Lawrence city commissioners plan to discuss options for solving erosion problems along a creek in the Deerfield area, where several properties are losing more of their back yards with each passing storm.
Fixing the problem -- by installing two pipes, each 5 feet in diameter, plus an overflow basin on top -- is a $500,000 job, according to city estimates.
Of the 38 homes bordering the channel sides of Tomahawk and Creekwood drives, 27 property owners -- all east of Kasold Drive -- have signed petitions asking for the work. Each offered to pour $5,000 into the job.
The city has come up with several financing alternatives, including:
- Have neighboring property owners pay for it all, with each of the 38 lots paying about $1,579 a year for 10 years.
- Have the city pay $200,000, and have the rest paid by neighbors at $1,053 per lot.
- Spread the cost among 400 lots in the drainage basin. Without city participation, the 38 property owners would pay $1,052 per lot, and all 400 lots would spend another $50 each.
- Spread the cost among all 400 lots in the basin, but have the city kick in $200,000. Immediate neighbors would pay $526 a year for 10 years, and all 400 lots would kick in another $50 each for 10 years.
A month ago, commissioners asked staffers for a report outlining options for financing the work. Commissioners generally agreed that the situation had to be addressed, but differed on how to handle it.
The creek has grown from 3-feet wide 20 years ago to more than 40 feet now, residents have said. Petitioners are looking to prevent their trees, houses and decks from falling into the water.
"We ask you to assume responsibility for correcting the damage ... before it gets out of hand," said Louis Roberts, 3208 Tomahawk.
During their latest meeting, commissioners discussed the Creekwood situation but did not make a decision. Commissioner Allen Levine argued that fixing the drainage problem was more important than building a road and installing utilities for a business relocation to the East Hills Business Park.
"I think Creekwood is far and away the most important thing we should be doing," Levine said. "I'm not willing to go ahead with one without the other."
Levine described the erosion problem as an "emergency situation," and therefore worthy of city financing.
- Approve appointments of Jackson Clark, Tom Bracciano and Tom Waechter to the city's Fire Code Board of Appeals. Bracciano is the Lawrence school district's supervisor of transportation and safety; Waechter is planning coordinator for design and construction management at Kansas University, where he is overseeing development of the school's master plan. Kevin Markley also would be reappointed to the board.
- Set a 2 p.m. March 18 deadline for bids to handle the first phase of city's overlay (repaving) and curb replacement program this summer.
- Approve an ordinance, on final reading, to annex property known as the Oakley tract, southwest of the intersection of Sixth Street and Folks Road.
- Approve an ordinance, on final reading, to prohibit parking along East 18th Street, west from Brook Street. The prohibition would allow emergency vehicles to gain access to a recently approved development known as the Laing Addition.
- Approve an ordinance, on first reading, to retain the city's current law that set the commission's quorum at four members. The city law -- which exempts the commission from state law -- allows two commissioners to meet and discuss public business without calling a public meeting. State law would set the commission's quorum at three members, which would make two a majority and therefore require public meetings for any public discussion between two commissioners. To exempt themselves from state law, four of five commissioners would have to approve the ordinance.
- Approve an ordinance, on first reading, to allow reduced-size water lines at the new Douglas County Jail, planned for southeastern Lawrence. County officials already have signed contracts for installing 8-inch lines at the jail, which would would be too small to meet current codes as connected to a 16-inch water main. To meet the code, the county would need to connect the smaller lines into a smaller main line -- 10 inches -- and that would cause "unnecessary expense and project delays," said Frank Hempen, the county's director of public works. The lines, as planned, will be large enough to meet the state's water-pressure requirements, Hempen said. City staffers recommend approving the county's plans.
- Approve an ordinance, on first reading, to authorize condemnation of the "Lauber tract" for the improvement of East 24th Street.
- Approve resolutions to schedule two public hearings. The first, on April 15, would involve declaring 19 W. 14th unsafe and ordering the property's repair or demolition. The other, on May 6, would involve the unilateral annexation of three properties -- known as the Johnson, Leistra and McCool tracts -- south of West Sixth Street. All three properties are located along what would be the southern extension of Folks Road.
- Authorize City Manager Mike Wildgen to execute an agreement with Mid America Concessions Inc. for providing food and beverage services at the city's facilities at the Youth Sports Inc. complex and the new Clinton Lake Adult Softball Complex. The city will get 15 percent of all receipts up to $60,000; the percentage would increase for anything above that. Mid America earned about $30,000 at YSI last year.
- Agree to cancel Tuesday night's scheduled public hearing to consider whether there is "no feasible or prudent alternative" to the Lawrence Arts Center's proposed addition to its location in the city's former Carnegie Library, 200 W. Ninth. Arts center officials said they were still working with interested groups to find the "best solution" to the center's continuing space needs.
- Authorize giving a lot at 1220 N.J. to Lawrence Habitat for Humanity Inc.
- Reconsider Ed Stroda's previously rejected plans for his Maple Street South Subdivision, which would occupy an acre along the south side of Maple, a half block east of Seventh Street and a block north of Locust Street. Commissioners rejected Stroda's plans in September, saying they didn't want to add to North Lawrence's drainage problems; Mayor John Nalbandian, in fact, said he could not approve any residential plats in the area until its problems were addressed. Stroda said he has since added several conditions to his proposed plat: regrade a ditch, promise not to fill lots except where necessary under slabs and shrink driveways to minimize runoff. Stroda said NLIA now supports his plan.
- Consider approving a site plan for the Winter block, which includes plans for a new Borders bookstore at 700 N.H. The site plan includes drainage improvements, 141 parking spaces and a 20,000-square-foot bookstore/cafe. Commissioners also will consider spending $100,000 to give city officials control of 67 of the lot's parking spaces. City Manager Mike Wildgen said the city spaces would not have meters, and there would be free parking for all comers.
- Conduct a public hearing and consider vacating utility easements in the East Heights Addition.
- Conduct a public hearing regarding an unsafe and dangerous structure at 645 N. Ninth, and consider ordering the home's repair or demolition.