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Johnson v. City of Fremont

Supreme Court of Nebraska

April 18, 2014

ROLAND JOHNSON AND KAREN JOHNSON, TRUSTEES OF THE ROLAND AND KAREN JOHNSON TRUST, APPELLEES,
v.
CITY OF FREMONT, NEBRASKA, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, APPELLANT

Page 280

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 281

Appeal from the District Court for Dodge County: GEOFFREY C. HALL, Judge.

Paul A. Payne for appellant.

Steven G. Ranum and Martin P. Pelster, of Croker, Huck, Kasher, DeWitt, Anderson & Gonderinger, L.L.C., for appellees.

HEAVICAN, C.J., WRIGHT, CONNOLLY, STEPHAN, MCCORMACK, MILLER-LERMAN, and CASSEL, JJ.

OPINION

Page 282

[287 Neb. 961] Cassel, J.

INTRODUCTION

A city relied upon Nebraska's " gap and extend" law [1] to pave one block of a street and assess the paving costs against abutting property owners. At one end, the new paving adjoined a paved intersection of two paved streets. At the other end, there was no connecting paved street. We must decide whether the paving was authorized under the second sentence of § 18-2001, which permitted the city to " pave any unpaved street . . . which intersects a paved street for a distance of not to exceed one block on either side of such paved street." Because the plain language of the statute authorized the paving, we reverse the judgment of the district court and remand the cause with direction.

BACKGROUND

The relevant streets are located in the City of Fremont, Nebraska (City). An excerpt from a map in evidence will best illustrate the situation, both before and after the project which is the subject of the instant appeal. We note that the quality of the image, although limited by its source, still provides a useful reference tool.

[287 Neb. 962] We first identify the extent of previous paving of relevant streets. On the east end of the map, Garden City Road was previously paved. A portion of Donna Street, from the Garden City Road intersection to the Jean Drive intersection, was also already paved. The paved segment of Donna Street ran parallel to a railroad right-of-way (lower right corner). Jean Drive was entirely paved, including both the Garden City Road and Donna Street intersections. On the west end of the map, a ...


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