Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods January 3, 2012 Capital City Bank
PRESENT: Laura Routh, LAN Chair; Candice Davis, LAN Vice Chair, Oread Residents Association; Dan Dannenberg, LAN Treasurer, Centennial Neighborhood Association; Steve Braswell, LAN Secretary, Pinckney neighborhood Association; Heidi Simon, West Lawrence Neighborhood Association; Cindy Suenram, East Lawrence Neighborhood Association; Amy McCurdy, North Lawrence Improvement Association; Robert Lewis, West Hills Neighborhood Association; David Longhurst, Downtown Lawrence; Dickie Heckler, Brook Creek Neighborhood Association; Melinda Henderson, Brook Creek Neighborhood Association; KT Walsh, East Lawrence Neighborhood Association; Aaron Paden, East Lawrence Neighborhood Association; Sean Williams, Hillcrest Neighborhood Association; Kirk McClure, Old West Lawrence neighborhood Association; Ted Boyle, North Lawrence Improvement Association; Linda Bush, Pinckney Neighborhood Association; CJ Brune, Centennial Neighborhood Association; Tom Harper, Centennial neighborhood Association; Leslie Soden, East Lawrence Neighborhood Association; Deron Belt, Individual; Liz Zamora, 6 News; Bonnie Uffmas; Michelle Leininger, City of Lawrence
Agenda was reordered at the request of Deron Belt
1. December minutes approved, unanimously.
2. LAN Treasure’s report
Dan Dannenberg: Dan distributed the 2011 financial report, and provided a LAN Treasure’s report: we have $1,751.68 in our account. 2013 membership dues are due 1/31/13. Please send checks c/o Dan Dannenberg. $5 individual membership; $25 per neighborhood organization.
3. Neighborhood updates: Several people asked why this item was on the agenda, given that the group had decided previously to have NA’s submit updates by email, to save time at the meeting for other discussions. Laura explained that she had received a request to include it on the agenda, and would, in the future, eliminate it if that was the will of the group. Laura noted that prior to the meeting she had received only one neighborhood update by email prior to the meeting, from Kathy Bruner, Raintree Place: Kathy reports that “2 homes have sold this winter–one yet to sell–all under former market values. The good news, 4 toddlers for Hillcrest! Kathy said she testified before the planning commission against boardinghouse zoning for Valley Lane–our adjoining street. She extends her thanks to Gwen for her support.”
ELNA and Brookcreek submitted their hardcopy newsletters as updates, and these were distributed. The chair reminded all NA reps that if they had a pressing issue they wanted to discuss or provide an update on, it could always be added to the agenda.
There was discussion about the value of neighborhood updates, and there was a motion (McClure/Brune) to strike it as an agenda item for the January meeting. The motion passed, with opposition from Ted Boyle, NLIA and Linda Bush, Pinckney NA. Ted expressed that he did not have time to write and send updates.
4. Update from Michelle Leininger, City of Lawrence planning staff.
Michelle provided a written update of planning issues, including a neighborhood map. She encouraged neighborhood associations and groups to provide her with updated contact information. She indicated that if the city’s list showed a neighborhood had not provided a contact since 2010, that group/contact risked being deleted from the City’s list. She explained that there was no need for folks to try and update boundary information. See the list at http://www.lawrenceks.org/pds/neighborhoodcontacts
Michelle explained that she was in the process of updating the City’s neighborhood website and would post the static map, as previously requested by LAN, in the coming month.
5. Website update:
Deron and Tom worked with Leslie to create a Facebook page for LAN, and also a new LAN website: https://lawrenceneighborhoods.wordpress.com
Leslie said that there will be a $30 website hosting fee as well, that LAN will have to pay direction. It was moved (Heckler/Williams) and passed unanimously to pay Leslie $300 for her work.
6. Rock Chalk Village Rec Center Update
Laura explained, briefly, the status of the project and reminded folks that the next step was a Special Use Permit for the site, to be approved at the following week’s City Commission meeting. She reminded LAN members that previous correspondence, which LAN members had directed Gwen to send to the City, had never been sent, thus LAN had, to date, made no official statement on the rec center project.
Laura asked the group if they wished to make a statement to the City about the project. Kirk McClure explained that he had met, as an individual, with KU Endowment Association, and asked the following questions: why is it a no-bid contract? Why are being asked to accept a turnkey facility with no oversight of final product? Where are taxpayer protections?
