Olde Towne Bellevue association agitated by austere designation, say ambassador has battle of interest
Undeveloped acreage south of West 16th Access amid Jefferson and Franklin Streets in Bellevue. A developer hopes to anatomy boondocks houses on the land, and approved the austere appellation in an accomplishment to accept tax-increment financing. Ambassador Rusty Hike, who casting the tiebreaking vote on the designation, awash the acreage beforehand this year.
A assurance hints at a accessible zoning change for the property. Bellevue Ambassador Rusty Hike, a longtime apostle of developing the Olde Towne area, denies any battle of interest.
Diane Leiker never anticipation that her quiet adjacency of modest, apple-pie homes in Bellevue’s Olde Towne would anytime be advised blighted. But that is the exact chat the Burghal Council, at the appeal of a developer gluttonous to anatomy new boondocks houses, has absorbed to several backdrop in the area.
Further exacerbating frustrations from Leiker and abounding neighbors is what they appearance as a battle of absorption by Bellevue Ambassador Rusty Hike, who casting the tiebreaking vote anecdotic the acreage as blighted. Hike, a longtime apostle of developing the Olde Towne area, denies any battle and says the approaching development would account all of Bellevue.
The Burghal Board was breach at its Oct. 19 affair on whether to acknowledge several backdrop in Leiker’s adjacency austere and substandard, a appellation that was brought to the board for application by Mercury Acreage Management.
Mercury hopes to anatomy 10 boondocks houses on abortive acreage south of West 16th Access amid Jefferson and Franklin Streets. The aggregation approved a austere appellation for its own acreage and added than a dozen lots to the south — best of which accept absolute homes on them — in an accomplishment to accept tax-increment financing, a tax allurement meant to activation redevelopment in areas accounted blighted.
Councilmen Bob Stinson, Don Preister and Thomas Burns voted adjoin the proposal. Board associates Kathy Welch, Jerry McCaw and Paul Cook voted for it, and Hike, as mayor, bankrupt the tie by voting in favor of the designation.
The mayor’s accommodation to vote on the amount troubles some in the neighborhood, who point to Hike’s contempo affairs of the acreage slated to be developed.
In March, Hike and a business accomplice awash the acreage to Jeffry Gehring of Mercury for $100,000, a tax certificate shows.
Hike and his accomplice bought the lot from Lumax Backdrop LLC for $800 in 2016, according to the Sarpy County assessor’s website. Lumax was deeded the acreage from the burghal in 2013 for free.
“I am so frustrated,” Leiker said. “I anticipate the chief vote should never accept been fabricated by Rusty Hike. He awash that property, and now he’s voting on it. I don’t anticipate that’s right.”
Complaints centered on the planned annihilation of three best residential structures to accomplish way for what opponents declared as a high-rent and characterless building.
Conflict of absorption accoutrement in the Nebraska Political Accountability and Disclosure Act accompaniment that accessible admiral can’t accept a banking absorption in affairs with their administering body.
But Hike contends that already he awash the land, he no best had a banking absorption in its development.
“I’m consistently actual accurate with that,” said Hike, a above Sarpy County Board affiliate who was adopted ambassador in 2018. “As mayor, I’m not action to capitalize on article to accomplish money for myself. I accept my own projects, but if I’m anytime in a conflict, I’m consistently action to battle out (recuse).”
It’s accessible that his company, Hike Absolute Estate, will accept a allotment in affairs the boondocks houses afterwards they’re built, but, Hike said, that’s a achievability for all absolute acreage agents in the area.
“There’s no banking accretion on my allotment at all,” he said. “All my agents in my appointment are absolute contractors. Now, if one of my agents does advertise one of the backdrop someday, I can’t say they wouldn’t get paid for it, but that would go for any absolute acreage aggregation as well.”
The Omaha Planning Board gave a blooming ablaze to an $8.1 actor TIF appeal for the $54 actor “innovation hub” action that’s allotment of the UNMC campus expansion.
When Hike and his accomplice bought the acreage in 2016, they additionally looked to anatomy boondocks houses there. But Hike said their preemptive plan was “nothing abreast the development Mercury is doing.”
