Archive for Sunday, March 25, 2001

Lawrence City Commission candidates Q & A

March 25, 2001

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Scott Bailey

Is economic development in Lawrence dependent on tax abatements?

No. The vast majority of the Lawrence business community has grown and thrived through the years without tax abatements.

Do you favor the proposed 32nd Street alignment to complete the South Lawrence Trafficway.

No. It is counterproductive to the growing consensus that favors a south of the (Wakarusa) river route.

Do you favor registering landlords in single-family areas, a broader range of zoning categories, or not at all?

"The goal to ensure good quality housing shouldn't be limited to one type of rental property."

Is the city doing a good job enforcing existing ordinances?

No. The single-family ordinance issue did reveal some areas where we can improve enforcement activities substantially.

Three months into its operation, what changes should be made to the Lawrence Transit System to make it more successful or useful?

It may be too early to make substantial changes for the "T" one item that should be examined is hours of operation.

What do you consider the most important issue to come before the commission in the last two years? Was it effectively addressed?

Single-family zoning ordinance. While I'm pleased with the direction that the changes are going in, this and other ordinances will be more effective if we include measures of effectiveness.




Marty Kennedy

Is economic development in Lawrence dependent on tax abatements?

We use or existing tax abatement policy to attract new businesses to Lawrence. However, economic development in Lawrence is not solely dependent on tax abatements. Economic development occurs in many cases without the use of abatements. The mayor's task force (on tax abatements) is scrutinizing this existing policy to determine if, in fact, it is good tool for our economic development.

Do you favor the proposed 32nd Street alignment to complete the South Lawrence Trafficway?

The city of Lawrence needs the South Lawrence Trafficway completed for the safety of our residents. For this to happen, it is important that we work with KDOT (Kansas Department of Transportation) to secure findings. KDOT has give the City of Lawrence mixed information as to where they want the trafficway located. We, as a community need to come together to complete the trafficway.

Do you favor registering landlords in single-family areas, a broader range of zoning categories, or not at all?

A policy for registration of rental property landlords in single family zoned areas has been developed. Expanding this registration into other zoning areas needs further research. I believe we must work with the landlords of rental property throughout the city to provide safe, affordable housing.

Is the city doing a good job enforcing existing ordinances?

In order to ensure more effective enforcement of existing ordinances, we are in the process of expanding our police, fire and building inspection departments.

Three months into its operation, what changes should be made to the Lawrence Transit System to make it more successful or useful?

With proper management, our transit system will be accepted and will continue to grow. We have a qualified city staff, in place, that works hard to assure this will happen. The city has already made changes to the system and continues ongoing adjustments to address the needs of our community.

What do you consider the most important issue to come before the commission in the last two years? Was it effectively addressed?

I believe every issue that comes before the Lawrence City Commission should be addressed as the most important. As your commissioner some issues we faced were; location of Lawrence Skateboard-Park, size and location of Lawrence Aquatic's Center, start-up of Lawrence Transportation System, and resolution of Lawrence storm water problems. The list could go on. However, as your commissioner I feel I have addressed each issue with equal importance. I want to emphasize that ALL issues that are brought in front of the Lawrence City Commission are important because in Lawrence, our city commission represents not just one sector, but rather, our community as a whole.




David Dunfield

Is economic development in Lawrence dependent on tax abatements?

No. Tax incentives should be used rarely. We can recruit new industry by promoting Lawrence's strengths: a talented, well-educated workforce, quality city services, attractive natural and cultural environment.

Do you favor the proposed 32nd Street alignment to complete the South Lawrence Trafficway?

No. It amazes me that KDOT has apparently still not understood that the only viable option for the SLT is south of the Wakarusa.

Do you favor registering landlords in single-family areas, a broader range of zoning categories, or not at all?

Broader area. We may start with single family zones, but Oread's residential-dormitory district needs to be brought in soon, and if successful, the program should expand further.

Is the city doing a good job enforcing existing ordinances?

No. This is not a criticism of city hall, but an acknowledgment that staffing and reporting procedures need improvement in order to provide the service citizens deserve.

Three months into its operation, what changes should be made to the Lawrence Transit System to make it more successful or useful?

None at this time. Ultimately, the city and KU systems should be integrated into a single city-wide system with longer hours of operation and service seven days per week.

What do you consider the most important issue to come before the commission in the last two years? Was it effectively addressed?

The revision of our zoning and subdivision regulations. These will shape Lawrence's growth for many years to come. I want to see this process through to completion.




Sue Hack

Is economic development in Lawrence dependent on tax abatements?

No. While I don't agree that tax abatements are absolutely essential to economic development, without them, our economic development will be severely hampered. If properly and prudently applied, tax abatements can be an investment that pays real returns over time through a stronger tax base and a stronger local economy. When tax abatements are used, we should expect that the community ultimately will gain more that it initially excuses in taxes.

