March 2013 Newsletter

Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods  (LAN) March 2013 Newsletter

Greetings LAN members and friends, 

Here is an update on neighborhood and community issues. If you have questions or concerns, please let us know. If you have items you’d like added to a future monthly newsletter, please send them to laurid@hotmail.com

Laura Routh, Chair, LAN

785-979-3918

Community Radio: An invitation to LAN:  In the mid-1990s, KAW Community Radio had a LAN Coordinator on the air on a regular basis, sharing important information about neighborhood projects. A new community radio project is in the works, and LAN has been invited to participate! Lawrence Low Power FM Community Radio Station (LPFM) is asking neighborhoods to sign letters of support, to enable the station to obtain an FCC license. Please share this information with your neighborhood association and consider sending  letters of support–learn more at the April LAN meeting. LPFW contact Rich Wentzel will be at the April LAN meeting to provide more information on this project.

Downtown redevelopment overlay:  LAN members Kirk McClure, Cindy Suenram, Dickie Heckler and Linda Bush attended the 7:30 AM joint meeting of HRC and PC meeting on March 13, 2013.  They report that LAN’s presence was certainly noticed by the various commissioners at the meeting. The commissions asked for LAN’s comments even though public comment was not on the agenda. This will continue to be a hot issue for both commissions and at least one more joint meeting will be held to discuss it, on April 10, 7:30 AM. If your neighborhood is` interested in participating in LAN’s subcommittee on the downtown redevelopment overlay, please contact Kirk MCClure: mcclurefamily@sbcglobal.net 

Sidewalks: In many Lawrence neighborhoods, sidewalks are in very poor condition, or are simply non-existent. We have sidewalks in need repair or replacement; incomplete pedestrian routes, interrupted sidewalks and dangerous sidewalks with no separation from high speed arterials. The City continues to grant variances allowing sidewalks on only one side on the street in new developments. There are vast inequities between different areas of town. There is also ongoing disagreement about personal responsibility versus city responsibility in regard to sidewalk maintenance and repair. There has been renewed interest, recently, about sidewalks, and the LAN Chair proposes a discussion at our April meeting, regarding a possible collaboration with League of Women Voters and other interested community organizations. Shall we convene a permanent, ongoing, single issue citizen’s committee devoted to sidewalks, to study and research the issue, and come up with a unified sidewalk proposal addressing all key issues? Interested? Email Laura Routh (lauridi@hotmail.com) or come to the April 4 LAN meeting to discuss this issue further.

Rental Registration update: On March 13, LAN members (Laura Routh and Tom Harper) participated in a stakeholder’s meeting with Mayor Schumm, Vice Mayor Dever, City staff, and a number of landlord and community representatives regarding rental registration and inspection. As a result of that meeting, Staff provided the following memo: http://www.ci.lawrence.ks.us/assets/agendas/cc/2013/03-26-13/pl_ord_8840_staff_memo.pdf  The City Commission will receive this memo at their March 26 meeting and we encourage neighborhood association members to attend and speak in support of the City’s momentum on this issue. We anticipate that rental registration will be addressed again when new City Commissioners are sworn in, in April. LAN is thankful for the efforts of staff and Commissioners Schumm and Dever, as we move forward on improving the safety & quality of rental housing.

Community Development Advisory Committee (CDAC): This city advisory board, which oversees allocation of funding for specified neighborhood coordinators, has two vacancies. Eligibility requirements exist for this board. Contact Danelle Dresslar, 832.3108; ddresslar@lawrenceks.org . The next CDAC meeting will be held on Thursday, March 28, 2013
5:30 pm, in the City Commission Room, City Hall, 6 East 6th Street. At their recent meeting, the board addressed cuts in CDBG funding for neighborhoods: www.lawrenceks.org/planning/DevServices/cdac_03_14_13.pdf

4 priority areas (from retreat) – new LAN subcommittees forming! At the LAN goal setting retreat held earlier this season, the group identified 4 areas that LAN needs to work on. At our April LAN meeting, we will discuss the creation of up to four (4) standing sub-committees. The priority areas listed below need not be the name of the subcommittee—naming rights and identification of priority tasks would go to those who volunteer to serve. Please come to the April LAN meeting with ideas and a willingness to volunteer:

IMAGE: This subcommittee could work on LAN “branding”, press, and social media interaction and the development of outreach methods and materials, to ensure that our message reaches the community.

EFFECTIVENESS: This subcommittee could work on ensuring that LAN gets a seat at the table when city plans and policies are being discussed. This subcommittee would engage elected officials and be diplomats for our cause(s), and help LAN improve its ability to mobilize, stay on target, and address priority issues.

ORGANIZATION: This subcommittee could work on LAN’s organizational discipline and processes, including internal communications; meeting process; transitions, and mentoring. This subcommittee may address annual LAN elections, goal setting retreat, meeting structure, by-laws and other organizational issues.

INFORMATION: This subcommittee could help LAN members track and share information about City planning, policies and regulations, and help track budgets; city contacts and city processes.

Text Amendment – Development Code adherence to Comprehensive Plan: On March 25, LAN submitted comments in memo form to the planning commission objecting to a proposed change to the development code that would eliminate adherence to the comprehensive plan. Comments were submitted by both LAN and the League of Women Voters: http://www.lawrenceks.org/planning/documents/PC13/March_Item7.pdf . A copy of LAN’s memo will also be posted on the LAN website: https://lawrenceneighborhoods.wordpress.com

Upcoming City commission election, LAN questionnaire, and a new PAC:

LAN sent a questionnaire to all City Commission candidates; you can read their answers here: https://lawrenceneighborhoods.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/candidate-answers-to-lan-questionnaire/

Advanced voting is underway, and the general election for the City Commission, School Board, and school bond vote will occur April 2!  Find your polling place and learn more, here:  http://www.douglas-county.com/online_services/cl/ve/ve_electionresearch.aspx?category_id=citizens

In case you haven’t heard, a new political action committee formed recently in Lawrence: http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/town_talk/2013/mar/19/business-oriented-political-action-commi/

Several letters to the Editor (one written by the LAN Chair, as an individual citizen) were published about this PAC: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2013/mar/23/letter-pac-influence/?letters_to_editor and http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2013/mar/22/letter-clear-choice/?letters_to_editor 

PLEASE VOTE! 

DRAFT April LAN Meeting Agenda: LAN will hold its monthly meeting Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 7 PM in the bank conference room of the Hobbs Taylor Loft building on New Hampshire Street, downtown. Please join us!  If you have items you’d like to on the LAN monthly meeting agenda, please email them to lauridi@hotmail.com, or ask your neighborhood LAN rep to bring them to the meeting.

  1. Approval of March Minutes
  2. Receipt of treasurer report
  3. Update from Michelle Leininger, City of Lawrence
  4. Four (4) priority areas and subcommittee formation
  5. Neighborhood update meeting format discussion (Tom Harper)
  6. Discussion of sidewalk proposal (Laura)
  7. Radio Station request for participation (Rich W)
  8. Updates on Rental registration, downtown redevelopment overlay and text amendment
  9. Pending issues at City Hall, if any
  10. e-LAN and discussion of electronic communication

Check out LAN online, at our facebook page!  https://www.facebook.com/LawrenceNeighborhoods

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