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Council considers increase in commercial building heights


The city moved forward on plans to raise the maximum building height allowed in a commercial zone to 80 feet at last week’s city council meeting.

The planning commission voted to forward this suggestion to the council at its Nov. 18 meeting. The current maximum height allowed is 50 feet.

“It’s outdated by today’s standards,” said city manager Gary Person of the existing regulation. “C3 zones in proper planning are never near residential areas.”

Most of the new projects zoned for commercial uses are near the interstate, Person said. One of the original reasons for the height restriction of 50 feet were concerns about firefighting capabilities. Now the Sidney volunteer fire department has a ladder truck that is capable of raising up to 100 feet. Sidney fire chief Keith Stone is comfortable with the height restriction of 80 feet, Person said.

There are two projects in the works with the possibility of a third that would need this accommodation of more than 50 feet in the Interstate 80 corridor.

“Those three projects alone represent about $50 million in investment in our community,” Person said.

Person recommended this change be made so those projects can move forward.

Councilman Roger Gallaway wondered why the city decided on 80 feet specifically.

City staff attempted to gauge what the maximum building height needed in Sidney would be, Person answered.

“We had toyed with the idea of 100 feet just to get the issue over and done with, but in talking with Chief Stone he was a lot more comfortable with 80 foot and the projects are fine with that,” Person said.

A six story hotel would measure around 72 to 75 feet, councilman Mark Nienhueser said.

The council designated the ordinance at last week’s meeting. It will be read at the next few meetings.


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