LAN met at 7 p.m., March 3, 2016, in Meeting Room C at the Lawrence Public Library with Chair Candice Davis presiding. The following attendees were present:
Aaron Hachmeister, City of Lawrence Police; Becky Pepper, City of Lawrence Planning and Development Services; Bill Winkler, Barker Neighborhood Association; Brenda Nunez, East Lawrence Neighborhood Association; Candice Davis, Oread Residents Association; Charlie Bryan, Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department and Monterey Neighborhood; Cindy Suenram, East Lawrence Individual Member; Courtney Shipley, Dad Perry Park/Kasold; Dietrich Earnhart, University Place Neighborhood Association; Jim Carpenter, Planning Commission Member; Jon Josserand, Old West Lawrence Association; Kirk McClure, Old West Lawrence Association; Kyle Thompson, Oread Neighborhood Association; Lisa Larsen, Lawrence City Commission; Melinda Henderson, Brook Creek Neighborhood Association; Phil Collison, East Lawrence Neighborhood Association; Robert Baker, Lawrence Affordable Housing Coalition and Tenants to Homeowners; Robert Lewis, West Hills Homes Association; Shannon Spradling, Sunset Hill Neighborhood Association; Steve Braswell, Pinckney Neighborhood Association
- Send photos to Candice if would like them to be placed on LAN Facebook page or website
- Next month, Megan Gilliland, City of Lawrence communications manager, will speak about Lawrence Listens; other future speaker suggestions include the following
- Tamara Cash – Community Village Lawrence
- Eileen Horn – city/county sustainability re: STAR Community Rating System
- Dani Dressler – CDAC (Community Development Advisory Committee)
February minutes. It was moved by Kirk McClure, seconded by Steve Braswell, to approve February 2016 minutes. Motion carried unanimously.
Treasurer’s report. Cindy Suenram reported that there is $ 2,123.82 in the LAN bank account. Collection of annual LAN membership dues for 2016 has begun. Currently, seven neighborhood associations have paid dues.
Presentation by Robert Baker, Lawrence Affordable Housing Coalition and Tenants to Homeowners
Robert Baker shared several handouts (attached) and provided an overview of historical and recent efforts to address housing affordability. Baker reported that among the several definitions of affordable housing that exist, he prefers the 1937 federal definition that stipulates that someone should pay no more than 30% of their gross monthly income on housing costs. As a financial counselor, Baker asserts that the farther one gets beyond that 30 percent, the less tenable it is for the person to retain housing (rental or owned). Kirk McClure questioned Baker regarding the practice by Tenants to Homeowners to prevent TTH homeowners to earn from appreciation of the value of their home over time. McClure suggests that mortgage revenue bonds could be used. Baker responded that MRB loans have limitations. McClure stated that more housing is not needed. Rehab of existing housing and increase in income levels should be addressed. Davis closed the discussion.
- On April 23, 2016, Henderson spoke to city commission about Senate Bill 366, which would prohibit inclusionary zoning (minutes available here). Henderson mentioned that Topeka Capital-Journal reported (story available here) that the Kansas Association of Realtors asked that the bill be passed because of discussions in Lawrence about inclusionary zoning as a tool to address housing affordability. Henderson expressed concern that the City did not provided testimony in opposition to the bill and reported that the planning director was aware of the legislation.
- Henderson also provided a brief update about House Bill 2665, which would prohibit cities and counties from adopting local laws that allow periodic inspection of rental housing without a search warrant, and it would declare any existing ordinances that don’t meet the bill’s standards null and void. The bill is supported by the Kansas Association of Realtors and the Kansas Landlord Associations. The bill would require an administrative search warrant when a tenant can’t be contacted or denies permission for the inspector to enter the rental property.
Update from City Planning and Development Services. Becky Pepper reviewed the Neighborhood Update for LAN March 3, 2016, available here.
Pepper highlighted the following items: CDAC has two vacancies, the March Planning Commission hold a joint meeting with the Historic Resources Commission to consider the Oread Design Guidelines, the mid-month Planning Commission (March 9) will be with the Sustainability Advisory Board to discuss Horizon 2020 Environmental Chapter (Chapter 16), the urban agriculture text amendment passed the Planning Commission unanimously, the Horizon 2020 steering committee will convene on March 7. For more information on matters related to Planning and Development Services, contact Becky Pepper at firstname.lastname@example.org or 785-832-3153.
