Communities and counties throughout Nebraska live in a changing social and economic environment. According to socioeconomic studies, these diversification pressures are most common within jurisdictions in and around Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA). It is believed that emigrants are moving to these neighboring urbanized areas, in an effort to distance themselves from (real or apparent) urban crime, social problems, and human congestion; while remaining within reasonable commuting distances from economic opportunities found within these metropolitan areas.
In 1998, local residents recognized that this trend was potentially beneficial to Saunders County since it abuts Nebraska’s two fastest growing MSAs (Omaha and Lincoln). County officials recognized that this location presented the County with multiple development challenges, which, if not adequately planned for, would result in undesirable and/or unfettered growth throughout the County, especially within rural areas.
Saunders County’s growth demand is clearly not unique. Other urbanizing Nebraska communities and counties are facing similar pressures. As such, Saunders County agreed to partner with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED), the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority (NIFA), and the Agricultural Research and Development Center (ARDC) at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, to hold planning sessions, collect input from the urbanizing regions and simultaneously research and publish solutions that have been developed in other states. Furthermore, the resultant `best practice’ would be made available to help Nebraska counties and communities in urbanizing areas avoid having to spend limited local resources to individually research and review the issues and options specific to their growth and development needs.
The Saunders County Planning Project included a County-wide Comprehensive Development Plan and Zoning Ordinance. Though a systematic initiative, the plan was designed and prepared in strict accordance with Nebraska Planning Law, and meets the dual purpose of such a plan – its legal purpose and its higher goal as a guide to the County’s future. Together with its companion document, the zoning ordinance, the plan will provide the County with the necessary planning guidance to assure proper growth and controlled development within the County for the next seven (7) to ten (10) years.
When officially adopted by the Saunders County Board of Supervisors, this planning Initiative will enable the County to control its destiny, and face the future with confidence and resolve.
Saunders County Planning Project
Southeast Nebraska Development District
Greg Cecil (DED Representative)
(402) 471-2280 • (800) 426-6505