April Meeting Minutes

Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods

April 4, 2013

Capital City Bank

 In Attendance: Candice Davis, LAN Vice-Chair, Oread Residents Association; Tom Harper, Centennial Neighborhood Association; Linda Bush, Pinckney Neighborhood Association; Cindy Suenram, East Lawrence Neighborhood Association; CJ Brune, University Place Neighborhood Association; David Longhurst, Downtown Lawrence; Dickie Heckler, Brook Creek Neighborhood Association; Robert Lewis, West Hills Neighborhood Association; David Geyer, Indian Hills Neighborhood Association; Bill Winkler, Barker Neighborhood Association; Ted Boyle, North Lawrence Improvement Association; Leslie Soden, Individual (ELNA); KT Walsh, Individual (ELNA); Rich Wentzel, Individual (Community Radio); Ann Wilson, Individual (6News); Kris Adair, Individual (School Board); Jeremy Farmer, Individual (City Commission);

1. March minutes were approved.

2. Treasurer’s Report was accepted.

3. City Planning/Development Report (M. Leininger)

CDAC still has two openings for low-moderate income neighborhood representation. The 2013-2017 Consolidated Plan and 2013 Investment Summary are available online; public hearing at CDAC meeting April 11.

An occupancy text amendment was approved by City Commission on April 2. Number of unrelated occupants in single-family structures in non-RS or non-RM zoned areas (such as some industrial zoned areas) was reduced from 4 to 3.

The Planning Commission has recommended denial of the text amendment to remove the requirement that projects be consistent with Horizon 2020. It will likely go on consent agenda (for upholding PC decision) at a CC meeting later this month. It was moved (T. Harper/D. Heckler) and unanimously approved that LAN renew their letter opposing the text amendment, in support of the PC’s recommendation. The previous letter arrived too late for inclusion in the official record.

Planning Staff is working on Oread Design Guidelines; hopes to send to PC & HRC this month.

Upcoming parking study in Oread is the EPA’s program via the Sustainability Coordinator. Stakeholder meeting is all day April 17, with public portion 5-7pm.

4. Presentation: Rich Wentzel, Lawrence Low-Power FM Community Radio Station

LPFM results from 2011 National Community Radio Act. Previous recent attempt at community radio station in Lawrence was full-power and unsuccessful for various reasons including lack of available frequency. LPFM frequencies are at high end of FM band and three are available. The station would offer opportunity for neighborhoods to voice concerns or issues, also other community-based groups as well as artists, musicians, etc.  KT Walsh pointed out other communities use this sort of station as a route for alternative language programming otherwise unavailable. The planned 100-W transmitter would easily cover all of Lawrence, as well as some adjacent communities. Wentzel explained that community support will be critical to the application package, due to the FCC in October. He requested that neighborhood representatives ask their associations to sign letters of support. It was moved (CJ Brune/D. Heckler) and unanimously approved for LAN to also sign a support letter. Candy Davis, LAN vice-chair, signed the letter on behalf of the group.

Reps still needing their association approval to sign can return their letters to Laura Routh or scan and email a PDF to Rich (altairfoursystem@gmail.com).

5. Opportunity for increased communication between City Commission (CC) and LAN

Newly-elected City Commissioner Jeremy Farmer said he wishes for there to be more opportunities for concerns of the general public via NAs and LAN to be heard by the CC. He’d like to continue to attend LAN meetings, and would be amenable to having a small portion of the agenda devoted to neighborhoods’ airing issues they wish CC to consider. He will let the Laura know prior to LAN meetings which he can attend so the agenda can include a segment for this. It was suggested (C. Davis/ L. Soden) this be the last item on monthly agendas so it won’t derail other business and can cover any items not already mentioned.

Farmer said one issue he’d become aware of through meeting with Pinckney NA before the election was a need for city bus shelters at bus stops in neighborhoods. CJ Brune followed this with a description of a plan that the Coalition for Homeless Concerns and Trinity Lutheran Food Pantry are working on together to petition Public Transit Administrator Bob Nugent to convert the bus stop serving the Lawrence Community Shelter and Douglas County Jail be made the one stop where it will be free to get on the city bus. Membership present acclaimed the idea.