“Blighting and TIF, that’s annihilation my accomplice and I had in mind,” he said. “They’re demography their action a footfall further. They’re putting apparently alert as abounding amount on that lot than what we had planned.”
Hike and his accomplice did put a bit of time and money into affairs for a three-town-house development on the property, he said. They advised architecture the boondocks houses on the property’s accomplished point, overlooking the abounding breadth below.
The accommodation to bead the action and advertise the acreage was a amount of prioritizing added projects, Hike said, including the advance of an Olde Towne bar.
Despite the ample aberration amid his acquirement amount and auction price, Hike said the acreage wasn’t awash for added than it’s worth.
“We got a acceptable buy on it back we bought it,” he said.
Habitat’s angle calls for about 85 single-family houses to be congenital on added than 15 acreage of acreage abreast Sorensen Parkway and 51st Street at the armpit of the above Wintergreen Apartments.
Speaking about and not accurately on Hike’s vote, Frank Daley, controlling administrator of the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission, said a ambassador or burghal board affiliate has a battle of absorption if they are faced with a accommodation that could aftereffect in a banking account or damage to the official, a affiliate of his or her actual ancestors or a business with which they are associated.
The banking account or damage charge be audible from that accomplished by the accepted accessible and charge be analytic foreseeable, Daley said.
Hike said he has fabricated no official or exact agreements with anyone apropos the acreage above the auction of the land.
“If I had an acceding with Mercury, that would be a battle of interest,” Hike said. “If I’m authoritative money, or I’m demography burghal money for something, that would be a battle on absorption for me, and I accept conflicted out on those instances.”
Each abode would be about 1,500 aboveboard anxiety and accept its own accouter and barn with two stalls.
Gehring, of Mercury, said he was blind that Hike co-owned the acreage back he began the action of affairs the land.
“Later, as I got complex in it, I begin that out, but this is a absolutely abstracted project,” he said. “Mayor Hike had annihilation to do with this, but he’s of advance actual aflame about it, and he absolutely wants to see Olde Towne revitalized.”
From a moral, if not legal, standpoint, Hike should be cellophane about any access to the developers and antecedent affairs of the property, said Jack Gould of the babysitter accumulation Common Cause Nebraska.
“In best cases, the atonement affair is to not vote,” he said.
Projected to accessible in January 2023, the Astro Theater will be able to host 2,500 bodies central and 5,000 bodies outside.
Hike’s antecedent affairs of the acreage was not mentioned back several association members, including Leiker, batten in action to the abominable and austere appellation and the abeyant boondocks abode development at the Oct. 19 board meeting.
They accurate affair about the access in cartage the development would acceptable bring, and how allowance copse from the heavily abounding breadth would affect the neighborhood’s abounding wildlife. Abounding additionally lamented the characterization of their acreage as austere and substandard, a designation, they said, that may advice the developers but wouldn’t be benign for adjacency residents.
“Blighted” and “substandard” are adverse agreement for an bread-and-butter development tool, said Jeff Ray of JEO Consulting, the aggregation assassin by Mercury to conduct the abominable and austere abstraction that was presented to the Burghal Council.
It’s a appellation adjacency citizen Connie Golden took affair with as well.
“I apperceive they’re aloof terms, but no one has accustomed me an acknowledgment of how continued that lasts,” Golden told the Burghal Council. “If they anatomy these (town houses), will these be austere and abominable forever, or is it a appellation that can be taken away? Because we don’t appetite that blind over our heads.”
Connor Lund, baton of the development team, expects the amount of a accomplished address in the O’Keefe Elevator architecture to be amid $800,000 and $1 million.
Bellevue Burghal Attorney Bree Robbins said that as accompaniment law is currently written, the appellation austere and abominable does not go abroad afterwards redevelopment.
“There is no access in the Nebraska statutes that un-blights something,” Robbins said. “That is article that we can absolutely accept conversations with our accompaniment administrator about.”
Ray listed several belief acclimated to actuate whether the breadth would accreditation a austere and abominable designation.
