April 18, 2018 Minutes

Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods Agenda
Lawrence Public Library, Meeting Room C
April 18th, 2018 7:00 p.m.

Announcements: Introductions

Arline Slote-Davis, Oread Residents Association: Becky Pepper, City of Lawrence Planning and Development Services; Bonnie Uffman, Barker neighborhood resident; Candice Davis, Oread Residents Association representative; Cindy Suenram, East Lawrence Neighborhood Association representative; Courtney Shipley, Dad Perry Park/Kasold; David Longhurst, Downtown Lawrence Inc.; David Mosher, Schwegler Neighborhood Association; Gary Webber, Sunset Hill Neighborhood Association co-representative; Jane Gibson, Barker Neighborhood Association representative; Jim Carpenter, Planning Commission Member; John Bowen, visitor; Kirk McClure, Old West Lawrence Association representative; Kyle Thompson, Oread Residents Association; Linda Haskins, Oread Residents Association; Rick Lahm, West Hills Homes Association; Rob Sands, Northwest Lawrence; Stuart Boley, Mayor City of Lawrence, resident Schwegler; Travis Harrod, Springwood Heights representative

Approve: March LAN minutes – No changes requested.  Webber moved to accept, Gibson seconded, motion passed unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report: Cindy Suenram – $2695.11 balance. Currently LAN has 10 neighborhood members and 3 individual members.

Update from City Planning Department: Becky Pepper, city planner – See neighborhood updates at https://lawrenceks.org/pds/lan17/.

Speaker: Mayor Stuart Boley will speak about infill development as it regards neighborhoods.

Mayor Boley reviewed progress in 2017. In 2015, commission selected Lisa Larson and hired Tom Markus. Mayor Boley believes that the 2017 election ratified those two decisions.  Budgeting has changed significantly, including a structurally balanced budget for the general fund, a capital improvement program, and inclusion of $15M in funds that were spent but not part of the budget in 2015. Transparency has improved, and mistakes are now being openly addressed.  Bryan Kidney made changes to bond financing that generated an economic gain of $3.6M.  Utilities and public works are being merged for greater efficiency and economies of scale.  The city has a better relationship with the Journal World. Mayor Boley asked a rhetorical question: Has LAN noticed any of these changes, and has LAN adapted to these changes?

Mayor Boley lives in Schwegler neighborhood.  There are a large number of rental properties in the neighborhood totaling 56%.  He believes that environmental concerns, cost of extension of city services, and need for affordable housing will drive increased density. He is concerned that recent development of the Central District at KU will increase the amount of student rental properties in Schwegler neighborhood as well as pass-through traffic. He would like the city to discuss ways to limit the amount of student rentals in neighborhoods by encouraging home ownership.  He also thinks they should discuss accessory living units as one solution to density.

Carpenter suggested that LAN should have a position on expansion into suburbs and on purchasing adjacent properties to build large apartment units.  The proposal before the Planning Commission at the April 25 meeting to annex 97 acres in NE Lawrence is an example of this type of expansion.

Webber stated that he was concerned that it seemed like the Mayor’s comments implied that student rentals equated with deterioration of the neighborhood.  He commented that neighborhoods were places that should accommodate all types of living units and all types of residents, within the constraints of city codes and ordinances.  He stated that if the city is serious about encouraging infill and discouraging sprawl, all city residents need to work together to ensure that quality of life is maintained as density increases.  That is what neighborhood associations are supposed to facilitate.  The city has been encouraging this with recent codes limiting the number of unrelated occupants in rental units, and establishing a rental registration system.

Davis stated that the rental registration system addressed code enforcement and safety concerns, but not the environment of the neighborhood.

Mayor Boley stated that his presentation contained more questions than answers, and that he believes a commission study session and a public discussion are appropriate to address the concerns he expressed.

Updates:

  • 19th street – discussions are ongoing. Uffman was concerned that the neighborhood is opposed, but their concerns are not being taken seriously.
  • Sidewalks – Uffman asked Mayor Boley how the program was proceeding. Mayor Boley said that they will be talking about the Sidewalk Hazard Repair Program during the budget process.  If funds are made available, the program will be started in 2019.  Uffman asked is funds would be available for all who qualified for assistance.  Mayor Boley confirmed that it is the intention of this commission that all who qualified would receive assistance, but noted that future commissions can’t be bound by this one.  Uffman asked if changes would be made as a result of public and commissioner questions on March 6.  Webber stated that in a phone conversation with Brian McGuire, he was told that there may be edits to the draft policy, and if so they would be included in the policy when the city manager submits a final draft to the commission, probably in mid-May.
  • Due process – Shipley mentioned some confusion about time limits for commission public comment by groups and individuals. Previously group representatives were allowed 5 minutes, individuals were allowed 3 minutes.  Now all public comment will be limited to 3 minutes.  She quoted the city attorney that “there is no right for public comment.”  Harrod commented that although it seems that there is less opportunity for input, this commission has made a genuine effort to attend meetings such as LAN and be available to the public.  Mayor Boley stated that it is possible to make effective presentations, and there have been good examples recently.
  • Housing study – Shipley attended, and was disappointed that it was primarily attended by affordable housing advocates. She would encourage neighborhood residents and developers to become involved.
  • Missouri Street Development – Thompson stated that Oread has had meetings about this proposal since the property is adjacent to Oread neighborhood. The developer wants to develop 56 apartments with below-ground parking. Davis reported the property contained homes with mature landscape but that the developer planned to bulldoze the homes and trees and start over. They plan to review the site plan and continue to monitor the proposed development.
  • Neighborhood reports –
    • Webber reported that Sunset Hill Neighborhood Association held their annual meeting on April 16. 50 residents attended.  SHNA is holding their first neighborhood cleanup on April 21 and first neighborhood potluck on May 5.
    • Mosher reported that Schwegler held its annual meeting in March, and is starting its 2nd active year. A neighborhood garage sale is scheduled for June, and they are working to build community. Ongoing issues are mostly with KU; intensity of lights, parking, traffic flow, student rentals.
    • Thompson reported that Oread will hold a quarterly meeting next week. They are participating in the Big Event for the third year in a row.

Suenram moved to adjourn, Longhurst seconded, motion passed unanimously.

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