NEBRASKA CITY – The Otoe County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved a resolution declaring a section of North 56th Road a residential district, reducing the speed limit to 25 miles per hour.
The section includes the area of roadway between County Road I and Highway 2. The decision came after Mainelli Wagner & Associates, Inc. professional engineer and President Mark Mainelli of Lincoln gave a report including traffic counts, accident records and speed settings for the area.
"My opinion is that this meets the criteria of a residential district," said Mainelli, who suggested to commissioners that a vehicle weight limit be determined for the area in order to maintain the road.
He said a road has a 20-year life cycle and that heavy trucks and equipment have left the road in rough shape.
"I will say that ag trucks are the worst for our pavement," he said.
To repair the road, he estimated that it would cost about $150,000 to install a 4-inch asphalt overlay on the road.
"If you do nothing, you've got to get the trucks off of there or this thing isn't going to last for very much longer," Mainelli said.
To maintain the road, the county commissioners approved to restrict traffic to a 30,000-pound gross weight limit, and also asked Mainelli to get a proposal for a 4-inch asphalt overlay.
Otoe County surveyor and zoning administrator David Schmitz discussed his request to revamp the county's comprehensive zoning plan. Schmitz said that Nebraska Legislative Bill 996 requires the comprehensive plan include an "energy element" - solar and wind energy and biodiesel firms.
Schmitz said the Legislature's deadline to get the comprehensive plan updated is Jan. 1, 2015.
Schmitz wrote letters to five different consulting firms asking them to revise the county's zoning comprehensive plan. Three out of the five responded.
"We hoped to get more people to bid," he said.
Schmitz tried to get a consulting firm to do the work between $25,000 to $50,000.
Schmitz said Marvin Planning Consultants of David City are considering teaming up with Olsson Associates of Lincoln to do the work, and agreed to do it for about $35,000.
The commissioners invited Schmitz and Marvin Planning Consultants representatives to the Aug. 12 meeting to discuss the proposal further.
In other business, Nebraska City Area Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Stephanie Shrader talked about the impact that NioCorp Developments' niobium mine will have to Otoe County. The new mine, which will be located near Elk Creek in Johnson County, is about 30 miles from Syracuse.
"I think what we can expect to see in Otoe County with the mine coming to fruition is increased traffic on Highway 50 and Highway 2 both ways to Nebraska City and to Lincoln. I think we can expect to see pressure put on the housing market as workers are looking for housing. I think Syracuse and everyone along Highway 50 is going to feel an impact especially from the 30-mile radius," Shrader said. "As that comes to fruition, I think we're going to see a nice influx."
She also announced that NCAEDC and Otoe County representatives received an invitation to attend the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisc., from Sept. 30 through Oct. 4, and to the World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif., in February 2015.
"If we knew of someone wanting a dairy operation in Otoe County, then we would look at attending the event," she said.
If anyone is interested in starting a dairy operation, contact Shrader at 873-4293.