Council to consider TIF for annexation

The North Platte City Planning Commission has recommended that the city council annex this plot of land behind businesses that include Dunkin’, Hampton Inn and Fort Cody.

North Platte city officials are being asked to make a site under consideration for annexation near Interstate 80 and U.S. Highway 83 eligible for tax increment financing.

The City Council will be asked Tuesday to refer a proposed “blighted and substandard” declaration for the 35.49-acre tract to the city’s Planning Commission for initial review.

A vote on whether to make that referral will follow the council’s second of three votes on an annexation ordinance. Its second regular meeting of July begins at 7:30 p.m. in the council chamber at City Hall, 211 W. Third St.

Council members gave 5-1 initial approval July 2 to annexing the site at the request of Keenan Management LLC, which bought the property in March.

Keenan’s site lies north and east of the businesses in the main I-80 interchange’s northeast quadrant, including Hampton Inn & Suites, Dunkin’, Oasis Travel Center and the businesses along the East Halligan Drive frontage road.

Company President Pat Keenan said in a July 2 letter to the council that he sees “a bright future for retail and hospitality/leisure development” if Platte Oasis Parkway is extended into the tract.

The council would have the final word both on annexation of the site and its proposed “blighted and substandard” designation. Annexation could be accomplished Aug. 6 if council members grant second-round approval Tuesday.

If the site is declared “blighted and substandard,” it would be eligible for setting aside property taxes generated by growth in the tract’s taxable valuation for up to 15 years to cover developers’ infrastructure costs.

The Planning Commission would hold a public hearing and vote on whether to recommend the designation to the council, which then would hold a hearing of its own. The planning panel next meets July 23.

Soybeans are currently grown on the Keenan site, which also includes an abandoned house and outbuildings, trees, brush and weeds. The South Platte River forms its north boundary, with the Nebraska Public Power District Canal to the east.

The existing structures are deteriorating and can be classified as “poor/worn out,” according to a “blighted and substandard” study for Keenan Management by Marvin Planning Consultants of David City.

The Marvin firm, which also conducted last year’s North Platte-Lincoln County housing study, said its photos of the buildings show “evidence of gangs or other unwanted individuals spending time within the abandoned structures.”

The “blighted and substandard” study also cites the river and canal as factors that have hindered the site’s development. It was owned by a family in Delaware for some time before Keenan Management bought it at auction, Pat Keenan said in his letter.

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