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LINCOLN -- After more than a year of discussions, input and changes, the city of Lincoln has a new Unified Development Code that will take the place of the Lincoln Land Use Ordinance.

Lincoln City Council unanimously voted to approve the ordinance to adopt a new code on May 19. A copy of the 284-page unified code is attached to the ordinance.

"Congratulations everybody," Mayor Doug Hutchens said following the vote at the virtual meeting held through the Zoom app. He later added, "I thank everybody for all the hard work people put in on this."

Purpose Of Code

The purpose of the unified code is the present and future needs regarding safety, order, convenience, prosperity and the general welfare of the citizens of Lincoln, according to the document.

The code supports the following elements:

• Efficiency and economy in the process of development.

• Appropriate and best use of land.

• Convenience of traffic and circulation of people and goods.

• Safety from fire and other dangers.

• Adequate light and air in the use and occupancy of buildings.

• Healthful and convenient distribution of population.

• Good civic design and arrangement.

• Adequate public utilities and facilities.

• Informed and efficient expenditure of funds.

The unified code has eight broad articles and under each article are sections dealing with different subjects that apply to that area. The articles include general; universal applications; administration and enforcement; landscaping, screens, fencing and buffering; subdivision and development regulations; flood damage prevention code; and definitions.

Preparing For Growth

City Council member Terry Bryson, chairman of Lincoln Planning Commission, said the new unified code is a "major improvement" and will provide information related to development all in one document.

In all, the unified code is replacing the Land Use Plan, Subdivision and Site Ordinances and 33 chapters or sections from the codified code.

Bryson said officials looked at development codes from surrounding cities and adapted those to fit Lincoln's needs.

"The main thing is we modernized the code and got rid of a lot of vague phrasing," Bryson said. "It's going to do us a lot of good."

Bryson said a lot of work has gone into the code from city staff, the Planning Commission, City Attorney Steve Zega and council members. The city also contracted with Garver engineering firm in Fayetteville for assistance in creating a unified development code.

Work started around the first of January 2019. A draft ordinance was forwarded to the City Council in January (2020) for additional comments and changes.

Bryson, noting that new houses are being built in Lincoln, said the new code will help prepare Lincoln for growth in the city.

"This will give clarification to a lot of areas and take us into the future," he added.

Juliet Richey, an urban planner with Garver who has worked with the city on the project, said one of the goals of a unified code was to make development easier for city staff and the public.

"It's been complicated for developers and complicated for the staff to look up all the ordinances," Richey said. "This makes it simpler."

Richey worked with the city on a new vision plan in 2018 and the next step, Richey said, was to make sure development codes would allow the vision plan to happen.

Bryson said there may be a "little bit of a learning curve" to get people used to using the code but he doesn't think it will take long.

Hutchens also reminded those at the council meeting that the unified code is a "living document" and will be fine-tuned as needed.

Other Action

In addition to approving the Unified Development Code, the council also approved two other ordinances related to the new unified code: an ordinance to amend the Future Land Use Plan and an ordinance adopting new land use zones and a new digital zoning map.

The new Unified Development Code will be available for the public to read through E-code on the city's website.

General News on 06/03/2020

Print Headline: Lincoln Adopts New Development Code

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