Archive for Wednesday, February 17, 1993

February 17, 1993

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If you're one of the estimated 1,000 Lawrence residents with an outdated backflow-prevention device in your lawn sprinkler system, relax. You can still use plastic pipe to carry water to your yard.

Lawrence city commissioners, in a compromise with plumbers and lawn irrigators, approved final changes to the 1991 Uniform Plumbing Code on Tuesday night, ending three weeks of formal discussions about the viability of plastic pipe.

In the end, commissioners said it was acceptable for lawn irrigators to install plastic pipe from the city water supply to the intake of the yard's backflow-prevention device, which protects the city's drinking water from possible contamination.

In new systems, however, licensed plumbers must make the tap into the city's drinkable water, and pipes leading to the backflow-prevention devices must be copper.

Dennis Rosen, who has an outdated system in his yard at 1040 Oak Tree Dr., pleaded with the commission to allow his ``retrofit'' to have plastic pipe.

PLASTIC is plenty safe, he said, and could save as him as much as $200.

``I drink my pop out of plastic . . . I eat off plastic. I've probably eaten plastic,'' he said, his safety explanation drawing laughter from commissioners. ``I've got cheaper labor and cheaper material, and I can give my kids the $200.''

Commissioners postponed another plumbing-related matter scheduled for discussion: Whether to expand the membership of the plumbing board, and by extension, all of the city's technical boards, to include more diverse representation.

HERE'S WHAT else happened at Tuesday's meeting:

On the consent agenda, commissioners approved:

Receiving minutes from meetings of the Lawrence Housing Authority, Lawrence Arts Commission and the Traffic Safety Commission.

Paying city bills totaling $2,264,381 to 209 vendors.

Drinking-establishment licenses for the Pool Room, 925 Iowa, and the Shenago Lounge, 2907 W. Sixth; and a retail liquor license for Hird Retail Liquors, 601 Kasold.

Accepting a $49,990 bid from B.A. Green Construction for Phase III of the restoration of the Union Pacific Depot.

Drafting an ordinance to annex 7.8 acres immediately south of Sixth and Eldridge streets, as requested by Michael Stultz.

An ordinance, on final reading, annexing about 28 acres southwest of Sixth and Wakarusa. The ordinance repeals a previous ordinance, because the applicants, Bob Billings and O. Warren Mitchell, provided an incorrect legal description of the land. Now it's described as the northwest quarter of section 33-12-19.

An ordinance, on first reading, to revise protest requirements for Uses Permitted Upon Review in the city code. For a UPUR to be protested now, 50 percent of landowners within 200 feet of the property in question would have to sign a protest petition. The code revision would lower the requirement to 20 percent, corresponding with the requirement for protests against rezonings.

An ordinance, on first reading, to change the review period for site plans from 14 to 21 days.

Recommendations from the Traffic Safety Commission: denied a request to install a traffic light at 22nd and Louisiana streets; asked the Kansas Department of Transportation to review the intersection of Sixth Street and Monterey Way for installation of traffic signals; approved installation of a stop sign at 21st Street and Maple Lane; denied a request to remove parking from the north side of 18th Street between Tennessee and Kentucky streets; and set priorities for 1993 Pedestrian-Bicycle Improvement Project applications.

Asking staff to draft an ordinance to rezone 20.86 acres at the northwest corner of Clinton Parkway and Kasold Drive to make way for construction of a neighborhood shopping center, including a Hy-Vee Grocery store. The land would be rezoned from C-2 (neighborhood shopping), RO-1 (residence-office) and RS-2 (single-family residential) with PUD restrictions to PCD-2 (planned commercial development). The land is now vacant.

A Use Permitted Upon Review request for the Child Care Center to move into a vacant construction office at 201 Perry in North Lawrence. The full-day child-care program, now at 925 Vt., will be able to accommodate 58 children ages 3 to 6 at the new site.

A Use Permitted Upon Review request to relocate the Children's Learning Center to 205 N. Mich. The center, now in the old portion of Lawrence Memorial Hospital, will move into the unoccupied former home of the Cedarwood Nursing Home.

Asking staff to draft an ordinance to rezone 1.375 acres of land on the north side of West 23rd Street between Louisiana and Ohio streets from PCD-2 (planned commercial development) to PCD-1 (planned commercial development). By downzoning the lots with special conditions, the only type of commercial development allowed would be for a drug store.