Do you favor the proposed 32nd Street alignment to complete the South Lawrence Trafficway?

No. At this time I am not in favor of this alignment. This particular alignment appears to have many of the same drawbacks that the 31st Street alignment does with concerns for Haskell and the wetlands. The trafficway needs to be constructed in a manner that will meet the needs of regional traffic both now and in the future. My preference would be for the trafficway to be built south of the Wakarusa River.

Do you favor registering landlords in single family areas, a broader range of zoning categories, or not at all?

Single family. This ordinance will allow the city to collect data on rental properties, which will significantly improve the city's ability to work with landlords to make sure that properties are in compliance with existing ordinances.

Is the city doing a good job enforcing existing ordinances?

Yes. I think the city is in a good position to continue to improve its ordinance enforcement. Continued expansion of environmental inspection will slow the process of demolition by neglect of homes in our core neighborhoods. Working with the police department to make sure that all ordinances are enforced will be a step in the right direction.

Three months into its operation, what changes should be made to the Lawrence Transit System to make it more successful or useful?

I am very supportive of the transit system and am confident that usage will increase as the public becomes more aware of its availability and convenience. When the permanent routes are established and marked, ridership should increase. A further analysis including public input may be necessary at that time.

What do you consider the most important issue to come before the commission in the last two years? Was it effectively addressed?

I think the most important issue to come before the commission in the last two years was the American Eagle tax abatement decision. This issue brought to the surface a concern that had been growing for a long time in this community. Out of this decision was born the Mayor's Task Force on Tax Abatements and Eco2. Both of these hold such promise for the future of the community and will allow for a diverse group of people to work on solutions to the




Adam Mansfield

Is economic development in Lawrence dependent on tax abatements?

No. As long as the Chamber of Commerce is in charge of economic development there will be an emphasis on using them. This election could change that.

Do you favor the proposed 32nd Street alignment to complete the South Lawrence Trafficway?

No. I have a hard time believing that it has even been proposed.

Do you favor registering landlords in single-family areas, a broader range of zoning categories, or not at all?

Not at all. The current registration proposal is intrusive and does not do much more than provide enforcement for the new definition of single family.

Is the city doing a good job enforcing existing ordinances?

No. Obviously some people feel that there are big enough problems in the single-family zoned neighborhoods to limit who can live there instead of dealing with actual problems.

Three months into its operation, what changes should be made to the Lawrence Transit System to make it more successful or useful?

The hours of operation need to be expanded so more people can use it, and permanent stops need to be clearly marked and have waiting areas.

What do you consider the most important issue to come before the commission in the last two years? Was it effectively addressed?

The American Eagle tax abatement issue. It was not effectively addressed. It brought the disparity between the influence of the Chamber of Commerce and the citizens of Lawrence to the forefront.




Erv Hodges

1. Is economic development in Lawrence dependent on tax abatements?

Our economic development is not dependent on tax abatements but they must be available as one of the local and state incentives that might be needed to remain competitive with other cities in our region as we search and compete for desirable jobs and continued economic viability for our citizens.

2. Do you favor the proposed 32nd St. alignment to complete the South Lawrence Trafficway?

This alignment along with the abandonment of 31st between Louisiana and Haskell will go a long way toward solving Haskell's concerns. When combined with a large expansion of the wetlands east of Haskell and west of Louisiana we can develop a significant wetland and bird sanctuary that will gain regional recognition. These expansions must occur to make 32nd a viable alternative.

3. Do you favor registering landlords in single family areas, a broader range of zoning categories, or not at all?

I favor registering properties that are being rented in RS 1 and 2 areas. Extension into other areas, such as the Oread neighborhood, should be decided after we see the effectiveness of the program in single family areas. The goal of any registration program is to ensure the health and welfare of the tenants, the property owners and their neighbors.

4. Is the city doing a good job of enforcing existing ordinances?

A stronger enforcement program is needed to improve the livability and safety of our neighborhoods.

5. What changes should be made to the Lawrence Transit System to make it more successful and useful?

We should increase the hours of service to South Lawrence and downtown to provide a opportunity for residents to attend a 7 p.m. movie and return to the central business district by bus. We should also begin examining ways to increase coordination with KU on Wheels with a goal of eventually having one integrated system.

6. What do you consider the most important issue to come before the commission in the last two years? Was it effectively addressed?

The need to revitalize the older single family neighborhoods. The solution to this problem has the potential to increase the availability of affordable housing, increase the number of students attending the neighborhood schools, stabilize property values and improve the quality of life in our older neighborhoods. This need is now being addressed by a series of actions and the results need to be monitored closely to ensure that they are effective. The loss of single family homes to multi-adult rentals has had a significant impact on our neighborhoods and school district.

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