Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods (LAN) Meeting Minutes – July 7, 2016
LAN met at 7 p.m., July 7, 2016, in Meeting Room C of the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont Street with Chair Candice Davis presiding. The following attendees were present:
Bill Winkler, Barker Neighborhood Association; Bonnie Uffman, Barker Neighborhood Individual Member; Candice Davis, Oread Residents Association; Charlie Bryan, Lawrence- Douglas County Health Department and Monterey Neighborhood; Cindy Suenram, East Lawrence Individual Member; David Longhurst, Downtown Lawrence Inc.; Dietrich Earnhart, University Place Neighborhood Association; Gary Webber, Sunset Hill Neighborhood Association; Kirk McClure, Old West Lawrence Association; Kyle Thompson, Oread Residents Association; Larry McElwain, Lawrence Chamber of Commerce; Lisa ?????, West Hills; Melinda Henderson, Brook Creek Neighborhood Association; Michael Almon, Brook Creek Neighborhood Association; Robert Lewis, West Hills Homes Association; and Ted Boyle, North Lawrence Improvement Association.
June minutes. It was moved by David Longhurst, seconded by Kirk McClure, to approve the June 2016 minutes. Motion carried unanimously.
Treasurer’s report. Cindy Suenram reported that there is $2,162.74 in the LAN bank account.
Update from City Planning and Development Services. Staff not present to review July 7, 2016 Neighborhood Update for LAN, available at https://www.lawrenceks.org/assets/pds/devservices/LAN/2016/ds_LAN_july_2016.pdf.
Discussion of Letter to Lawrence City Commission regarding economic development contract. Kirk and Candice provided an update about reactions and follow up to the LAN letter sent in June to the Lawrence City Commission recommending the City terminate the economic development contract with the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce and hire two professional local economic development planners who would report to the City manager. (The Lawrence-Journal World reported on the letter and the Chamber’s response on June 13). Kirk and Candice met with city manager Tom Markus. They were also joined by James Haines, who wrote a letter to the editor (LJWorld.com, June 20) supporting the LAN position calling for termination of the economic development contract with the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce. Concerns about the contract with the Chamber include the possible conflict of interest, perceived inappropriate use of public funds, lack of transparency about use of public funds and poor performance. Candice explained that the City provide a report, prepared by Britt Crum-Cano, showing the breakdown of public funds spent on the Chamber and on the Economic Development Corporation Lawrence & Douglas County (EDC). Kirk explained that the Lawrence City Commission could request a performance audit of the contract to better understand the use of public funds and to provide benchmark comparisons and staffing/contracting arrangements for economic development strategies in other cities. As a next step, Candice suggested requesting the city commission have a study session on this issue. It was moved by Dietrich Earnhart, seconded by David Longhurst, to request a study session with the City in the months ahead regarding the Chamber and City policy regarding how they work together. Motion carried unanimously.
Update on the proposed Multimodal Facility at KU. Dietrich Earnhart gave a brief update on the proposed multimodal facility to be located in Lot 90 of the KU campus. KU on Wheels and the Lawrence Transit System will find out if they receive a federal TIGER grant for the project sometime in August or September of this year. Facility design would then be done in 2017 with construction beginning in 2018. Neighbors are concerned about the impact of increased bus traffic off of 18th and 19th Streets. Requests by neighbors for additional traffic analysis, to evaluate the impact for the entire 19th Street corridor from Iowa Street to future connections to the east (such as Venture Park), have not been fulfilled. Michael Almon explained that the proposal for locating a multimodal facility at this site is another indication of a piecemeal approach to intensifying the use of 19th Street. Michael reported that the “19th Street Corridor” Committee has been established to address this incremental approach and call on the City to respond to neighborhood concerns about upgrading the use of the corridor from O’Connell Road to Iowa Street. Michael reported that Brook Creek Neighborhood Association has stated opposition for five years to the City opening 19th Street to O’Connell Road.
Update on the Lawrence Loop Trail project. Charlie Bryan provided an update on efforts to finish a proposed 22-mile loop trail around Lawrence everyone could enjoy. Sunflower Foundation recently approved a grant to the City of Lawrence (in partnership with LiveWell Lawrence and Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department) to assist in construction with the Rock Chalk Park portion of the “Lawrence Loop.” Sunflower Foundation approved up to $110,000 for trail construction and an additional $10,000 for fundraising/promotion to support completion of the 22-mile loop trail. The Lawrence Journal-World reported about the funding announcement on June 20.
Update on storm water drainage issues in North Lawrence. Ted Boyle provided an update on the storm water drainage issue on RS5 zoned properties in North Lawrence. North Lawrence Improvement Association (NLIA) brought the issue of to the City Commission, and the commission directed planning staff to work with NLIA to address. NLIA would like storm water and drainage studies to be completed during the building permit process for RS5 zoned properties in areas in North Lawrence protected by the Kansas River levee. A study would clarify what can be built on a property and the percentage of the lot that can be built.
VEC update from Melinda Henderson. The Voter Education Coalition (VEC) will host a candidates forum on Sunday, July 10 from 3 to 6 p.m. at Lawrence City Hall. Candidates running in primaries for state and county offices were invited. The primary elections will be August 2.
The meeting adjourned at 8:58 p.m.