Questions of the Week – Readers ask about open meetings act, Project Access questions, county zoning regs

The following questions were asked recently by inquiring readers:


Q: My question is what did the city attorney say last week regarding the open meetings act when the city council met? There are a lot of comments out there about it, but I haven’t seen anything published about it, particularly.

A: During this past session of the state legislature, the state’s open meetings act was revised and municipalities, counties, school districts, etc., are now posting the revised open meetings act documents in their meeting spaces, as required by law.

During that particular meeting of the city council, York City Attorney Charles Campbell explained how public comment can be taken and addressed during public meetings.

He said ordinances are set out to clarify how public comment is allowed when there are public hearings and when there are agenda items where the governing body will be taking action and when the agenda calls for public input to be made.


Q: During the last meeting of the York City Council, an individual asked questions regarding Project Access York. Can you talk about the questions he asked?

A: During that particular council meeting, Brandon Lehman asked if the new trails will have lights, if ADA trails will go to businesses, if the Walkability Committee talked about sidewalks at the interchange, if consideration will be given to relocating stop signs by the pedestrian bridge at the interchange, if right-of-way easement costs have changed, if tax dollars will be used to pay for right-of-way easements, who reviewed the grant application before it was submitted, what the cost of snow removal will be for the trail extension, how will this increase the city’s insurance costs, and what will the police department need if there becomes a requirement for them to drive down the trail as part of their routine.

It should be noted a public open house will be held May 28 from 4-6 p.m., the Holthus Convention Center, during which members of the public will be able to see large depictions of the project and talk with project managers. The public can also go to to see detailed proposed maps and plans, as well as leave comments.


Q: It’s been quite some time since the county’s proposed solar project zoning regulations have been addressed. I understand a public hearing will be held sometime in June for these to be discussed further. How can I see what is being proposed before that happens? I know there are people with hard copies of the proposed regulations, but I’m not one of them. Where can I see what is being considered?

A: Go to the county’s website at where you will find 23 pages of proposed zoning regulations pertaining to solar projects.


Q: There have been so many changes on the county board – as far as representatives – in the last few years. My question is how many new members will be joining in January?

A: There will be one – Joe Burgess.

LeRoy Ott was chosen as the Republican candidate in the district he is currently representing and there were no other candidates from other parties, so he will continue serving in that capacity.

Burgess was chosen as the Republican candidate to fulfill the position currently held by Jack Sikes. There were no other candidates from other parties, so he will ultimately be taking the oath of office next January. Sikes will be retiring from the position he has held for some time.

Andy Bowman was recently appointed to fulfill the position which had been held by Stan Boehr, before his death. This commissioner seat is in the mid-point of the four-year term.

Commissioners Randy Obermier and Daniel Grotz are currently at the mid-points of their four-year terms.


Q: It was reported how voter turn-out was low for the Primary Election in York County. I think a lot of that was because some people didn’t have much to vote for, this time around. Can you tell us how many registered voters in the county actually voted and break it down by party affiliation if possible?

A: There are 9,235 registered voters in York County. Of those, only 2,475 voted, which is a 26.8% turn-out.
There are 6,216 registered Republicans in York County. Of those, 2,049 cast ballots, which is a 32.9% turn-out.
There are 1,341 registered Democrats in York County. Of those, 291 cast ballots, which is a 21.7% turn-out.
There are 111 registered Libertarians in York County. Of those, seven cast ballots, which is a 6.3% turn-out.
There are 32 members of the Legalize Marijuana NOW Party in York County. Of those, one cast a ballot.
And there are 1,535 declared non-partisan voters in York County. Of those, 127 cast ballots, which is an 8.27% turn-out.

Q: My family is scheduling a vacation for California and we are going to see the famously old Redwood trees. My daughter had a few questions – how old are they and why have their lived so long?

A: Experts say the California Redwoods are estimated to be at least 2,000 years old, although they are said to have an average lifespan of 500-700 years.

They also say the reason these trees have been able to live so long is because of favorable climatic conditions, including tannin in the bark, which makes it resistant to insects like termites; and thickness of the bark helps protect the inner core of the tree from fire.

Experts say the Redwood evolved into the ability to tap into fog, absorbing some of their moisture through the leaves and funneling more to their roots.

The oldest and second-tallest living coastal Redwood trees is said to be approximately 2,068 years old. It stands 376 feet tall.


Q: Who shot the drone and video footage which is included on the county’s website? I think it’s really neat and I think people would appreciate it if they would check it out. 

A: All of that footage was taken and created by Eric Eckert, who created the county’s website.


Q: Is there a lot of popcorn grown in Nebraska? I remember years ago, there was a surge of producers growing the product and I was curious of where it ranks now compared to other corn-producing states in the nation.

A: According to the Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska is the number one producer of popcorn in the country, harvesting some 300 million pounds of popcorn on roughly 67,000 acres.




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