Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods (LAN) Meeting Minutes – May 5, 2016
LAN met at 6 p.m., May 5, 2016, in the Peoples Bank conference room located inside Sandbar Subs, 745 New Hampshire Street with Chair Candice Davis presiding. The following attendees were present:
Becky Pepper, City of Lawrence Planning and Development Services; Bill Winkler, Barker Neighborhood Association; Bonnie Uffman, 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; Dietrich Earnhart, University Place Neighborhood Association; Jim Carpenter, Planning Commission Member; Karen Heeb, South Siders N 1300 Road; Kirk McClure, Old West Lawrence Association; Kyle Thompson, Oread Neighborhood Association; Lisa Larsen, Lawrence City Commission; Logan Saman, Lawrence Public Library; Melinda Henderson, Brook Creek Neighborhood Association; Nikki Wentling, Lawrence Journal-World (City Hall Reporter); Robert Lewis, West Hills Homes Association; Steve Braswell, Pinckney Neighborhood Association; Steve Evans, University Place Neighborhood Association; Tom Markus, City of Lawrence (City Manager); Zee Galliano, Oread Neighborhood
April minutes. It was moved by Cindy Suenram, seconded by David Longhurst, to approve April 2016 minutes. Motion carried unanimously.
Treasurer’s report. Cindy Suenram reported that there is $ 2,208.82 in the LAN bank account.
Guest speaker, Lawrence city manager Tom Markus. Candice introduced new Lawrence city manager Tom Markus who spoke briefly of his background including his time as city manager of Iowa City, Iowa. Markus has been involved in city management since 1973.
Markus said one thing the city commission brought up during his interview was their desire for a city manager that would not be hesitant to express an opinion. He said he thinks that is an important function due to the commission not being professionals in city management and because they look to his position for technical expertise. He said he sees his role as coordinating between city professional staff and the city commission. Markus said the role of the city commission is to make decisions by balancing what is best for the community. He said it is important for the commission to hear from the community before making decisions, but commissioners should not give their opinions until final information is shared. Markus spoke about several issues facing Lawrence. He said his general view is Lawrence has been too soft on enforcing regulations. He said he thinks sidewalk maintenance is one area where this happens. Markus spoke briefly about affordable housing. He said it is important for this to be dispersed throughout the city.
Candice said she was glad to hear Markus would express himself and opened the floor for questions. Markus was asked what he thought about using permit parking in the Oread neighborhood. He said that could be a useful strategy. If not implemented, parking problems will move from one block to another. Several members of LAN spoke about what they see as past issues that may have caused City and LAN disagreements. Steve and Kirk spoke about the city planning staff as being largely advocates for developers rather than looking out for the community as a whole. Steve spoke about sidewalks. Sidewalks should be seen as a public infrastructure resource and the responsibility for their maintenance should not fall onto individual property owners. Sidewalks are not an asset for the property owner but rather a community asset requiring shared cost by the community. The decision to place the financial burden on property owners is not made because it is the right thing to do but because it is financially expedient. Melinda said she would like to see better enforcement of the city fireworks regulations. Robert said he would like to see the city do more curb repair if they were going to get more forceful on sidewalk maintenance. Everyone thanked Markus for coming and invited him to come back again.
Update from City Planning and Development Services. Becky Pepper reviewed the Neighborhood Update for LAN May 5, 2016, available at
https://www.lawrenceks.org/assets/pds/devservices/LAN/2016/ds_LAN_may_2016.pdf. Pepper highlighted the rental licensing update; The City has developed a website devoted to the Rental Licensing Program, which can be viewed at http://lawrenceks.org/pds/rental-licensing. Pepper also mentioned that during May the Planning Commission will consider three final development plans, consider one conditional use permit and discuss text amendments related to parking and access standards (including parking configurations for duplexes) and consider one text amendment related to valet parking. Pepper also pointed out that the next Horizon 2020 Steering Committee meeting is planned for June 13 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the City Commission room at City Hall. Lastly, Pepper reported that, at their April 26, 2016 meeting, the City Commission adopted the Urban Agriculture text amendments with the exception of the slaughtering of animals.
Update on the proposed Intermodal Facility at KU. Steve Evans, president of the University Place Neighborhood Association, provided an update on the neighborhood meeting about the intermodal transit center/parking structure to be located in Lot 90, south of the new KU School of Business. The meeting, held at Cordley Elementary School on Thursday, April 28, involved consultants for the City and KU presenting conceptual plans without any visual representations of the proposed project. Neighbors would like to see a visual model. The mayor and other commissioners were also present during the meeting.
Update on RS5 zoning in the North Lawrence neighborhood. After discussion at their April 19, 2016 meeting, the City Commission initiated a code amendment, to be considered at a future City Commission meeting, to require that a storm water grading plan be submitted in conjunction with development projects for RS5 and RS3 zoned properties in North Lawrence in the areas protected by the levee.
Update on HERE project. The City Commission approved the project for 518 parking spaces. The developer is looking for additional parking in order to fully open up all apartments; rumor is they’ve struck a deal with KU; say they want it all done by end of year; do have approval for 24/7 valet service; will be fined $5,000 if valet not provided during a 48 hour period. Materials for the valet parking text amendment will be on the Planning Commission agenda, available online at https://www.lawrenceks.org/boards/planning-commission/agendas.
Update on Oread Guidelines and overlay district. The Planning Commission and the Historic Resources Commission held a joint meeting on March 21, 2016, to discuss the proposed Oread Neighborhood Design Guidelines. Both commissions recommended approval of the guidelines and associated rezoning requests to implement them. After the joint meeting, City staff discovered that notice requirements for the rezoning effort were not properly followed and another hearing must now be held.
Legislature update. Melinda Henderson reported that language was added to Senate Bill 366 to allow a property owner to enter into a voluntary agreement with a political subdivision that would affect the amounts of rent charged or purchase price in return for grants or incentives provided by the political subdivision to the owner. Henderson also mentioned that city manager Tom Markus has ideas for encouraging participation in these voluntary agreements. Henderson also reported that Luke Bell, lobbyist for the Kansas Association of REALTORS, is moving to Illinois. In local matters, Henderson reported that the city commission will discuss enforcement of the fireworks ban at their next meeting. Finally, Henderson provided a brief update from the Voter Education Coalition (VEC); for the county commission, both political parties are now expected to have primaries in August. The crisis intervention center and expansion of the county jail are likely to be significant issues. If interested in participating in VEC, contact Henderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update on the Pedestrian-Bicycle Issues Task Force. Charlie Bryan reported that the PBITF report was well received by the city commission during their May 3 meeting. The highest priority recommendation is to create a consolidated transportation commission. Commissioner Larsen called for creative solutions to the sidewalk repair issue.