Lincoln proposes annexation of 445-acre area, but residents don’t want it

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Residents showed up en masse to stand against an annexation by Lincoln.

The City of Lincoln wants to annex a 445-acre area between 70th and 84th Streets and Pine Lake and Yankee Hill Roads.

But some residents of the area testified against the proposal at the city council meeting on Monday.

“There is no emergency to doing this at this time,” Victoria Northrup said. “I think the timing is wrong, and I really question the Planning Department’s thoroughness in researching whether this is ready.”

City Planning Director David Cary said the area is surrounded by city limits already, so this annexation was expected.

“We have 295,000 other residents of Lincoln,” Cary said. “We want to make sure that everybody that is able to benefit from the urban services and the urban nature of living in our city, that everybody is paying their fair share.”

Those in opposition said there are several things that haven’t been properly prepared for the annexation.

The main concern was a lack of fire protection.

Because the area has grassland and trees, residents said they need rural fire departments like Southeast Fire & Rescue to continue to serve them since Lincoln Fire & Rescue doesn’t have the right equipment to stop a wildfire.

Gene Hobelman said LFR’s tanks hold 500 gallons of water, a mere fraction of what a rural tanker can hold.

“I ask you to think about that,” he said. “Southeast Fire has 16,000 gallons. That’s 32 times what a Lincoln Fire Department engine has.”

But LFR Chief Dave Engler said response time could be improved if the area is annexed.

He said it would only take about one to two minutes for units to get to a fire in the area.

“The quicker you get there and the quicker you put water on the fire, the less of a problem you’ve got,” Engler said, but he acknowledged that the proposed annexation area doesn’t have enough hydrants.

He said if a fire got out of control in the area, LFR would have to request help from a rural fire department.

Those against the annexation were more opposed to the timing than anything.

Nearly all of the testifiers agreed that it was bound to happen, but they would like the city to do more planning first.

“You just don’t have things in place to service us,” Robert Northrup said. “If you want our tax money, give us something back. That’s all we’re asking.”

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