Report Card

The Urban Design Element, created through a public-private partnership and adopted as part of Omaha’s master plan in 2004, lays out 21 goals and 71 urban design recommendations in three categories: Green Omaha, Civic Omaha and Neighborhood Omaha. Activity is occurring in all 21 goal areas.

Civic Omaha

Goals and Recommendations Status
Delineating Areas of Civic Importance
Amend zoning code to include overlay zone titled “Area of Civic Importance” and show each area on the zoning map in progress
Ensure development/remodeling of existing buildings within Areas of Civic Importance (ACI) meet zoning code design guidelines ongoing
Disallow new off-premise advertising signs within ACI, reduce number and improve placement of existing off-premise signs ongoing
Develop design guidelines for on-premise signs within ACI complete
Ensure street lights/street furniture installed within public rights of way conform to city’s handbook for streetscape design ongoing
Staff city planning department with appropriate design expertise to oversee UDE compliance complete
Preserving and Creating Distinctive Civic Places
Preserving and Creating Distinctive Civic Places and Create Civic Places chapter in the zoning code complete
Disallow new off-premise advertising signs within a Civic Place District (CPD) ongoing
Subject development within a CPD to review for compliance with specific design criteria ongoing
Create a handbook of streetscape design complete
Create installation standards for streetscape elements ongoing
Major Commercial Corridors and Intersections
Adopt regulations governing placement of above-ground utilities along major commercial corridors complete
Ensure buildings in major commercial corridors address pertinent urban design issues ongoing
Pedestrian Oriented, Mixed-Use Centers
Select locations in developed parts of the city for pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use centers complete
Include revised mixed-use zone in zoning code that facilitates mapping and development of pedestrian- oriented, mixed-use centers complete
Select locations in developing parts of the city for pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use centers complete
Develop standards for pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use centers applicable in Sanitary and Improvement Districts complete
Conservation of Buildings
Fund additional positions for code enforcement and support staff complete
Fund existing programs for renovation/preservation of buildings at level needed to make them effective no action
A pilot project should be funded to assess the effectiveness of code enforcement in progress
Create committee to review Omaha’s building and other codes for provisions (though unintended) that make it more difficult to preserve older buildings in progress
Lighting Significant Structures
Govern exterior illumination of buildings by city ordinance no action
Subject all lighting plans to review/approval by city staff no action
Public Art
Include funds for public art in budget for above-ground capital projects no action
Review placement of art in public places, advise on selection of artists for public commissions (Omaha Public Art Commission) ongoing
Review/approve all works of art commissioned/ accepted by the city (Omaha Public Art Commission) ongoing
General Quality of Public Design
Ensure budget process includes cost estimates based on up-to-date information and materials/design concepts that allow for a high-quality result ongoing
Restructure city’s architectural and engineering selection process to give city departments proposing each project more input in progress
Create a Design Review Board complete

Green Omaha

Goals and Recommendations Status
Safe Floodways and Floodplains Forming a Citywide Park System
Prepare master landscape preservation and restoration plan for all current/potential Papio Creek system parkland no action
Prepare capital improvements plan to implement the plan outlined above no action
Fund/develop pilot park improvement program to demonstrate potential for enhancing Papio Creek system for recreation and as a setting for development in progress
Require site plan review for all development on properties that abut or include 100-year and 500-year floodplains ongoing
A Complete Trail System
Update plans for the trail system complete
Continue to implement capital improvements for trails as funding becomes available ongoing
Establish design standards for trails compatible with master landscape preservation and restoration plan for Papio Creek system parkland no action
Subject proposed development adjacent to trail system to site plan review to ensure feasible connection to public trail system in progress
Preservation of Landscape at the City’s Edges
Continue current growth management policies as development expands westward ongoing
Create Elkhorn River Protection District no action
Create Blair High Road Industrial and Commercial Zoning District in progress
Amend code to protect steep slopes and environmentally sensitive areas complete
Update suburban parks plan complete
Create Omaha Landscape Conservancy no action
Landscaped Highway Edges
Prepare master landscape plan(s) for highway edges no action
Create demonstration highway plan for prototypical locations no action
Prepare capital improvement plan for complete landscaping along Omaha’s limited access highways no action
Develop intergovernmental agreement with Nebraska Department of Roads to permit city review/approval of designs for enhanced landscaping along limited access highway edges no action
Green Streets
Prepare Green Streets Master Plan complete
Create tree-planting initiative to add significant number of new street trees each year in progress
Develop standards for tree planting along streets in new development in progress
Amend zoning code to increase tree planting requirements for tree planting along new streets and individual lots in all zoning districts complete
Fund tree planting and tree maintenance as called for in the Green Streets Master Plan ongoing
Green Parking Lots
Amend zoning code to include water retention standards and filtration requirements for parking complete
Revise parking lot design requirements so landscaping provides for water retention and filtration complete
A Green Image for Omaha
Establish interdepartmental committee (including directors of parks, planning and public works) to monitor UDE implementation no action

Neighborhood Omaha

Goals and Recommendations Status
Creating Neighborhood Alliances
Map neighborhood alliances throughout the city in progress
Prepare plans for each neighborhood alliance in progress
Prepare basic scope to be followed in all neighborhood alliance plans, including all relevant Green Omaha, Civic Omaha and Neighborhood Omaha policies no action
Manage the planning of neighborhood alliances with appropriate planning department staff no action
Preservation and Enhancement of Older Neighborhoods
Continue to designate/protect historic buildings/districts ongoing
Continue review of development in historic districts/ proposed changes to historic buildings (Omaha Landmarks Commission) ongoing
Fund existing programs for renovation/preservation of buildings at level needed to make them effective and administered at neighborhood level ongoing
Fund pilot project in midtown area to assess effectiveness of code enforcement in progress
Prepare neighborhood reference books that show homeowners how to enlarge existing properties while keeping them in character with the surrounding neighborhood, show developers preferred methods of conducting infill development in existing neighborhoods no action
Preserving and Enhancing Retail in Older Neighborhoods
Initiate pilot programs that demonstrate how to intervene in existing neighborhoods to preserve/ enhance retail or add it to existing area in progress
Neighborhood Retail and Other Amenities in Post-1950 Neighborhoods
Prepare pilot projects for incorporation in neighborhood alliance plans for adding retail/amenities to post-1950 neighborhoods no action
Walkable Neighborhoods in Newly Developing Areas
Adopt identified locations for pedestrian-oriented, mixed- use centers complete
Amend zoning code to include street/building placement concepts suitable for creating walkable neighborhoods that connect to pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use centers at major intersections complete
Include park locations and design requirements for standards pertaining to Sanitary and Improvement Districts complete
Include neighborhood design principles for subdivision regulations pertaining to residential areas in developing parts of the city complete
Adopt “four corner” centers model for development locations on Omaha’s western fringes no action