The increased size limit for a house in Huxley’s Prairie Ridge development failed to receive support from the Huxley City Council during their meeting June 11.

A resolution involving the change in covenants for the development would have increased the size limit to 1,200 square feet. Currently, and what will continue to be in place, houses in the development are limited to 1,008 square feet in size.

The discussion about changing the covenant came after Habitat for Humanity representatives approached the council with plans for building two homes in the development. The representatives told council members the smallest floor plan of homes they build exceeds the 1,008-square foot size limit for a home in the development, and they requested the size limit be changed so the two homes could be built. Rather than making an exception for the two homes proposed by the organization, council members considered changing the covenant, allowing for all homes in the development to be a larger size.

Since the development opened, only three houses have been built on the 41 single-family residential lots. Councilman Mark Baker said he does not feel limiting the house size is the best approach for attracting low-to-moderate income families to the development.

"There seems to be an issue with the house size…and I’m for allowing larger sizes. It won’t affect the other developers in town," Baker said.

Councilman Dave Kuhn said the three homes currently in the development have been able to make the size requirements work, so other organizations or individuals who want to build on the property should not have a problem with the requirements as they stand.

"I’m not in favor of amending the covenant. We’ve been asked to change it before and we haven’t," Kuhn said.

Councilwoman Marge Nerness suggested asking Habitat for Humanity to present smaller housing floor plans.

"Keep in mind the point is to help people get into homes they otherwise would not have been able to," Nerness said.

After much discussion, the motion to change the covenant failed 2-3, with Nerness, Kuhn and Scott Wilson in opposition.

City Administrator John Haldeman said council has not seen flooring plans for the two proposed Habitat houses. If the Habitat houses exceed the Prairie Ridge size limit, council may consider making an exception for the organization, rather than for all the houses built in the development.

Land annexation

A public hearing was held at the beginning of the meeting regarding a voluntary annexation of property owned by LNK Development, at 55209 310th St., just east of Timberlane Drive on the city’s northeast side. No community members were present for the hearing.

The developer wants to annex the land in order to develop five homes on the five-acre property. Justin Moore, zoning administrator, said he checked with all county offices to make sure the annexation is acceptable with everyone, and he received no objections.

Council unanimously approved a resolution regarding the voluntary annexation. The city development board must approve the annexation request before it will take effect. If approved, the land will need to be rezoned from A-1 agricultural district to R-1 single family home district.