A preliminary development plan for the Walgreen's store on West 23rd. The plan includes removing an existing rental car business and gasoline station, as well as two formerly residential lots immediately to the north on Louisiana and Ohio. The plan includes specifications about layout, parking, landscaping and other items.

Commissioners removed the following items from the consent agenda for further discussion:

Accepting minutes from last week's commission meeting. Commissioners decided to wait until next week to approve the minutes, giving them time to review transcripts of the discussion about Westgate Road possibly becoming a collector street.

An ordinance, on first reading, to rezone 70.6 acres at the southeast corner of Wakarusa and Clinton Parkway from B-1 (neighborhood business) and A (agricultural) to PCD-1 (planned commercial district), RM-1 (multifamily residence) and PRD-2 (planned residential development). Commissioners approved the rezoning, 5-0, after Commissioner Bob Schumm said he was satisfied with an explanation of the rezoning.

An ordinance, on first reading, to rezone land at the southeast corner of Sixth and Kasold from RS-2 (single-family residence) and C-5 (limited commercial) to PCD-2 (planned commercial district), to make way for a new Walgreen's drug store. Commissioners approved the rezoning on first reading only, denying a request from the developer for an ``emergency'' one-meeting approval, which would have allowed them to begin work this morning. ``We ought to do the process as normally as we can,'' Commissioner Bob Walters said. City Manager Mike Wildgen agreed to have his staff work with the developer to see what other permits might be helpful in expediting the work.

An ordinance, on first reading, to issue $3.5 million in industrial revenue bonds to Packer Plastics Inc., which will use the money to expand into the old Aeroquip building. Schumm inquired, and Wildgen clarified, that the bonds were separate from a tax abatement the commission already had granted on $1.5 million of the expansion.

A preliminary development plan for a neighborhood shopping project at Clinton Parkway and Kasold, including the 64,000-square-foot Hy-Vee store and another 60,000 square feet for retail stores. Schumm suggested adding another requirement to the plan: The gravel road connecting the Hy-Vee center to Quail Creek Drive must be paved during the first phase of construction, making it easier for area residents to get to the grocery store. The improvement hadn't been planned until after the store had opened. ``Obviously, if the people right next to it aren't going to use it, it's going to go broke,'' Schumm said. The developer's representative, landscape architecht Roger Schenewerk, said the change would be made, and commissioners approved the amended plan, 5-0.

A revised preliminary development plan for a housing project at the northwest corner of West Sixth Street and Monterey Way. The multifamily portion of the plan will include an increase in dwelling units from 108 to 148, while decreasing the number of bedrooms in a mixture of one- and two-story buildings. Commissioners agreed to require the addition of a temporary road between commerical lots on along Monterey with residential units to the west. Michael Stultz, the developer, agreed to the change and commissioners approved the revised plan, 5-0.

On the regular agenda, commissioners:

Approved installation of a stop sign at Clare Road and Maple Lane. The Traffic Safety Commission voted 7-1 to recommend approving the sign.

Denied a request to install a stop sign at Davis and Clare roads. The TSC had recommended denying the request, 7-1.

Denied, 3-2, a sign variance request from Stepping Stones Inc., 1100 Wakarusa. Director Shelly Platz had asked for the variance so that the day-care center could have a 12-square-foot sign on the side of its building, making it easier for people to find. The city limits signs to 2 square feet, however, in areas zoned for multifamily residences. Commissioner John Nalbandian said that although the proposal was nice two parents, in fact, already had made the sign the city couldn't just cast aside its requirements. ``If you don't like the ordinance, change the ordinance,'' he said to his fellow commissioners. Schumm joined Walters in voting with the minority to approve the variance, even though he admitted agreeing with Nalbandian's logic. Schumm is a candidate for re-election, Schulte pointed out. ``Didn't I ask how many kids made the sign?'' Schumm said after the request was denied. ``Even though they can't vote?''

Commissioners also:

Noted that Nalbandian and Wildgen will meet with representatives of Indian Hills Neighborhood Assn. at 7 p.m. March 1. Last week the INHA asked for a study session with city commissioners to address eight concerns, among them: examining ways to bring multifamily housing units into compliance with fire, safety and environmental codes; developing a comprehensive plan for 23rd Street to prevent further incursions into surrounding neighborhoods; and supporting construction of sidewalks in neighborhoods. Nalbandian said he and Wildgen would review the neighbors' concerns before deciding if and when a study session involving the entire commission is needed.

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