Despite housing shortage, Norfolk, NE leaders say no to new development
NORFOLK, NE. (KTIV/US92) -
An opposition vote at this week's Norfolk City Council is bring awareness to the city's housing shortage.
An empty lot along Koeningstein Avenue in Norfolk was the proposed location for a new set of residential housing units.
However, strong opposition from surrounding businesses played a role in the Norfolk City Council 6-1 vote to deny rezoning the lot to residential. Todd Pospisil owns the strip mall right behind the lot, and says he purchased the building to be around other retail businesses.
“If the city agreed to rezone this behind us, it would kind of open the door to allow these other places to rezone. If our property next to us rezoned to residential, we would be locked in by residential," said Todd Pospisil, owner of Flooring Solutions.
Pospisil added that there are other lots in Norfolk zoned for residential use and fully supports the city's effort in bringing new housing to town.
Norfolk identified housing as a major need when they developed their comprehensive plan for the city back in 2001. Norfolk's Economic Development Director said housing use to not be an issue, saying an average of 140 housing developments were being built on average.
“In the last three years, we have had an average of 30 a year. So there has been a drastic decline in the number of new units coming on board," said Courtney Detlinger, Norfolk Economic Development Director.
Detlinger said based on 2011 housing study, Norfolk is right now short 164 housing units needed to meet the city's projected population growth by 2020. She says this is a great opportunity for apartment developers to come into the community.
“I think we will get the problem addressed, we will get the shortage addressed. Its going to take a lot of work and some outside the box thinking but we are working hard," she explained.
Any developers interested in building housing in Norfolk are asked to contact the city's Economic Development office.
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