WRITER: Rochelle Valverde

City investigating reason for clog at recently completed $74 million sewer plant

The city’s recently completed $74 million sewage treatment plant has clogged, requiring the city to haul sludge to another plant in order to temporarily clear the plant's basins and make repairs. Though the plant is fully operational again, city staff says it's continuing to investigate what caused the clog. As part of its meeting Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission received a report on a payment of ...

Social advocate and community board member Joey Hentzler files for City Commission

Social advocate and community board member Joey Hentzler has filed for election to the Lawrence City Commission. Hentzler, 25, has lived in Lawrence since 2011, but he said he has thought of the city as his home for longer than that. When he was a teenager and had not yet come out as gay, he often visited Lawrence, where he felt more comfortable than he did in Topeka. But after he officially moved to Lawrence ...

KDOT says funding and timeline for South Lawrence Trafficway expansion remain unknown

Though city leaders continue to stress the need to widen the South Lawrence Trafficway, state officials still have no answer as to when the project will be funded and able to move forward. As part of the Lawrence City Commission’s meeting Tuesday, Kansas Department of Transportation representatives provided commissioners an update on the potential lane expansion of the western leg of the South Lawrence ...

KDOT to present options for South Lawrence Trafficway improvements, including adding tolls

City leaders will hear an update on the state’s efforts to widen or otherwise improve travel on the South Lawrence Trafficway, including the option of making the trafficway a toll road. As part of the Lawrence City Commission’s meeting Tuesday, Kansas Department of Transportation representatives will provide commissioners an update on the potential lane expansion of the western leg of the South Lawrence ...

Some residents voice concerns as affordable housing board considers density increases

As the city embarks on a new venture in its affordable housing efforts — one involving the first changes to the local development code — some residents are asking questions about how those changes could affect neighborhoods. If approved, the proposed affordable housing density bonus would be the city’s first land use rules connected to the affordability of homes. Though the draft code changes are ...

Judge orders Australian animal health firm to repay local incentives after abandoning its Lawrence offices

An Australia-based animal health company that received startup funding from both the City of Lawrence and Douglas County has been ordered to repay some of that money now that it has abandoned its local offices. However, city officials say there's no easy way for the local governments to collect what they're owed, because the company appears to be defunct and the money is in a foreign country. Last year, the ...

Local sustainability leader says city needs to take bold action on climate issues

The local sustainability director told city leaders Tuesday that ambitious climate action is needed on the global, national and local levels, and that the city needs a plan to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Lawrence-Douglas County Sustainability Director Jasmin Moore told city commissioners at their study session that local governments are already dealing with more frequent flooding and extreme heat, ...

Lawrence City Commission to consider study to evaluate trash rates; rates expected to change

Lawrence city commissioners will soon decide whether to hire a consultant to study the city’s solid waste service and the collection rates charged to Lawrence residents. Currently, residential customers pay $18.80 per month for trash and recycling collection, and commercial customers pay a wide range of fees based on the size of container and number of pickups per month, according to the city's fee schedule. ...

Neighborhood leader and city board member Ken Easthouse files for City Commission

Neighborhood association president and city incentives board member Ken Easthouse has filed for election to the Lawrence City Commission. Easthouse, a native of Lawrence, has been active in local government the past several years and ran unsuccessfully for the commission in 2017. Easthouse, 35, said he wants to improve how the city operates. “There are a lot of decisions that have been going on in the City ...

Lawrence City Commission to discuss city's progress on reducing emissions, other environmental goals

Recent changes have helped Lawrence significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, and city leaders will soon discuss what else can be done to reduce the city’s impact on the environment. As part of its work session Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission will receive an update on the city’s climate protection and sustainability goals. The commission adopted a Climate Protection Plan in 2009, which ...

Couple sue city over century-old tunnel under Lawrence neighborhood

After discovering a century-old tunnel directly under their house, a Lawrence couple have filed a lawsuit demanding that the city either relocate the tunnel — which is still used for storm water drainage — or pay them for damages. The 6-by-6 foot, arched brick drainage tunnel was constructed in 1911 in response to a typhoid outbreak and follows the course of a ravine that once ran from Mount Oread to the ...

City manager finalists outline plans, answer questions from Lawrence residents

In their first meeting with the public, the two finalists for Lawrence city manager were greeted with a full crowd and a variety of questions, ranging in topic from economic incentives to the city’s role in arts and culture. About 150 people filled the meeting room at the Carnegie Building on Sunday for the event, where city manager finalists Susan Sherman and Craig Owens gave presentations that included ...

Developer appeals historic preservation board decision regarding downtown apartment project

City leaders will have the final word on controversial plans to build a five-story apartment and retail building near the southern entrance of downtown Lawrence. Chicago-based Core Spaces filed plans last October at City Hall for the project proposed for 11th and Massachusetts streets, called Hub on Campus, which would provide more than 550 bedrooms targeted to the college student population. The city’s ...

Lawrence city commissioner questions proposed bike boulevard design; demonstration project vandalized

Some motorists appear to have been unhappy with the city’s idea to convert an East Lawrence street into a bicycle boulevard, and a member of the Lawrence City Commission is also asking questions about the design. At the commission’s meeting Tuesday, Commissioner Leslie Soden, who drives for Uber, said she thought there was a disconnect regarding the concept and what she called a dramatic change for ...

Lawrence City Commission votes to increase community input for downtown master plan following 'secretive' focus groups

After having criticized some "secretive" aspects of the process earlier this year, Lawrence city commissioners have agreed to increase the amount of community input gathered for the development of the master plan that will shape Lawrence's downtown for years to come. As part of its meeting Tuesday, the commission voted 4-1, with Commissioner Matthew Herbert opposed, to revise and expand the community ...

Lawrence City Commission to consider increasing community input for downtown master plan

After Lawrence city commissioners criticized the process, commissioners will soon consider increasing the amount of community input gathered for the development of the Downtown Master Plan. As part of its meeting Tuesday, the commission will consider revising and expanding the community engagement component of the development of the plan. The proposed changes would add $37,070 to the $110,000 contract for ...

Lawrence City Commission to consider settlement in housing discrimination lawsuit involving emotional-support dog

City leaders will soon review a proposed settlement in a housing discrimination lawsuit against local landlords that requires the landlords to attend a seminar on housing laws and make a donation to a local nonprofit. The lawsuit, brought against the landlords by the City of Lawrence in 2016, claims that the landlords discriminated against a prospective tenant based on his use of an emotional-support dog. The ...

Health care agencies won't take position on Lawrence's proposed marijuana law

As Lawrence prepares to lower the fine for possessing small amounts of marijuana to $1, some say there are unknowns regarding marijuana use in the city and how the changes may affect it. Neither the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department nor local substance abuse treatment center representatives have a position for or against the changes, but both said research isn’t definitive regarding some of the risks ...

Impressed by Lawrence's sense of community, city manager finalists hope to make a difference

Both candidates for the position of Lawrence city manager said the city's sense of community appeals to them and that they intend to improve on it if they're hired. The city announced Wednesday that the two finalists are Susan Sherman and Craig Owens. Sherman, originally from Ada, Ohio, is currently the assistant city manager for Olathe. Owens, originally from Overland Park, is the city manager of Clayton, ...

City of Lawrence announces two finalists for city manager position

Story updated at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, March 27, 2019: The City of Lawrence has announced final candidates for the position of city manager. The two finalists are Susan Sherman and Craig Owens, according to a news release from the city Wednesday. Sherman is currently the assistant city manager for Olathe. Owens is the city manager of Clayton, Mo. Mayor Lisa Larsen said that all the candidates selected for ...