Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods (LAN) Newsletter
Greetings LAN Members and Neighborhood Friends –
January has been a busy month for LAN! I just wanted to update folks on a few important things happening about town:
LAN Goal setting retreat: LAN will host a goal setting retreat on Saturday, February 16, from 1-4 at the Van Go Arts Center at 715 New Jersey Street. The retreat will give LAN members and neighborhood reps an opportunity to brainstorm LAN priorities for the coming year. Please join us! As space is limited, an RSVP is respectfully requested. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you or your neighborhood would like to participate in the retreat. A formal invitation will go out in a week or so.
Rental Registration Proposal at City Hall: On Monday, January 7, The City held a public meeting and presented a draft outline of expanding the rental licensing program to the public, to expand the program to all rental units in the city. The expansion of this program has been a longstanding goal of LAN. You can read about the City’s stakeholder meeting here: http://www.lawrenceks.org/assets/agendas/cc/2009/01-27-09/01-27-09h/fai_rental_expansion_process_memo.html
We are grateful that City Staff have proposed an ambitious and comprehensive program. Hopefully, with support from residents in all neighborhoods, we can realize a City-wide rental inspection program that protects tenants and property owners alike. A draft ordinance will be presented to the City Commission at their meeting at City Hall on February 12. We need LAN members and neighborhood reps at the meeting, speaking in favor of the program. Our attendance is crucial, and can greatly increase the chances that this program will be adopted and implemented.
Downtown Redevelopment Overlay: In case you missed it last month, the City is working on a proposed downtown redevelopment plan: http://www.ci.lawrence.ks.us/assets/agendas/cc/2012/12-11-12/fai_pl_downtown_survey_staff_memo.pdf
The Planning Commission and the Historic Resources Commission (HRC) are tentatively scheduled to hold a joint meeting about the overlay on Monday, March 13 at City Hall. Note that this is not a public hearing, but rather an opportunity for folks to listen to city leader’s discussion about proposed redevelopment activity. As Downtown (David Longhurst), East Lawrence (KT Walsh), Old West Lawrence (Kirk McClure) and Pinckney (Linda Bush) neighborhoods are closest to the areas being considered for redevelopment, a LAN subcommittee including these neighborhood associations has been created. If you or your neighborhood would like to participate, or share your thoughts with this LAN subcommittee, please contact Kirk McClure: email@example.com
Annual Dues Are Due! LAN Annual dues are due the end of January! Remember that only neighborhoods in good standing (i.e. with their $25/yr dues paid in full) can vote at LAN meetings. $5/yr individual membership dues entitle independent folks to participate in LAN discussions at monthly meetings. Please send your dues to our treasurer, Dan Dannenberg, or bring your dues (check or cash) to the February meeting. Thanks!
City of Lawrence Needs Your Neighborhood Contact Updates! If you have not updated your neighborhood’s information with the City, please do so! Did you know that if a neighborhood goes more than 3 years without providing updated contact information, that neighborhood risks being deleted from the City’s list? If you get deleted, you won’t receive important development and neighborhood notifications! Here is the City’s current list: http://lawrenceks.org/pds/neighborhoodcontacts
To the best of our knowledge, the following neighborhoods do not yet have active neighborhood associations or LAN reps. If you know folks that live in these areas that might like to get involved, please share contact information with LAN: Edgewood; Meadows Place; Perry Park; Southern Parkway Townhomes; Stoneback Ridge.
Neighborhood Activity in the News: Several neighbors and neighborhood groups have been in the news in the past few months, to good affect! Calling for enforcement of parking rules (in Centennial and Oread); demanding that the land use and zoning provisions of Horizon 2020 be upheld (Diamondhead Subdivision), and requesting that the City take action to protect pedestrians through installation of traffic calming measures (Indian Hills), these neighborhoods were able to get the attention of City Hall.
We applaud the efforts of all neighborhoods, and invite those that are not yet members of LAN to join us! Together, we are stronger, and work collaboratively to protect the vitality and safety of our neighborhoods. We can realize positive change at City Hall and enrich and preserve our community as a whole!
City Commission Election News: Several city commission candidate forums are scheduled for February and March. Learn more about them here: https://www.facebook.com/VoterEducationCoalition
Some thoughts about the Recreation Center issue: At the monthly LAN meeting on January 3, 2013, the voting members present unanimously approved submittal of comments to the City Commission, raising concerns about the proposed 181,000 square foot regional recreation center slated to be built at off 6th street and George Williams Way in NW Lawrence. LAN’s concerns include the lack of open public bidding on the project; a lack of cost certification for eventual transfer of the completed $25 million dollar building, and the suggestion that given the scope, size and cost of the project, the Rec Center should be placed on the ballot for a public vote, in April.
A memo from LAN was submitted to the City Commission on 1/7/13, and appeared in the CC board packet on 1/8/13. All comments submitted to the City in that week’s packet can be viewed here: http://www.ci.lawrence.ks.us/assets/agendas/cc/2013/01-08-13/pl_sup-12-00225_communications.pdf
LAN’s comments garnered a significant amount of press coverage, including stories on Channel 6 news, front page headlines in the LJW, and a request for a LAN representative to appear of Town Topic, a monthly news show on Knology News Channel 6. Unfortunately, LAN’s statement also attracted some fairly harsh words from City Commissioner Hugh Carter, who responded at the meeting by publically questioning the “relevance” of LAN: www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/town_talk/2013/jan/9/recreation-center-debate-causes-commissi/ Commissioner Carter will be stepping down from the City Commission this spring to take a job with the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce.
Since the City’s meeting on January 8, much discussion about LAN has occurred, particularly online. Many people in Lawrence have expressed reservations about the rec center project. In fact, seventeen (17) letters to the editor, and fourteen (14) editorials, all questioning the wisdom of the rec center project, have been published in the LJWorld in last 15 months. Clearly, LAN is not alone in its concern about the details of this project.
The proposed contracts associated with the City’s portion of the Rock Chalk/rec center project are expected to be released at the February 19 City Commission meeting. This information will be shared with LAN reps and be posted on the LAN Facebook page as soon as it becomes available. If you have feedback to share about the rec center project, please come to a LAN meeting, please contact your LAN rep, or post your comments on our new Facebook page!
Hope to see folks at City Hall, a LAN meeting, or a neighborhood event, soon!