Kimball City Council rejects rezoning proposal, new member appointee

KIMBALL, NE — The Kimball City Council is still down a member after Tuesday night’s meeting in which they also turned down an application to rezone a part of town. 

In a public hearing that lasted an hour, the council heard concerns from residents over a proposed rezoning of land on the east side of town. The applicant Gerry Porter wishes to rezone roughly 22 acres of land along 5th street and east of County Road 43 from R-4 (Residential Mobile Home Park) to C-4 (Commercial Services District).

In a proposal presented to council, the space would be fixed up and include 44 RV parking spots with electric, water and sewer hookups as well as gas and diesel fuel bays and EV charging stations. The area would also include a ROOK multi-purpose building that Porter told council could be used to hold multiple events. 

Porter told the council the area would increase the tax base for the city by taking in more sales, lodging and property tax. The submitted proposal says it would be a destination center for the city and county. 

Many residents who spoke against the issue lived on nearby Monroe St., some of whose backyards border County Road 43, the west edge of the proposed project. The residents raised concerns of noise, increased traffic and semi-truck drivers using the area as a truck stop. 

The same rezoning application was discussed at April’s city council meeting. After that meeting, Porter amended the plans in order to not allow overnight semi-truck parking at the proposed facility. That was not enough for some residents who said under the current plan truckers could still park there during the day and use the facility to fill up their tanks. 

One resident said the fueling area should be taken out of the plan as most RV parks do not include gas stations and it would eliminate the potential issue of semi-truck drivers using it as a stop for gas. 

When time came to vote, no council member offered a motion to pass the application, therefore it was denied. 

The council also rejected Kimball mayor Keith Prunty’s appointee for the vacant city council position Tuesday. 

Pruny had appointed Christy Warner a former city council member who is currently the administrator for the Kimball County Transit Service. Warner told the council she resigned from her position as a city council member in the past to handle matters within her family. 

“My son had an incident at the school,” Warner said. “I wanted to make sure the integrity of the city and my integrity were not questioned.” 

Despite her previous experience and some meeting attendees speaking up in support of Warner, the council turned down her appointment 2-1. Council members Gabe Ingram and Matt Bright voted against the appointment, citing concerns over ads made by Warner’s mom that ran in the local paper regarding the recent recall effort against Prunty

Councilman Creg Pike voted in favor of the appointment. 

The city council position opened up last month after former council president Kim Baliman resigned her post. The city has also been without a city administrator for a year.