Poor arising in the area, an aberrant appearance and admeasurement of lot layouts, continued driveways, a abridgement of sidewalks, and houses congenital added than 40 years ago were a few listed.
The 1120 Lofts, abreast 20th and Paul Streets, is advised to be three belief with 30 rental units, all with three or four bedrooms.
Hike, whose attack belvedere included redeveloping Olde Towne, said he sees the appellation as an important apparatus to accompany new action and bread-and-butter development to Bellevue.
“It’s aloof allotment of the bigger account for redeveloping,” he said. “The admiral and the accessible accept capital things to appear in Bellevue, and things are happening. What’s demography abode appropriate now is all acceptable and all in the absorption of Olde Towne Bellevue.”
Hike fabricated the aforementioned point while debating with Councilman Burns afterwards the Oct. 19 accessible hearing.
Burns argued that not one adjacency citizen has advocated for the development.
“I apperceive we’re not talking about (the development) tonight, and it’s afterwards in the process, but all those neighbors additionally accept declared they don’t appetite the development,” Burns said. “We’re banishment a appellation that we can’t change, that all those neighbors accept said they don’t want.”
An Omaha landmark, the above covering accumulation architecture at 714 S. 15th St., has been angry into bristles abreast homes covered with the aboriginal 1910 brick bark and added best features.
Hike responded that the appellation and abeyant development would be “for the advancement of the absolute city.”
“As this body, we’re apery this absolute city, so whatever happens beyond boondocks we accept to acknowledgment the aforementioned way that we acknowledgment here,” Hike said at the time. “Bellevue has a lot of floodplains in this burghal we don’t aggregate taxes on, a lot of aggressive acreage we don’t aggregate taxes on. You ask why your taxes are high; it’s because we don’t accept the able development in this town.”
A few neighbors contacted Burns afterwards the board meeting. One, he said, thanked him for opposing the designation.
“Most are acutely frustrated, and I anticipate that’s array of an understatement,” Burns said.
Burns has additionally heard from neighbors who aggregate their affair that Hike was the one to breach the tie.
“I apperceive there are a lot of those neighbors who are afraid that there ability be a accessible banking accretion bottomward the road,” Burns said. “I don’t apperceive if that’s true, but I apperceive that the neighbors didn’t appetite the designation, and it’s my job as their adumbrative to apostle for their neighborhood.”
Housing is a ascendant disciplinarian of architecture in burghal Omaha, historically the abject for administration food and accumulated employers. The achievement is that the activity additionally reignites the burghal job market.
Residents aural 300 anxiety of the abeyant development were afresh beatific a letter advice them of a rezoning appeal for the acreage that will appear afore the Bellevue Planning Commission. The letter included a armpit plan that depicts 10 boondocks houses south of 16th Access and west of Franklin Street.
Gehring contends that the boondocks houses and abeyant TIF, which has not yet been formally requested, will be acceptable for the area.
“This is a weed- and tree-infested breadth that can be afflicted into actual nice condos, and on top of this, we’re action to be accomplishing some breadth development,” he said. “They’ll get some sidewalks they don’t currently have, some curbs. We’re action to see if we can fix the baptize burden issues they have. There may be alike added on the table if we get TIF.”
Under TIF, the developer takes out a accommodation to advice awning acceptable redevelopment costs — about aspects of a action that account the public, such as roads. The accommodation is repaid by the added acreage taxes that are generated on the new development.
A $220 actor plan calls for a cogent advance and amplification of Horsemen’s Park, and developers are gluttonous $17.5 actor in tax incentives to accompany the action over the accomplishment line.
Mercury aims to advertise the boondocks houses for beneath than $300,000, Gehring said.
The average auction amount for homes in Bellevue, according to absolute acreage close Redfin, is $245,000.
“This is additionally action to accommodate apartment to people,” Gehring said. “In the homebuilding industry appropriate now, I can’t anatomy you annihilation for beneath $400,000.”
Approval of the appellation was the aboriginal footfall in affective the development forward. The abutting footfall will be a rezoning request, which is appointed to appear afore the Planning Commission on Thursday.
Updated 2 hrs ago
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