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Nebraska Supreme Court Clarifies “Gap and Extend” Law

on Tuesday, 27 May 2014 in Dirt Alert: David C. Levy, Editor

The Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed a city’s use of the “gap and extend” law in Johnson v. City Fremont. Nebraska Revised Statutes section 18-2001, permits a 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.” In Johnson, the court analyzed whether the City of Fremont (the “City”) properly utilized the statute to pave an unpaved street that abutted the plaintiffs’ property.

The plaintiffs’ property abutted an unpaved street. The City passed a resolution to pave a portion of the street and assess the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs sued seeking a declaration that the resolution was invalid and reimbursement for the amount the plaintiffs paid toward the levy. The district court ruled in plaintiffs’ favor and found the City’s paving of the plaintiffs’ street improper because it extended a paved street rather than filling a gap between paved intersections. As such, the district court ordered the City to refund the plaintiffs the amount they paid toward the levy. The City appealed.

The Nebraska Supreme Court reversed, holding that the provisions of Nebraska’s “gap and extend” law provide a city with two powers. First, a city may fill a gap between two paved areas. Second, a city may extend a single block of paving from an intersecting street. Here, the City’s actions properly utilized this second power to extend a single block of the street that abutted the plaintiffs’ property.

A full copy of the opinion is available here.

Brian R. Schumacher

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