Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods (LAN) Meeting Minutes – November 3, 2016
LAN met at 7 p.m., November 3, 2016, in Meeting Room A of the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont Street with Chair Candice Davis presiding. The following attendees were present:
Bonnie Uffman, Barker Neighborhood resident; Candice Davis, Oread Residents Association; Charlie Bryan, Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department / Monterey Neighborhood; David Longhurst, Downtown Lawrence Inc.; Jane Gibson, Barker Neighborhood Association; Jeannie Pease, Sunset Hills; Jim Carpenter, Planning Commission Member; Karen Kressin, Old West Lawrence Association (substituting for Kirk McClure); Kyle Thompson, Oread Neighborhood Association; Lisa Larsen, Lawrence City Commission; Rick Lahm, West Hills Homes Association; Robert Lewis, West Hills Homes Association; Steve Evans, University Place Neighborhood Association; Virgil Dean, Westwood.
October minutes. It was moved by David Longhurst, seconded by Robert Lewis, to approve the October 2016 minutes. Motion carried unanimously.
Treasurer’s report. No treasurer report presented because treasurer not present.
Guest speaker. No guest speaker tonight. Future speakers might include Tamara Cash (Community Village Lawrence) or Eileen Horn (Sustainability Coordinator). No speaker to be schedule for December meeting due to annual election of officers.
Update from City Planning and Development Services. Becky Pepper not available to review the monthly Neighborhood Update for LAN, available at https://lawrenceks.org/pds/Lan16/. Jim Carpenter, Planning Commissioner provided a few updates. Planning Commission meetings will be moved to third Wednesday evenings to allow more time for commissioners to review meeting packets. Also being adjusted is the schedule for receiving written communications, which will be due by 10 a.m. on the Tuesday of the week in which the Planning Commission is scheduled. Planning Commission has forwarded recommendation to Lawrence City Commission to consider ordinance to modify the notice area for all development applications that require mailed notice to include courtesy letters to property owners within 400 feet of the subject property. This would be a change to the current notice area, which is 200 feet.
Upcoming LAN elections. A few people have been contacted by the nominating committee, chaired by Kirk McClure. Currently, the chair and secretary positions are still open. Kirk and Cindy have volunteered to continue serving as vice-chair and treasurer, respectively.
Chamber agreement. During City budget deliberations, earlier this year, LAN took a position to not fund the Chamber. The City Commission approved budget did, however, including funding for the Chamber. LAN then requested a review of the agreement between the City and Chamber. City manager Tom Markus is expected to complete the review by year end.
Intermodal transit facility. Steve Evans provided a brief update on the effort to locate the facility on Lot 90 at the University of Kansas. The federal grant for the project was denied. The location is no longer expected to become a transit hub. Lawrence Transit is expected to continue searching for a central transit hub location with the goal of getting all city bus routes to half-hour service or less.
HERE project. Candy provided an update on the HERE project. The Oread neighborhood has made huge sacrifices. On-street parking has worsened. The City Commission has approved the demolition of two houses to expand a nearby parking lot to provide additional parking spaces for the HERE project. Residents of the Oread neighborhood accept that structures will be torn down, but they were concerned that the parking lot would be rezoned for higher density development. To address this concern, the City Commission approved the project but also required that a specific notation be included in the comprehensive plan amendment to indicate the exception being made would only allow for a surface parking lot.
Parking code review. Efforts to review the City’s parking code are likely to be deferred until completion of a comprehensive study of the parking system serving downtown, East Lawrence and neighborhoods surrounding the University of Kansas.
Oread Design Guidelines. The City Commission is expected to consider the Oread Design Guidelines at their meeting on November 15. The guidelines have been recommended for approval by the Historic Resources Commission and the Planning Commission.
East Lawrence development in warehouse district. The City Commission approved a 50 percent tax abatement for a brewery/apartment project at 826 Pennsylvania Street in East Lawrence’s Warehouse Arts District. The County Commission approved an 85 percent tax abatement for the project. The tax abatement request is also expected to be considered by the Lawrence Board of Education.
Sidewalk maintenance. Bonnie Uffman expressed concerned with City’s plan to increase enforcement of current sidewalk repair ordinance, which requires adjacent property owners to pay for repair of sidewalks. Enforcement of the ordinance raises significant concerns about equity. It is also questionable whether state law requires this. Other Kansas communities budget for sidewalk maintenance. Charlie Bryan offered to reach out to the Public Health Law Center (PHLC) for clarification of legal questions around the proposal. Charlie will also consult with members of PedCo (also known as the Lawrence Pedestrian Coalition) before submitting the request. The following questions were developed for consideration by the PHLC:
- Does Kansas state law control how Lawrence must proceed regarding sidewalk repairs, or does Kansas Home Rule allow Lawrence to “opt out” and pass its own ordinance that could place responsibility of sidewalk maintenance onto the city?
- Is it possible in Kansas to have a concrete fund with a voluntary non-participation provision similar to Englewood, Colorado?
- Is liability really an issue with city maintenance of sidewalks?
- Would a city that repairs sidewalks also be required to shovel sidewalks?
Airbnb. Steve Evans raised concern about Airbnb. At their September 20, 2016 meeting, the City Commission directed the city manager to review whether a regulatory framework is needed to address the Airbnb industry in Lawrence (such rentals are currently not permitted in residentially zoned districts and the City receives no guest tax for their use). A review of land use, taxes, and other aspects related to this industry will begin soon.
Horizon 2020 Comprehensive Plan. A draft of the update to Horizon 2020 is expected in Feb. 2017. Lawrence and unincorporated Douglas County began updating the plan in Oct. 2013. More information is available at https://lawrenceks.org/pds/horizon-2020-update-process/.
The meeting adjourned at 8:46 p.m.