An update on the drafting of the Horizon 2020 land use plan turned into an inquiry Tuesday as Lawrence city commissioners peppered organizers with questions and worries.
Concerns included how to avoid conflicting ideas from groups working on solutions to local problems, and whether more "blue-collar" residents would be recruited to help draw up the plan.
"There are people I've seen at the (Horizon 2020) public meetings who are practically professional meeting-goers," said Mayor Bob Schulte. "Some of the other people in the county almost need to take that attitude."
Jean Milstead and Bobbie Flory, members of the 15-member committee appointed to steer the drafting process, brought commissioners up to date Thursday on the plan.
Horizon 2020 will replace Plan '95 and the Douglas County Guide Plan as the official manual for managing growth, development and conservation in Lawrence and the non-incorporated areas of Douglas County.
The plan will address concerns such as housing, transportation, neighborhood quality, environmental features and the relationship between the community and Kansas University.
CONSULTANTS have examined the county's economic health and interviewed residents and key local officials to identify strengths and weaknesses of the county.
At two recent public forums, groups of residents helped form a vision of the ideal Douglas County and identified the issues that must be addressed to meet that vision.
Issues identified by residents such as transportation and urban sprawl will be addressed by "task groups," committees each made up of 10 to 15 residents who have agreed to create strategies to deal with problems.
"Unfortunately, the time frame is a little short," Milstead said. "They will have until about the end of February to finish their first drafts."
TASK GROUP members are drawn from an "advisory forum" of about 300 residents appointed by the city and Douglas County commissions to work on parts of the plan.
Their ideas will be boiled down into policies that local officials can use when they make decisions.
Commissioners questioned whether the process would produce a workable plan. Commissioner John Nalbandian asked how task groups would avoid creating inconsistent policies.
"For example, there may be something from the transportation group suggesting we not widen any roads or make changes to streets. Then another group would say, we should maintain the vitality of downtown," Nalbandian said after the meeting.
"On the one hand we're saying we want to maintain downtown, but then we're saying we're not going to make it easier for people to get downtown," he said. "I want to avoid that inconsistency."
MILSTEAD replied that steering committee members would follow the work of the task groups, and even sit in on group meetings, to guide brainstorming.
Commissioner Shirley Martin-Smith said she was concerned that "blue-collar" residents might feel left out of the process and not ask to serve on a task group or the larger "advisory forum."
Milstead said she actively was recruiting more residents for the advisory forum from various community groups.
"We want to empower the community to make the decisions," she said.
Commissioner Bob Schumm asked who appoints residents to the task groups, and whether they would try to avoid filling a particular group with people with the same perspective or agenda.
Milstead said the steering committee would appoint residents to the task groups, with an eye to balancing perspectives in the groups.
"I think we are very sensitive to this," she said.
Schumm also asked who would approve the final draft of the plan.
The answer: the Lawrence City Commission, and well as Douglas County commissioners.
IN OTHER action Tuesday:
Commissioners proclaimed Nov. 11 "Veterans Day," and Nov. 14 "Buddy Poppy Day."
In a single motion, commissioners approved the following consent agenda items:
Payment of city expenses.
A drinking establishment license for Nabil's Restaurant, 925 Iowa, and a class A club license for Alford Clarke Post No. 851, 138 Ala.
A $57,000 contract with Wathena Crane Service, a Wathena firm, for dredging the lagoon at the Clinton water treatment plant.
A bid date of 2 p.m. Nov. 17 for water treatment chemicals for the utilities department, and a stump cutter for the parks and recreation department.
A bid date of 2 p.m. Nov. 24 for construction of a maintenance building on the southeast corner of 19th Street and Moodie Road for the parks and recreation department.
An ordinance on final reading amending the city code to establish changes in sanitation service and sanitation rates.
An ordinance on final reading amending the city code to establish a new parking fine system, which would give parking violators 10 days to pay a $1 parking fine before they are assesed a $10 fine and assigned a court date.
ACCEPTING easements and rights of way of the final plat of Ertl's Subdivision, a replat of lots 4, 5, 6, and 7 of Ridge Mount Addition. This plat is a 2-lot industrial subdivision and contains approximately 3.64 acres on the east side of North Iowa Street at Ridge Mount Court and directly north of Ertl's Econo Self-Storage, 412 Iowa.
Commissioners pulled the following item from the consent agenda for further discussion:
Minutes of the previous commission meeting. Commissioner Martin-Smith asked commissioners to change a summary of comments she made during the commission's Oct. 27 meeting which she felt didn't reflect her meaning. Commissioners agreed to the change and approved the amended minutes.
On the regular agenda, commissioners:
Received a brief report from City Manager Mike Wildgen on implementating program selling low-cost coupons for taxi rides, and set a 3 p.m. Nov. 23 study session to further discuss the implementation of the program.
Commissioners set a 4 p.m. Dec. 14 study session with the Community Development Block Grant Advisory Board, and a 4 p.m. Jan. 11 study session with the Sister Cities Advisory Board.