScottW — (who is not my husband, BTW) I couldn’t find it either… so maybe they did remove it. (?)

  3. Nov 15 2010

    Scott W. and Others,
    The poll to which you referred was conducted by MindMixer at You can view the results by going to the website and selecting “Future Growth Scenarios”. The vote scores are listed to the right of each Scenario title and there are also links to an overview and the Analysis Report developed by staff. If you click on the scenario titles you can read a description and open pdf copies of the maps. Voting Results: Scenario A – 32 pts, Scenario B – 36 pts, Scenario C – 198 pts.
    There are also many comments that were entered into the comment board at

    Sara Hartzell, Planner
    Lincoln/Lancaster County Planning Dept.


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