County board lends support to Highway 75 expansion plan

Julie Rach

For economic development and future traffic use in the event of river flooding, Highway 75 needs to expand to four lanes through Otoe County.

The Otoe County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday, April 28, to sign a letter of support for a highway expansion plan that could extend to the Kansas state line, if funding can be procured.

Dan Mauk, executive director of the Nebraska City Area Economic Development Corp., has been working with Cass and Nemaha counties about infrastructure expansion.

“I think Dan’s completely right,” said Commissioner James Parsons. “We’re fortunate that 75 held up as well as it did [with 2019 post-flood traffic] but I don’t think it will do it again.”

Board members also approved a resolution to authorize regulations for the prevention of communicable diseases, illness, or poisoning.

The regulations will give the Southeast District Health Department rules to enforce in the event of a disease outbreak, such as the current COVID-19 emergency.

Commissioners approved a conditional use permit for a new cell phone tower at 1841 S. 66th Rd., Peru.

The tower, which will be for AT&T, will stand 356 feet in height when completed.

Tower plans were redesigned after members of the Nebraska City Airport Authority Board expressed concerns with the tower’s previous planned height of 412 feet since its location is near the airport’s landing approach for pilots.

Curt Walter, AT&T agent, said the redesign allowed his company to “keep the same coverage without hazard to the airport.”

Commissioners approved a request from Rev. Michael Schmidt to use the courthouse lawn for a World Day of Prayer observance on May 7.

Commissioners also approved a subdivision plat of the R. Steinhoff Subdivision at 2889 E Rd.

The board also discussed, but took no action on, whether Sand Hills Energy would be allowed to place power lines in the county right of way if the company were unable to obtain easements from property owners for power line placement.

The next regular Otoe County Board of Commissioners meeting is set for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 12.