6. Sidewalk Study

KT Walsh distributed a letter she sent City Commissioner Mike Amyx about sidewalks. CJ Brune reported that the League of Women Voters (LWV) is doing a study. Concerns include burden of sidewalk construction/maintenance/repair on residents for whom such costs present a hardship. What is the threshold for the city taking responsibility? Dickie Heckler and Robert Lewis volunteered to work on behalf of LAN on this with CJ Brune and LWV.

7. Standing Sub-Committees

A proposal for four standing working sub-committees resulted from the Retreat in February. The focus of each was described and members were asked to volunteer according to their interests.

Image – (None yet, though many present agreed that Laura Routh is doing a fine job on this.)

Effectiveness – Tom Harper, Candy Davis, Linda Bush

Organization – Dickie Heckler, CJ Brune

Information – (none yet)

As several members were unable to attend, it was agreed we should revisit this in May for additional volunteers to sign on.

8. Rental Registration

In March, Laura Routh and Tom Harper attended a stakeholder meeting on rental registration facilitated by City Commissioner Mike Dever and Mayor Bob Schumm. It was a productive meeting, and the CC received the meeting report on March 26. Some concerns that recur involve funding the program and the potential burden on landlords with multi-unit developments. At a reported 20720 rental units and at $25/unit/year, the program should be able to support itself (D. Heckler). For a rental at $500/month, the annual fee will only be 0.25% of the annual gross profit for the landlord (C. Davis). It’s estimated there will be 6000 inspections per year, so a rotation is inevitable.

It is believed there are the three CC votes needed to pass it.

9. e-LAN and Discussion of Electronic Communications  There have been concerns that LAN risks compromising strategic positioning by allowing indiscriminate posting to the e-LAN list and some unexpected redistributions have been occurring.

Originally e-LAN was set up by David Burress with the intent that anyone could be on it, and it was never intended to be exclusive (D. Geyer/CJ Brune). All were cautioned that any email should not be considered private. David Longhurst stated that while he agrees it should be open to any interested member of the community, if someone is using the forum inappropriately the LAN chair should be able to police the membership. CJ Brune agreed, and added that annually the recipients list should be sent to all e-LAN members so those participating will know exactly who receives messages. No vote was taken, but these positions were generally agreed upon by those present.

10. Additional Concerns/Issues

Parking Issues in East Lawrence

Cindy Suenram stated that some residents in East Lawrence can’t park due to library staff parking on Rhode Island St.  since the library has temporarily relocated to the former Borders site. There is concern that parking problems downtown will only worsen due to pending residential infill and luxury apartment developments. The opening of the city pool may potentially spread similar parking woes to Old West Lawrence. KT Walsh pointed out that the library director told ELNA that library staff has numerous incentives to reduce their parking impact, which is encouraging, but other solutions are being explored. Any ideas on how to manage this worsening issue are welcome (C. Suenram).

Ted Boyle noted two concerns he has.

  1. He believes that when a neighborhood joins LAN they must have by-laws, LAN must vote to accept the neighborhood into the membership, and they must pay dues. He would like us to be diligent about all of these criteria.

It was pointed out that some longtime LAN member neighborhoods may not have by-laws. Some felt those neighborhoods might be grandfathered in, others felt they should come up with by-laws. No resolution was reached. (Editor’s note–there is no such requirement in the LAN bylaws). 

  1. Ted alleged that sometime since the last LAN meeting, LAN Chair Laura Routh wrote a letter to the forum in the Lawrence Journal World and signed off as LAN without it having been voted on by membership. Such use of LAN as a personal soapbox would not be appropriate. No specific evidence was offered; the letter was apparently in the last 3 weeks or so. Laura Routh was not present to comment due to illness.

(Recorder’s note:  Laura did write a letter to the editor that was published March 23, but it had no reference to LAN.)

Meeting adjourned ~9pm

Reps: Please send an alternate if you can’t attend so that Neighborhood Associations can be heard.

 

Submitted by:

Linda Bush (ad hoc recorder)

April 5, 2013

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