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Kearney neighbors complain smaller lots, homes don't match character of Lake Villa Estates
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Kearney neighbors complain smaller lots, homes don't match character of Lake Villa Estates

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Lake Villa Estates

Lake Villa Estates

KEARNEY — Residents of the Lake Villa Estates neighborhood filled the City Council chambers Tuesday and urged the council to disapprove a small five-lot development because the lots would be smaller than the norm in that upscale section of Kearney.

“I don’t want lots that size and I don’t want homes that size,” said Ron Blessing, who was among Lake Villa residents who expressed the neighbors’ feelings.

Tracy and Jolynn Cook are planning the five-lot development — Lake Villa Estates Fifth Addition. According to Trenton Snow, the Cooks’ representative at the meeting, the couple doesn’t wish to diminish the quality of the neighborhood or the value of property.

“They actually want to build a home in that neighborhood,” Snow said.

Lake Villa Estates is south of Kearney and occupies land dotted with ponds and small lakes. A landmark of the neighborhood was Grandpa’s Steakhouse. Homes there are larger than most in Kearney and are designed in accordance with restrictive covenants.

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Typically, lots are 100 feet wide and homes are valued in the $400,000- to $700,000-range.

Lots in the Cooks’ development would be 75 feet wide. That’s the minimum standard width for a single-family home in Kearney, but Lake Villa residents said the narrower lot would not accommodate homes as large as those in their proposed neighborhood. It is outside the zone affected by Lake Villa covenants.

Some Lake Villa neighbors argued that the Cooks’ development ought to reflect the size and character of existing homes, but the council members explained the city can enforce zoning ordinances, but is powerless regarding covenants.

A Lake Villa resident suggested that the Cooks turn their five-lot development into three larger lots and asked if the council would delay its decision until Lake Villa residents could discuss their wishes with the Cooks.

The council voted 5-0 to delay the decision until Nov. 9.


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Christopher L. McKitrick, 53, formerly of Colorado Springs, Colorado, has been identified as the victim in last week’s burn death. On Nov. 23, McKitrick was transported from Crossroads Homeless Shelter at 1404 E. 39th St. in Kearney to CHI Health Good Samaritan with severe burn injuries. He later was transported to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Lincoln where he died the following day.

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