The group discussed the rec center project at length, including concerns related to the lack of a public vote, questionable prioritization of the project in terms of other needed city services and infrastructure. Melinda Henderson said she was concerned about the west side 20 acres of the site which was slated to be rezoned but the reason for the rezoning, and the resulting land use, was not clear. She said the league of Women Voters have received no answers to questions they have submitted to the City Commission on these issues.
Kirk suggested that LAN send a letter with comments to the City Commission regarding the rec center project. It was moved (Lewis/Heckler to have Laura draft a letter with LAN concerns. All were in favor. Laura agreed to work with the executive board members and Kirk so that they could review a draft of the letter before it was sent.
7. Text Amendment proposals (to limit required adherence to H2020, and the requirement for retail market studies): http://www.lawrenceks.org/assets/agendas/cc/2012/08-21- 12/pl_initiate_text_amendments_staff_memo.html
The City Commission initiated the question of removing the necessity to comply with the Horizon 2020 planning document regarding zoning issues and suggested the development code reinforce the idea that Horizon 2020 is merely a guide. The City Commission also asked staff to look at possibly removing the requirement for a market study for developments greater than 50,000 square feet and instead rely on surveys conducted by city staff.
Michelle said city staff currently do visual checks of what business are open or closed but make no analysis.
The group discussed the need for retail studies to be more independent, and comprehensive, than is currently done. The comment was made that currently, staff may not be fully empowered to honestly assess status of retail development, or indicate when retail is overbuilt. Kirk said we need to create a political environment where planning staff can express professional opinions.
Discussion brought up the view that we are all stakeholders in our community’s development and the public should be more involved in the development process and mechanisms need to be instituted so the public has a seat at the table when these discussions are going on.
Michelle confirmed that this item would be reviewed, next, by the planning commission, likely in February. It was decided that Laura will work on a draft letter expressing LAN’s concerns with diminishing the importance of Horizon 2020 regarding rezoning and that we believe the requirement for professional market studies remain in place. LAN will keep an eye on these text amendment proposals and we will review at a future meeting.
8. Hot Topic: Downtown development overlay/plan:
The issue of a downtown development overlay plan was discussed. Concerns include: downtown could be more pedestrian friendly, we don’t want more taller buildings, downtown could be more family friendly with more park areas and family events, we want to keep the Post Office downtown and there is a need for smaller retail spaces at
more reasonable rents.
The group voted to convene a subcommittee to study this issue, and develop recommendations to be brought back to the LAN meeting. The subcommittee will consist of Linda Bush; KT Walsh; Kirk McClure, Dickie Heckler, Cindy Suenram and David Longhurst. They will provide an update at the February meeting.
9. Saturday, Feb. 16 LAN Retreat update and vote
The group voted to reduce the length of the retreat to no more than 3.5 hours, in the afternoon (12-4 PM). It was suggested that participants review LAN’s mission statement and bylaws before the meeting.
Dan indicated his concern that LAN was drifting away from safety and security and preservation of the integrity of neighborhoods to larger, less relevant issues. Linda asked that we consider our goals as LAN, and focus on developing criteria to use as we decide what we wish to expend our energies and political capitol on. She said that LAN and the city neighborhood groups are the spokesmen for the neighborhoods.
Laura will meet with Steve Lopes to discuss the structure of the retreat and will send an agenda and schedule out in late January. The retreat will be held Saturday, February 16, at the Van Go Arts center. It was moved (Harper/Heckler) to approve a $50 donation to Van Go for the use of their meeting space at 7th and New Hampshire.
10. Discussion of LAN list serve, branding and communication brainstorm
Laura shared the compiled list of email addresses with the group and asked for corrections. Laura will send an announcement out to the ELAN list and ask for folks to update their info or request removal. It was suggested that LAN continue the use of ELAN for broad announcements and news, and maintain that list’s current openness, but also create a subgroup email list serve consisting only of empowered neighborhood LAN representatives and board members. Laura will work on this and have it up and running by the February meeting. Laura explained that she will do a monthly newsletter for the ELAN list and will add updates and announcements to the Facebook page as needed.
Meeting adjourned at 9:00 p.m.
Next LAN meeting at Capital City Bank, 8th and New Hampshire, 7:00 pm, Wednesday February 6, 2013.
REPS: If you can’t attend a meeting, please send alternate representative so Neighborhood Associations are heard.
Submitted by: Steve Braswell, LAN Secretary