Discussion of draft Guidelines for Neighborhood Associations. Candice Davis led discussion on the draft Guidelines for Neighborhood Associations. Language about nonprofits needs to be addressed. Neighborhood associations can be unincorporated. Jon Josserand will review for legal language. It was moved by Melinda Henderson, seconded by Shannon Spradling, to provide more time for review, including review by Josserand for legal language, and for consideration at April meeting. No further discussion. Motion carried unanimously.
Parking code review. Revision of parking standards for duplex homes is not yet on Planning Commission agenda. Shannon Spradling (Sunset Hills) expressed preference for tandem parking over street parking. Very few four bedroom duplex homes exist in Sunset Hills. Candice Davis explained that tandem parking is not practiced by many duplexes today as occupants of larger duplexes are usually unrelated (not families), and park on streets which causes crowding of neighborhood streets. Oread Design Guidelines would address this by ensuring adequate off street parking for duplex properties.
Neighborhood overlay district. The draft Oread Design Guidelines will be considered during the March 21 Planning Commission meeting. The agenda and meeting materials, including the guidelines, text amendment and overlay district, are available here.
Voter Education Coalition. Melinda Henderson suggested that LAN members might want to focus on the county commission election in November. Nancy Thellman will run again. Jim Flory will not run again. Michelle Derusseau will run as a Republican for Flory’s seat (Third District). Derusseau has worked on the Lawrence police facility issue. Henderson has not heard of any Democrats running for Flory’s seat. The deadline to file is June 1.
HERE Project. The City Commission is expected to continue discussions of the parking situation at the troubled HERE Project at 1111 Indiana Street. The HERE development group will work with City staff to develop alternative plans to a robotic parking garage, which is no longer feasible because the robotic company filed bankruptcy.
Pedestrian-Bicycle Issues Task Force. Charlie Bryan provided a brief update on the work of the task force since Marilyn Hull, task force chair, presented draft recommendations to LAN in February. The task force finalizes their report to the commission on March 1. The final report is available here. The task force is requesting LAN to write a letter supporting the task force recommendations. Bryan will develop a draft letter of support for consideration during the April meeting.
Update from Lawrence Police Department. Aaron Hachmeister provided the following update:
- The Kansas Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding breathalyzers and other forms of blood-alcohol tests will not have a major impact locally because officers in Lawrence and Douglas County routinely obtain warrants to have blood tests taken whenever a driver refuses to take a preliminary blood test.
- This will be Aaron’s last meeting. Will go back to Patrol Division on April 17. Officer Amber Rhoden will be Aaron’s replacement. Rhoden is a member of the Douglas County Crisis Intervention Training Council.
- Bill Winkler reported that the redevelopment of the Sunrise Garden Center is slowly moving forward. The site will be used to provide education services, small agriculture and tofu production.
- Cindy Suenram reported that the March 8 special meeting of the ELNA Board has been cancelled. Representatives of the East Ninth Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) will present the latest plan options at the March 7 ELNA meeting. Instead of bike lanes, recent plans focus on a shared use path. These plans will lead to a loss of 45 parking spaces and 11 trees (younger trees that could be replaced). Next CAC meeting is March 30.
- Steve Braswell reported on the Crisis Intervention Center open house/charrette held February 9.The event, hosted by Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center and Treanor Architects, invited the public to provide input on the design and goals of the center. The center would provide a local facility where those experiencing a mental health crisis could stay and receive treatment overnight or for a more extended period. Braswell expressed concern that funding for the crisis intervention center has been linked to the expansion of the jail. Braswell asked if LAN could invite guest speaker(s) to come and talk about the jail expansion.
- Charlie Bryan thanked Commissioner Larsen and Candice Davis for their support of establishing a citizen steering committee to oversee the update process for the Lawrence Parks and Recreation Master Plan. The listing of steering committee appointments are available here.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:55 p.m.