The ordinance combined two recommendations made by the Lincoln
Planning Commission. The first part of the ordinance was the
establishment of a special use in residential districts labeled as
R-1. The special use would permit horses to be stabled within city
The second part of the ordinance established construction
guidelines and restrictions for newly constructed drive-thru
businesses, but would have no bearing on businesses already existing
inside city limits. These restrictions would be incorporated into
zoning districts labeled C-1 or C-2.
Special use: Stabled horses permitted in R-1 residential
The first part of the ordinance, pertaining to horses, is the
result of a request by Patrick and April Doolin to construct a horse
barn or stable on their property on the north side of Lincoln, off
The Doolins own a total of 23 acres, 18 of which they plan to
make their homestead. Their plans for the future include
construction of a new home and the horse barn, along with pasture
and riding areas.
In October, the couple appeared before the Lincoln Zoning Board
of Appeals to request that the barn they plan to build be allowed to
exceed current height limits on such structures. Their request was
granted, but what quickly came into play was the fact that the city
did not have a special use permit in city codes that would allow or
disallow stabling horses.
The Doolins then had to take their request to the city planning
commission. That commission, after much discussion, established a
set of stringent guidelines in which horses could be permitted in
the city. The recommendation was then sent to the Lincoln City
Council for final say on whether or not such a special use should be
At last week's committee of the whole meeting, zoning officer
John Lebegue explained the conditions of the special use permit in
detail to the council.
The special use requires that the horse farm be located on a lot
of no less than 10 acres. Pasture must be provided at a rate of 1.5
acres per horse, and no more than six horses may be located on any
property. Waste must be hauled away on a regular basis or stored in
a contained composting system. There are also restrictions as to use
of a front yard for the horses, distances between buildings on the
property, and distances between buildings and adjoining properties
belonging to others.
At the Tuesday meeting, there was not a great deal of discussion
on this topic. Marty Neitzel asked how the neighbors on Union Street
felt about the horses being there. She was told that at first there
was some opposition, but the primary concern seemed to be less about
the horses and more about how the homestead would be constructed.
Melody Anderson commented that the farm will be in her ward, and she
has not heard from any constituents regarding the issue.
It was also noted that some of the neighbors have expressed that
they are pleased with the large number of trees the Doolins are
currently planting on the property.
Bruce Carmitchel wondered if the Doolins would be boarding horses
and if that constituted a business.
Currently, the Doolins have no plans to board horses for others.
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Other comments included Mayor Keith Snyder reminding the council
that at one time there were several horses in the city, as the Odd
Fellows Children's Home owned horses. Tom O'Donohue also commented
that in some cities, horses are not uncommon. There was a similar
discussion on this at the planning commission, where Lebegue talked
about communities in the Chicago area that have several horse farms
and consider them as a unique contribution to their city.
Carmitchel also warned the council that they could be opening the
door for other livestock production if they are not careful. He told
the council, "If you allow horses, be prepared for the next step."
Lebegue said the special use would be specific to horses only. In
addition, he said that he is currently researching and working on
amendments that would address other animals inside city limits.
New drive-thru business guidelines and restrictions
The second part of the ordinance addressed the construction of
drive-thru businesses. These types of businesses would be required
to obtain a special use permit before construction. The guidelines
for allowing the permit, Lebegue said, had been written to protect
adjacent residential areas and to also assure no disruption of
traffic flow around the businesses.
Rules to be put in place included consideration of how headlights
in the drive-thru area would shine into residential buildings
nearby; whether or not there was sufficient lot space to keep
waiting traffic from backing up onto the roadway; and consideration
as to how the drive-thru facility would affect neighboring
Lebegue had also brought this to the planning commission for
their recommendation. At that time, he said there were no codes
concerning drive-thrus in the city. Establishing a code would give
his office the opportunity to review site plans and assure that such
businesses were not detrimental to the neighborhood.
The new rules would apply only to future construction.
Lebegue was asked by the commission if there was something coming
that had prompted this. He answered that currently there is nothing
on the horizon. He noted that he has had conversations with
McDonald's regarding new construction, but nothing is concrete on
their future plans. He also noted that when talking with that
corporation, their representative had been surprised to learn that
such rules were not already in place.
At the Tuesday committee of the whole last week, aldermen had
little to say about this requested change, and all seemed to be in
agreement that it was needed.
On Monday evening, when the motion was made for the joint
ordinance, Carmitchel asked if the two issues could be voted on
separately. He said he wished to vote "yes" for one and "no" for the
other. However, he was told the ordinance had been written to cover
Sue McLaughlin, city administrator, said that if the council
wished to vote on the items separately, that could be done, but it
would delay the decision for another two weeks.
In the end, the council went forward with the vote. Six aldermen
voted "yes": Melody Anderson, Kathy Horn, Marty Neitzel, Tom
O'Donohue, Jonie Tibbs and David Wilmert. Carmitchel was the only
"no" vote on the issue.
With the special use permit to stable horses in R-1 residential
districts in place, the Doolins can now return to the planning
commission with their request to build their homestead.
[By NILA SMITH]