Town set to grow after Nebraska Supreme Court takes its side

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A town southwest of Omaha is poised to double in size and add nearly 3,000 people after the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled in its favor in an annexation dispute with its home county.

The high court ruled Friday that a lower court failed to consider future development plans in the area that Gretna sought to annex, the Omaha World-Herald reported.

Gretna, with about 4,400 residents about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southwest of Omaha, sought in 2017 to annex nearly 3,000 acres that include housing subdivisions. Sarpy County filed a lawsuit challenging the annexation because the area included 22 parcels of agricultural land with rural roads and no sewer connections.

State law says cities can annex only land that is “urban or suburban in character.” A Sarpy County district judge sided with the county last year, finding that the parcels were not being developed.

But the Supreme Court ruled there is “evidence” of development in the area because the contested parcels are “within the rapidly growing Gretna school district.”

The Supreme Court also noted that Gretna is proposing a new Interstate 80 interchange that is expected to spur future development.

“These are characteristics ‘belonging to a city’ and not ‘pertaining to the country,’” the court said.

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