Oct. 5, 2017 Minutes

Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods (LAN) Meeting Minutes – October 5, 2017

LAN met at 7:00 p.m., October 5, 2017, in Meeting Room C of the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont Street with Co-Chair Courtney Shipley presiding.

The following attendees were present: Becky Pepper, City of Lawrence Planning and Development Services; Bob Nugent, Lawrence Transit; Brenda Nunez, East Lawrence neighborhood resident; Charlie Bryan, Monterey neighborhood resident; Cindy Suenram, East Lawrence Neighborhood Association representative; Courtney Shipley, Dad Perry Park/Kasold; David Longhurst, Downtown Lawrence Inc.; Dustin Stumblingbear, Pinckney neighborhood resident; Hayden Maples, Deerfield neighborhood resident; Jane Gibson, Barker Neighborhood Association representative; Jim Carpenter, Planning Commission Member; Kathy Heppert, Sunset Hill Neighborhood Association co-representative; Kirk McClure, Old West Lawrence Association representative; Lisa Larsen, Lawrence City Commission / West Hills neighborhood resident; Mark Thiel, City of Lawrence; Melinda Henderson, Brook Creek Neighborhood Association representative; Phyllis Farrar, Friends of Lawrence Transit; Porter Arneill, City of Lawrence; Steve Braswell, Pinckney Neighborhood Association representative; Ted Boyle, North Lawrence Improvement Association representative; Travis Robinett, Schwegler Neighborhood Association representative; Virgil Dean, Westwood representative.

September minutes were not available for review and approval.

Treasurer’s report. Cindy Suenram reported $2,305.11 is in the LAN bank account.

Speaker: Porter Arneill, City of Lawrence. Arneill provided a presentation on the sales tax renewal proposal and how it impacts the City of Lawrence. He presented details about the current sales tax that will sunset March 31, 2019. Three sales tax renewal questions will appear on the November general election ballot on November 7, 2017. The proposal, where sales taxes would be effective April 1, 2019 through March 31, 2030, calls for 0.2 percent for public transportation, 0.3 percent for infrastructure and equipment, and 0.05 percent for affordable housing. More information is available at the City of Lawrence website at https://lawrenceks.org/sales-tax/proposal/.

Speaker: Phyllis Farrar, Friends of Lawrence Transit. Farrar provided a presentation, on behalf of Friends of Lawrence Transit, in support of renewing the 0.2 percent sales tax to support continued operations of public transit. Farrar cited several improvements in transit service since the current sales tax to support transit operations was approved in 2008: ridership has tripled, reaching 1.2 million (City) and 3 million (City plus KU); T-Lift paratransit service has increased to 15 buses; Night Line service has been introduced, providing service from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., Monday – Saturday, for those who don’t work on a traditional schedule; K-12 student bus passes provide unlimited bus rides for K-12 students year round. Farrar also stated that many populations have become dependent on the bus, with 54 percent of riders not having reliable access to an automobile, and that allowing the current sales tax to sunset ag would impact people that depend on transit to access critical community resources such as Bert Nash, the Housing Authority and the Lawrence Community Shelter.

Speaker: Sara Taliafaro, Affordable Housing / Justice Matters. Taliafaro provided a presentation, on behalf of Justice Matter, in support of approving the 0.05 percent sales tax for affordable housing. Justice Matters, Taliafaro explained, is a local nonprofit, made up of 21 faith-based organizations, that is a diverse, politically nonpartisan, direct action group (not direct service). Each year, Justice Matters conducts house meetings and talks about such things as what keeps you up at night. Stories collected in those house meetings three years ago led to Justice Matters identifying affordable housing as an issue. The City has studied this issue and worked to address it for two decades. The revenue from the 0.05 percent sales tax proposal would go into the City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The fund is overseen by the Affordable Housing Advisory Board. Taliafaro claimed that this approach (funding an affordable housing trust fund) has worked in more than 500 cities, and that, nationally, local dollars are typically leveraged 1 to 6. In a recent demonstration project in Lawrence, leverage of 1 to 4 was achieved.

Update from City Planning and Development Services. The October 5, 2017 Neighborhood Update for LAN, available at https://lawrenceks.org/pds/neighborhood_information/, was reviewed by Becky Pepper. The update was also sent out via the LAN listserv.

Discussion of Horizon 2020 draft comprehensive plan chapter on neighborhoods. As part of the Horizon 2020 Steering Committee comprehensive plan update process, the steering committee is accepting written input on the draft comprehensive plan through Monday, October 23, 2017. Melinda shared concerns from Pennie von Achen that the draft plan presents generalized goals with limited actions or directions to facilitate implementation. Travis reported that Sustainability Advisory Board will be reviewing H2020 at its next meeting. Charlie, Kirk and Courtney briefly summarized the Oct. 3 discussion by the LAN Horizon 2020 committee about growth (tier 1), neighborhoods, community resources, and historic preservation. It was moved by David Longhurst and seconded by Travis Robinett to direct LAN co-chair Courtney Shipley to submit a LAN statement on the draft comprehensive plan by Oct. 23, with the requirement that a draft of the statement is first shared with the executive committee for review and comment before being finalized and submitted. The motion passed unanimously.

Nominating committee. Travis volunteered to be the nominating committee. His email address is travis.robinett@gmail.com and phone number is 512-775-4040. Contact Travis if you are interested in serving as a LAN officer for 2018.

LAN questionnaire. How do we want to disperse the answers to the responses to the candidate questionnaire? Jane suggested that the executive committee review the responses first before deciding what would be shared out and how it would be shared. It was moved by Steve Braswell and seconded by Jane Gibson to direct the executive committee to review the responses and determine which questions and responses would be published. The motion passed with one opposing vote (Melinda).

Short-term rental. The deadline for written public input is Oct. 13. There is an informational page on the City website, at https://lawrenceks.org/short-term-rentals/, with statistics and answers to frequently asked questions. The majority of those who attended the public meeting were pro owners/operators of short-term rental properties. One person mentioned that about 16-20 people might rent a property at one time. Those people wanted to be together rather than staying in separate rooms at a hotel. Short-term rental property owners are targeting core neighborhoods, near downtown. Some houses are being bought by developers in East Lawrence with purpose of changing them in to short-term rentals. North Lawrence has already submitted a letter with the position that short-term rentals should not be allowed in residential neighborhoods. It was motioned by Kirk McClure, seconded by Steve Braswell, that LAN authorize the chair to write a letter opposing short-term rentals because of nuisance involved and damage to neighborhoods. The motion passes with 7 votes in favor, 2 opposed and 2 abstaining.

The meeting adjourned at 8:52 p.m.