When the Doolins laid out the plan for a housing development project
on the north end of Union Street in Lincoln, they held 23 acres on
the far east side of the development for building a home for
The development will feature 14 building sites, with
the majority of those at the street's edge. Behind the first line of
homes, there are plats for three additional homes with larger lots,
and behind that is the 23 acres reserved for the Doolins.
Wednesday evening, the initial plan was for the zoning board of
appeals to consider a request from the Doolins for a zoning change
that would allow them to build a horse stable on their 23 acres.
John Sutton chaired the meeting and called it to order. He began
by telling the group and the several residents of Union Street who
were on hand that there had been an error in protocol, and the
zoning board did not have the authority to allow or disallow the
building of the stable.
Sutton said the request would have to go to the city's planning
commission, and that group would hold a public meeting on the matter
at a later date to be announced.
What the zoning board could do, though, was move forward with a
second request regarding the height limit of buildings in the city.
The current zoning rules call for an accessory building to be no
more than 18 feet tall at the peak of the roof. The Doolins are
hoping to build a stable with a roof peak of 28 feet.
After the board reviewed the request, Sutton told those in the
gallery that anyone who wished to speak on the subject needed to
stand up and be sworn in, in order to testify. No one stood up.
Sutton advised Patrick Doolin that he was required to testify, so
Doolin came forward, was sworn in and took a seat at the speaker's
Doolin told the board that it was his wish to build the stable,
and that building his family home on the property would be
contingent on being allowed to do so. He said the stable he wants to
build would hold six stalls and an indoor riding arena, which is why
he was asking for the additional height.
He said the building plan was for the structure to measure 72
feet wide, 120 feet long, have exterior wall heights of 14 feet and
the peak at 28 feet.
Doolin was asked if the home to be built would be of a similar
height. He said the specific plan for the house wasn't yet finished,
but that the two would go together. Doolin noted that the stable or
barn was basically the height of a two-story home.
With the building to be constructed at the far side of the
property, Doolin said that from Union Street, it would not look
Doolin was then asked how many horses would be kept in the barn.
Doolin said the plan included six stalls. He was then asked if there
would be outdoor riding area as well as indoor, and he said his 23
acres would include space for outdoor riding.
Doolin was also asked to verify an earlier statement, that if he
is not allowed to have the barn, he will not build the home. Doolin
said that was correct.
The board then briefly discussed what decision they were required
to make on the matter. The comment was made that it was unclear what
the zoning change would need to be. Sutton then said that the only
decision the board needed to make was whether or not to allow the
height of the proposed structure to exceed the current rule of 18
With discussions appearing to be over, Sutton called for a motion
and vote, but he was interrupted by a visitor in the gallery.
In attendance at the meeting were several homeowners whose
property is on the west side of Union, across from the housing
development. Lois Vannoy stood up and interrupted Sutton's call for
a motion, saying her group had not been permitted to speak on the
[to top of second column]
Sutton said that had they wanted to address the board, they
should have stood to be sworn in when he called for that. Vannoy
said they didn't do so because they had not yet heard what Doolin
had to say, and at that time they did not know whether or not they
needed to speak.
Sutton said it was too late for them to address the board, but if
Doolin was willing to answer their questions, they could do that.
Doolin said he was willing to do so.
Vannoy first asked what had happened to the original plan to
build the Doolin residence on the northeast corner of the property.
She said that was what was explained when discussions were going on
for the housing development. Doolin said he didn't recall ever
discussing his personal home in conjunction with the housing
project. Vannoy then said that perhaps it had been talked about
outside the formal meetings, but it was talked about.
Doolin said that in looking at the land, there had been several
factors that entered into the location of the home. Among them was
the cost of infrastructure and installing water and sewer. In
addition, there were considerations to be given to the flood plain
on the property. Finally, he said, moving the home site put the
horses and stable at the farthest point away from Union Street.
Doolin was asked if he planned to have six horses, and he
responded that at the moment he owns one horse.
He was then asked at what point he decided to build a stable,
because it had not been mentioned in the plan for the housing
development. Doolin said the stable had always been a part of the
plan for his personal home. He also commented that his personal home
was never considered as part of the subdivision.
Shortly after this, Sutton advised the group that the questions
they were asking did not relate to the matter before his board. He
said the planning commission for the city would have a meeting about
allowing the actual construction of the stables, and that was when
these questions should be raised.
He was then asked if the planning meeting would be open to the
public, and if the residents of Union Street be notified of the
meeting. Sutton said that all the meetings were open to the public
under the public meeting act, and that yes, Union Street residents
would be notified.
Additional information that was offered by Doolin before the vote
included his plan to plant trees to separate his homestead from the
subdivision. He said he has purchased 185 trees, with 100 of them
already being over 25 feet tall. The trees will be placed along his
property to shield the homestead from the development as well as
from Lincoln Parkway on the north.
In regard to the height of the barn, he commented that there are
already homes, particularly along Tremont Street, that are as tall
or taller than what he is proposing. His final comment on the matter
was that the structure would not be unsightly and that the view of
the building from Union Street would be the narrower, 72-foot side.
When the motion to approve was finally made, it passed by
unanimous vote. So, while it isn't yet known if the building may be
allowed, if it is, Doolin will be able to build the structure 28
Thursday morning, zoning officer John Lebegue said he is moving
to get a meeting of the city planning commission set up, and he is
hopeful that the meeting will take place in November, before
Thanksgiving. The exact date is not yet known, but he is hoping for
[By NILA SMITH]