A plan to convert a church into apartments for college students will get another chance before city officials.
A development partnership wants to transform the First Southern Baptist Church, 1917 Naismith, into 11 three-bedroom apartments.
The Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission, however, voted 6-4 last month to recommend denial of the plan, because of its need to rezone the land from single-family residential to multifamily residential uses.
City commissioners have several options:
- Vote to deny the request. A simple majority would kill the development company's application.
- A 5-0 or 4-1 vote to approve the rezoning would allow the project to proceed without delay.
- A 3-2 vote to approve the rezoning would send the plans back to the planning commission for reconsideration.
Neighbors of the church have complained that the proposed apartments could bring more traffic, increased drainage problems and added noise to an already-troubled area.
During last month's planning commission meeting, Jim Patti, president of the Schwegler Neighborhood Assn., said the church's neighbors wanted the dividing line between student housing and single-family residences to remain 19th Street.
Oliver Hall, a Kansas University residence hall, and Naismith Hall, a private residence hall, are on the north side of the intersection of 19th and Naismith.
"You can say all you want to, but when you have student housing, you have trouble," Patti had said.
The Centennial Neighborhood Assn.'s steering committee also voted to oppose the proposal -- or any other apartment project of any size.
City staffers recommended rezoning the property for lower-density multifamily residential uses.
- Approve a drinking establishment license for Fatso's, 1016 Mass.; a retail liquor license for Wehner's Retail Liquor, 945 E. 23rd; and a catering license for S & P Catering Inc., 2814 Ridge Ct.
- Approve appointments of John S. Schott to the Traffic Safety Commission and Leonard E. Conrad to the city's Board of Plumbers and Pipe Fitters, as recommended by Mayor John Nalbandian.
- Reject bids for a rehabilitation project at 1220 N.J., because the only bid opened Aug. 6 -- $44,320, from Natural Breeze Inc. -- was above the $30,000 estimate provided by city staffers.
- Set a 2 p.m. Aug. 26 deadline for bids to raze structures at 2504 1/2 Haskell, to make way for a city-backed affordable housing development.
- Adopt ordinances, on final reading, to rename the stretch of E 1600 Road within the city limits as O'Connell Road; and prohibit parking on the west side of Gateway Drive, from Sixth Street to Mesa Way.
- Adopt resolutions to authorize spending up to $330,000 to hire two companies to provide engineering designs for drainage improvements along and near Michigan and Carolina streets; $600,000 for widening and traffic signal improvements at Sixth Street and Folks Road; and $40,000 each for traffic signal upgrades at Iowa Street intersections with Sixth and 23rd streets.
- Adopt a resolution to authorize spending up to $12.21 million for construction of the Centennial Park Community Recreation Center, southeast of Sixth Street and Rockledge Road. The total project budget would remain at $13.28 million, but nearly $1.1 million already has been committed for design work, construction management and related services.
- Adopt a resolution to amend a benefit district formed for the expansion of West 15th Street. The benefit district would include construction of two bike lanes on the new stretch of West 15th, with city taxpayers picking up the estimated $94,500 bill for the lanes.
- Approve final plats for KLWN Addition, a two-lot, 3/15-acre commercial subdivision at the northwest corner of 31st and Iowa streets; and Lowther Estates, a one-lot residential subdivision at 509 North St.
- Agree to rezone: property at 509 North St. from agricultural use to single-family residential use; 2.1 acres northwest of Wakarusa Drive and Legends Drive from agricultural use to research-industrial use; an one acre south of Sixth Street, between Monterey Way and Eldridge Street, from agricultural use to residence-office use.
- Approve a permit that would allow operation of a short-term nursing care home for two elderly family members. The permit would allow construction of an enclosed hallway to connect residences at 2415 Ridge Ct. and 2421 Ridge Ct.
- Approve the following site plans: Red Lobster Restaurant, to be located at 3035 Iowa; improvements at Park Plaza South No. 1, located at 2522-2530 Red Bud Lane and 2523-2531 Red Bud Lane; improvements at Park Plaza South No. 2, 1821 W. 26th; an office addition to the city's forestry office, 1110 Haskell; United Way offices in the former Valley View Care Home, 2518 Ridge Ct.; phase two of Ertl's Econo Self Storage, 412 N. Iowa; and an office and storage complex for First Management Inc., 411 N. Iowa.
- Allow the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, 1537 Tenn., to retain its four-foot-wide sidewalks in front of the house, which is under renovation. A previously approved site plan would have required the fraternity to replace the sidewalk with a six-foot wide sidewalk.
- Conduct a public hearing concerning Horizon 2020, the proposed comprehensive land-use plan for Lawrence and the unincorporated areas of Douglas County.
- Consider approving an annexation agreement between the city and St. Margaret's Episcopal Church concerning the construction of a sanitary sewer line to the church property on the north side of Sixth Street.
- Consider a draft agreement between the city and Douglas County concerning sanitary sewers financed by the county.
- Consider instructing staffers to negotiate a renewed franchise agreement with Sunflower Cablevision, 644 N.H. The current agreement expires April 1, 1999, and the company is looking forward to working with the city to ensure "the smooth continuation of cable television programming and service" to Lawrence residents, said Dennis Knipfer, general manager of the cable company.