Neighbors of a proposed 56-unit apartment complex on the city's west side will take another stab Tuesday at stifling plans for the complex, which they feel would sink neighborhood property values.
Neighbors will ask commissioners to change the zoning of the land to a lower density so that an apartment complex could not be built there.
"We don't want apartments behind single-family homes. It's just not appropriate," said Russ Pilshaw, 2313 Rodeo Ct. "We've got 145 out of 202 homes (in the neighborhood) that do not want these apartments, or any complex."
The meeting will get under way at 6:35 p.m. in the city commission meeting room at city hall, Sixth and Massachusetts.
William Lemesany, developer of the project, hopes to build the 13-building apartment complex on five acres of vacant land on Clinton Parkway west of Inverness Drive.
Commissioners approved a site plan for the complex March 24.
HOWEVER, neighbors balked at plans. They said the apartments, aimed at a student clientele, were inappropriate for the neighborhood and would bring dangerous amounts of traffic to the residential area.
Commissioners voted May 5 to send the downzoning request to the city-county planning commission for their recommendation. Planners voted June 24 to maintain the multifamily zoning.
The neighbors said that when they bought their homes they were under the impression the land would be developed for duplexes or some other lower-density housing.
Planners replied that it would be unfair to penalize Lemesany, whose land has been zoned multifamily since 1980, because neighbors didn't know about the project.
One planner called the city commission's decision to pass the issue to planners "chicken politics." Now city commissioners must rule on the planning commission's recommendation.
PILSHAW SAID the neighbors' strategy for Tuesday is to show commissioners the complex needs a buffer of duplexes to shield their single-family homes, as outlined in the city's planning guide.
They then will explain legal precendents showing that the city would not have to pay Lemesany for the potential loss in property value he could suffer from downzoning.
If the city commission disagrees with the planning commission's recommendation, the issue will return to planners for a required rehearing.
Commissioner John Nalbandian said this morning that it would be difficult to go against the planning commission's recommendation.
"I presume that everything that has been said has been said. It's hard for me to believe something will come up that the planning commissiomn didn't hear," Nalbandian said.
Pilshaw said an important lesson he has learned from the experience is to check zoning before you buy a home.
"I would suggest to everyone in town they find out what their zoning is," he said. "If they are zoned multifamily, they should get in there and request downzoning."
HERE'S TUESDAY'S agenda:
Consider minutes of previous commission meetings and various city organization meetings.
Consider payment of city expenses.
Consider approving a drinking establishment license for the The Sandbar, Ricky Dean's Inc., 17 E. Eighth St., and Pancho's Mexican Restaurant, Pancho's Mexican Food Inc., 711 W. 23rd St.
Consider setting a bid date of 2 p.m. July 28 for a one-ton cab and chassis truck for the utilities department; a tree and brush chipper for the parks and recreation department; and repairs to five chemical storage bins at the Kaw Water Treatment Plant.
Consider a $121,205 contract with Kansas Building Systems Inc., a Topeka firm, for phase II of improvements to the Community Building.
CONSIDER a $26,321 contract with Elliot Drywall & Asbestos Inc., Kansas City, Mo., for lead and asbestos removal at the Community Building.
Consider authorizing the use of the most current "low-income" guidelines from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the Community Development Block Grant program.
Consider approving a request to rezone from RM-D (residence-duplex), RM-1 (multiple-family residence) and RO-1 (residence-office) to RS-2 (single-family residence) about 8.4 acres located north and south of Wimbledon Drive, north of Clinton Parkway, and west of Inverness Drive.
Consider adding the definition of a "bed and breakfast" establishment to the city zoning code.
Consider adding the definition of a "transient guest" to the city zoning code.
Consider amending the definition of a "boarding house" to the city zoning code.
Consider approving a request from Lawrence Bus Company for a taxicab license.
Consider receiving a request from the Union Pacific Depot Management Board to seek a state historic register nomination for the depot.
Consider final proposals on a work agreement between the Lawrence Police Officers Assn. and the city. With both sides in agreement on the contract, city staff expects commissioners to take this item off the agenda so that wording of the agreement can be finalized. The agreement would be submitted to the commission at that time.
Consider a sign variance for Big Six Sports Club, 701 Mass.
Consider receiving a report on issues pertaining to Pinckney Neighborhood Assn. and KPL Gas Service. The report updates the commission on issues surrounding the neighbors' opposition to a proposed power line project on Fifth Street.
Consider a request to rezone about five acres known as the Leannamar Subdivision from RM-1 (multiple-family residence) to RM-D (residence-duplex), RS-2 (single-family residence). The property is generally located between Wimbledon Drive and Clinton Parkway, west of Inverness Drive.
Consider a request to rezone about 10.6 acres from RS-1 (single-family residence) to RS-2 (multiple-family residence). The property has been used as a landfill by Dunbar & Sons and is located on the west side of Michigan street, directly north of the Kansas Turnpike overpass.
Discuss a letter from the president of Downtown Lawrence Inc., protesting the use of $3.3 million in federal funds to help complete the South Lawrence Trafficway at the expense of the Eastern Parkway. Discuss a proposed interlocal agreement with Douglas County.