Development Review

Planning Application Tracking System (PATS)


Nebraska Capitol Environs Commission
The Nebraska Capitol Environs Commission was established by the State of Nebraska and City of Lincoln to "maintain and enhance the aesthetic quality, historic value, spiritual dignity, and physical dominance of the capitol over the cityscape." The Commission reviews and acts on applications within the "Capitol Environs District." They are also empowered to regulate signs and building heights within the capitol view corridors.

Change of Zone
A Change of Zone application involves changing the "zoning map." This map divides the city and county into districts whose land uses, densities, structures, and other elements are regulated by ordinance. Amendments to the zoning map may change the geographic area of a district, the classification (e.g., R-1, B2, I-4) of the district, add an overlay district or a combination of these.

City-County Comprehensive Plan
The Comprehensive Plan is the general long range (20-25 years) planning document for the City of Lincoln and Lancaster County. The Plan displays where future development is planned to occur. It includes programs for roads, water, wastewater, libraries, fire stations, schools, and other public facilities.

Community Unit Plan (CUP)
Community Unit Plans (CUP) are used to encourage creative design in newer residential areas by allowing for variations in lot size, subdivision layout, public infrastructure, and other plat elements. CUPs are only allowed to occur in residentially zoned districts (R-1 through R-6) and in certain Build Through Acreage (BTA) situations.

Consent Agenda
Applications which appear to be noncontroversial, have agreement between the applicant and staff, and which have not received written comments in opposition are placed on the Planning Commission's "Consent Agenda." The Consent Agenda appears at the beginning of each Commission meeting. If opposition to the application is expressed at the Commission's meeting, the application is taken off the Consent Agenda and a public hearing is held. If no opposition is expressed, a hearing is not held and Commission action on the application is conducted without further review.

Deferred (to a date certain)
Once an application has had public hearing before the Planning Commission, City Council or County Board, or first reading before the City Council, there may be a request for deferral by the applicant or the public body. This occurs prior to any action being taken by the public body. In most cases, the application is deferred to a date certain, which means that it will automatically be scheduled on the agenda on the date that is set and no further advertising is required.

Design Standards
Design Standards are comprised of a series of regulatory guidelines dealing with a variety of land subdivision and zoning topics. In general they spell out the standards to be used in calculating, designing, or managing the details of other regulations. For example, "Design Standards" include rules for determining the size of water mains, the maximum number of dwelling units which can be built in certain developments, the location of street trees, and the layout of parking lots.

A Factsheet is a written report prepared by the Planning Department for the City Council and/or County Board on all applications where the Planning Commission takes an action. Factsheets summarize the recommendation of the Planning Commission, and contain the Planning staff's report, the Commission's meeting minutes, correspondence, and all other information submitted to the Planning Commission regarding the application.

Final Action
The Planning Commission has final approval authority on all special permits, preliminary plats, certain use permits and certain waiver requests. All final actions by Planning Commission are adopted by resolution. Any final action of the Planning Commission may be appealed to the City Council within 14 days of the action by the Planning Commission. Appeals may only be requested by "aggrieved parties."

Historic Preservation Commission
The Historic Preservation Commission is comprised of seven members drawn from various professions whose responsibility includes preserving, projecting, and enhancing structures and districts embodying "the city's historical, cultural, archeological, or architectural heritage." The purview of the Commission includes "Landmarks" - a structure or group of structures with special relevant interest or value - and "Landmark Districts" an area of 45,000 square feet or more containing a number of structures having special relevant interest or value.

This status is used when an application is placed on "hold" before it is advertised or scheduled for a public hearing. In most cases, this would be at the request of the applicant due to the need for additional information requested by staff or negotiations prior to scheduling the hearing.

Lancaster County Board of Commissioners
The Lancaster County Board of Commissioners is a five panel board elected by the registered voters of Lancaster County and all jurisdictions within the County. The Board acts as both the legislative and administrative branches of county government. The Board acts on all planning applications forwarded to them by the City-County Planning Commission. Meetings of the County Board are typically held each Tuesday in the County-City Building, 555 South 10th Street, Lincoln, Nebraska.

Lincoln City Council
The Lincoln City Council is comprised of seven members elected by the registered voters of the City of Lincoln - three are elected "At Large" and four are elected by geographic district. The Council represents the legislative branch of the municipal government. The Council acts on all planning applications forwarded to them by the City-County Planning Commission. Meetings of the City Council are typically held each Monday in the County-City Building, 555 South 10th Street, Lincoln, Nebraska.

Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission
The Planning Commission is a nine member board of citizens established by an Interlocal Agreement between the City and County. The Commission is charged with reviewing planning applications. The Commission meets every other Wednesday in the County-City Building, 555 South 10th Street, Lincoln, Nebraska. After receiving public comments, the Commission acts on all applications. The Commission's recommendation is then sent to the City Council and/or County Board.

An authoritative rule or law passed by the City Council.

Overlay District
Areas where certain additional requirements are superimposed upon a base zoning district. Planned Unit Developments (PUD) and Community Unit Plans (CUP) are examples of overlay districts. Usually overlay districts entail an additional set of standards which can increase the flexibility of design or prescribe additional rules to be met as part of the approval of the overlay district.

Parcel Identification Number (PIN)
The Parcel Identification Number (PID) is a unique number assigned to every parcel in the county. The PID is a thirteen digit number which comprises the Precinct Number, Section Number, Quarter Section/Block Number, the Parcel Number and Subparcel Number.
Example: 16-28-101-002-000
Precinct No.
Section No.
Quarter Section
& Block No.
Parcel No.
Subparcel No.

Planned Unit Development (PUD)
Planned Unit Developments (PUD) are intended to encourage flexibility in design by allowing for a mix of land uses (such as residential, retail, office and public) as part of a single overall development plan. PUDs must be a minimum of three acres in size and must meet the regulations of the underlying zoning district unless modified by the City Council during the adoption of the PUD plan.

Plat (Subdivision)
A document - typically including a map or maps - showing a tract of land to be subdivided in smaller land parcels for sale and future development.

A formal expression of opinion or intent made by a vote of the Planning Commission, City Council or County Board. A resolution usually has a lesser legal standing than an "Ordinance," the latter being considered formal law.

Special Permit
Certain land uses may by their nature tend to be incompatible with other land uses allowed in specific zoning districts. Such incompatible uses may also be found acceptable when conditions are placed on them to protect abutting land uses and the character of the area. "Special permits" are used to formally assign those conditions to such incompatible uses, thus allowing them to be built and operated.

Subdivision Code
The Subdivision Code prescribes standards to be followed in the layout of subdivisions. These standards include the design of lots, streets, block size, grading, and sidewalks. The City of Lincoln's Subdivision Code is embodied in Title 26 of the Lincoln Municipal Code. Subdivisions in the County are governed by the Lancaster County Land Subdivision Regulations.

Text Amendment
A Text Amendment involves amendments to the ordinances and resolutions which regulate each district. For example, these types of amendments modify the text of such sections as Title 26 (Land Subdivision) and Title 27 (Zoning) of the Lincoln Municipal Code.

The Land Subdivision and Zoning Codes provide for circumstances in which the elected officials may allow for deviations from set regulations and standards. Such deviations are called "waivers" and are limited to specific conditions.

Zoning Code
The City and County are divided into a variety of "zoning districts." Each district has set guidelines governing what land uses are allowed, how intense development can be within the district, and other standards for regulating building and uses. The City's Zoning Code is embodied in Title 27 of the Lincoln Municipal Code. Zoning in the County is governed by the Lancaster County Zoning Regulations.