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Q:        What is a Neighborhood Conservation/Enhancement Plan (NCE)?
A:         Creation of a conservation district will help to preserve and protect unique and distinctive neighborhood commercial centers from future development which may be incompatible with the character of the area. The conservation plan will also adjust current zoning regulations which, in some cases, may prevent compatible future development. All properties within Omaha are required to meet zoning ordinances. The district plan is intended to “fine tune” these zoning regulations for certain districts to promote development which preserves and enhances the existing character.

Q:        What is the extent of the district?
A:         The size of NCE districts vary depending on the location. NCE districts are primarily intended to provide zoning to help conserve neighborhood commercial centers which evolved along the historic streetcar lines. Each district will receive its own boundary and map which will become part of the Omaha Zoning Map.

Q:        Does the NCE zoning replace my current zoning?
A:         Not entirely. The NCE zoning overlay adds additional zoning regulations and may modify those that currently apply to your property to help create a zoning that is compatible with existing historic conditions. In some case these historic conditions may be not allowed by current zoning and could be considered “non-conforming”. The NCE would help to allow a more historic form of development.

Q:        Will the NCE zoning require me to change anything about my existing property?
A:         No. It can remain exactly as it is.

Q:        When do the new zoning regulations affect my property?
A:         The new regulations only apply at the time of new development or when new construction occurs. If only part of the building or site is reconstructed, the new regulations apply to only that part. Currently, if your building were to be destroyed or significantly changed, it would be required to meet the existing code. After the NCE zoning is applied the same policy will be in place.

Q:        Will the NCE zoning change the uses allowed on my property?
A:         No. All uses allowed in the base zoning still apply.                                                                 

Q:        Will the NCE zoning restrict development on my property more so than the base zoning?
A:         It depends. All properties in Omaha are currently subject to site development regulations such as required front, side and rear yard setbacks. The NCE Conservation Plan promotes placing buildings closer to the street (providing an adequate sidewalk can be achieved) to encourage an active pedestrian environment. In some cases this means the property may yield more build-able area and be less restrictive than the current code. In some cases, however, it may be more restrictive for example when requiring landscaping in parking lots than the current base zoning.

Q:        Are all parcels within the district affected by the NCE zoning?
A:         No. Single family and low density residential uses on parcels within the district are exempt from the overlay regulations. Also, parcels with civic uses such as schools, universities or religious facilities or large corporate campuses may be exempt from certain requirements providing they have an approved campus master plan.

Q:        What are the new zoning regulations for my property?
A:         The NCE may introduce up to 12 new zoning provisions that have not previously been addressed and will promote compatibility with the existing historic context. Not all the provisions are required for all types of development. The chart below generally describes provisions and what it is intended to address. Some of these provisions may be modified by the NCE plan. See the proposed NCE plan for all modifications and adjustments unique to your area.


Urban Design Provisions for NCE Districts


Sidewalk Areas (§ 55-924)



Build-to/Set-back lines & zones (§ 55-925)



Ground-level transparency (§ 55-926)



Service area screening (§ 55-927)



Green parking areas (§ 55-928)



Parking structures (§ 55-929)



Site & building access (§ 55-930)



Neighborhood connectivity (§ 55-931)



Location of utilities (§ 55-932)



Signs (§ 55-933)



Retaining walls (§ 55-934)



Building design guidelines (§ 55-935) (§ 55-936)


Key – what each provision provides


Pedestrian/Place Experience


Appearance of Element


Scale/Massing of Element


Site Access - Vehicular

Q:        How have the existing zoning regulations been modified?
A:        Modifications to existing zoning varies depending on the base zoning type. Generally, changes would occur that promote compatibility with the existing      context such has height, off-site parking, buffer-yards, landscaping and setbacks. Also, new development within the district exceeding ½ acre will be required to follow the “conditional permit procedure” which facilitates an inclusive, public process.


Q:        Where can I access the actual NCE Plan document for my area?

A:         Proposed and approved NCE plans are available for downloading from the City’s website. Go to www.cityofomaha.org  Navigate to: Departments > Urban Design > NCE Plans > Districts for a downloadable PDF file. Copies can also be obtained at the planning department.

Q:        Where can I access the actual zoning code sections listed above?
A:         The Omaha Municipal Code is available online. Go to the Online Library, select Nebraska and then Omaha. Look for Chapter 55 – Zoning and then Article 22 – Urban Design.

Q:        Where can I find more information about the NCE zoning?
A:         The Omaha Municipal Code is available online. Go to the Online Library, select Nebraska and then Omaha. Look for Chapter 55 – Zoning and then Article 11 – Overlay Districts, Section 55-601 - NCE.

Q:        Who should I contact at the City if I have questions about the NCE district overlay zoning?
A:         Contact Jed Moulton, the Manager of Urban Design for the City of Omaha (444-5150 x2064).