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Archive for Wednesday, December 9, 1998

TENANTS MUST VACATE APARTMENTS AT 805 OHIO

December 9, 1998

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Lawrence City Commission's memo to tenants of 805 Ohio: Get out by Dec. 20, and don't come back until your landlords have made the apartments safe for occupancy.

Commissioners agreed Tuesday to suspend a permit that allows Dan and Sherri Riedemann to rent out rooms at 805 Ohio, a single-family home they have been renovating since 1994.

The suspension, effective Dec. 20, means that no rooms may be rented until the house meets city codes. Such upgrades -- to electrical, fire-detection, plumbing, mechanical and other systems -- were to be in place before any apartments were rented.

That didn't happen. The Riedemanns have been landlords since 1995, despite failing to comply with nine of 13 conditions included in the original permit.

"In the zeal of getting involved ... we lost track of the technicalities," said Ken Riedemann, who owns the property and is Dan Riedemann's father.

Commissioners said they feared liability for allowing the apartments to be rented despite being renovated without proper building permits.

Mayor Marty Kennedy, in fact, wanted the tenants -- all Kansas University students -- to move out immediately.

"I want those people out of there now," Kennedy said, his voice rising, "because it's a violation of city code!"

Commissioners, however, agreed to allow the Riedemanns to make the upgrades and ask for the permit suspension to be lifted.

City's zoning code

headed for a rewrite

The city's exhaustive zoning code and subdivision regulations -- the rule books for construction and development in Lawrence -- are headed for the editing table.

Commissioners agreed to hire Duncan and Associates, for $30,000, to study ways to streamline and clarify the city's development standards. The study is the first of several anticipated phases intended to make the entire project a reality.

It's also the least expensive, said Linda Finger, the city's planning director.

"This is where we'd like to start," she said.

The zoning code, first introduced in 1966, governs uses for property in town, from residential to industrial and everything in between. Subdivision regulations govern how properties may develop physically.

The city's User Friendly City Hall Task Force recommended revamping the development standards, citing ongoing complaints about the rules being convoluted, confusing and even contradictory.

Duncan and Associates has headquarters in Austin, Tex.

Executive session taps

property, legal issues

Commissioners met behind closed doors for 27 minutes to meet with their attorney, Gerald Cooley.

Commissioners would not say what they talked about, but before recessing into executive session Mayor Marty Kennedy did announce what they planned to talk about:

  • "Consultation with the city attorney for matters deemed privileged in the attorney-client relationship."
  • "Possible acquisition of real property."

The discussions needed to be outside the public eye "to keep confidential matters under the attorney-client relationship and keep confidential possible terms and conditions of possible real property acquisition," Kennedy said.

Resident rips

street name change

Lori Turney bought a new home earlier this year on Bentwood Place, but next year it could be on Walker Court.

And she's not at all happy about it.

"It's a big inconvenience to us," she told commissioners.

Turney came to city hall to protest an ordinance that changes the name of Bentwood Place to Walker Court.

Residents on the court didn't request the name change, she said, and they are upset about having to handle paperwork involving new checks, drivers licenses, car tags, mortgage agreements, property deeds and, well, anything else that mentions Bentwood Place.

City Manager Mike Wildgen said that such name changes typically were prompted by the property owners or the U.S. Postal Service, which doesn't like mix-ups with mail delivery. Lawrence already has a Brentwood Drive and Bently Place, for example.

But Turney, whose new home is southwest of Peterson Road and Monterey Way, said the new residents were doing just fine, and that the Bentwood Place street sign should remain.

"We haven't had any problems," Turney said.

Although commissioners had adopted the ordinance earlier in the meeting, Wildgen said it would not take effect until staffers had a chance to discuss the change with residents.

Riverridge Road

awaits reconstruction

The city wants to rebuild Riverridge Road, and it wants permission to use the state's money.

Commissioners agreed to ask the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) for money to help finance the $900,000 project, anticipated for construction in 2000.

The project would rebuild a half-mile stretch of Riverridge, from North Iowa to Michigan streets, to include wider lanes, sidewalks on both sides and an underground drainage system.

Commissioners already expect to spend $150,000 next year to design the project.

KDOT gives the city about $300,000 each year to be applied toward construction projects that upgrade major streets in town. Previous projects financed using such funds include Harper and Fourth streets.

KDOT agrees to pay 80 percent of a project's construction and inspection costs; local governments are responsible for the rest.

Because about 30 percent of the project is outside the city limits, city officials will approach Douglas County officials for possible financial assistance, City Manager Mike Wildgen said.

Contractor to revamp

city hall meeting room

A local contractor will get at least $56,370 to upgrade carpeting, lights and other interior features inside the commission's meeting room at city hall.

BA Green, of Lawrence, landed the contract for the latest upgrade to the first-floor room at city hall, Sixth and Massachusetts. The project is part of an overall $150,000 plan to bring the 18-year-old room up to date.

Several alternates -- such as removing a rarely used entry door or replacing railings in the lobby -- could be included at a later date and boost the contract's cost.

The changes are expected early next year.

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