To the editor:
Say what you will about the Lawrence/Douglas County Planning Commission, but they do provide great service.
I found this out when I, and 45 or so of my neighbors, attended their May 22 meeting to oppose a developer's request to rezone 13-plus acres (southwest corner of Sixth Street and Folks Road) for high-density student housing. Unaware, we thought that our case spoke for itself. Our arguments included:
1. No one with the obvious exception of the developer, the current owner of the property and their hired representatives supports this development plan or finds it to be "good planning"; not the residents of the surrounding Quail Run neighborhood, not the Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods, not the League of Women Voters. Even the city's own planning staff recommended that this rezoning request be denied.
2. Three of Lawrence's four adopted comprehensive planning guides, including Horizon 2020, clearly reject this type of development for our neighborhood.
3. A 13-acre finger of multi-family housing jammed into our neighborhood would devastate the neighborhood's existing single-family character, to say nothing of what it would do to our property values.
Yet with numerous legitimate reasons to oppose, commissioners opted instead to approve this developer's request. Even three commissioners who appeared largely catatonic throughout the five-hour meeting (including one observed napping briefly during public comment) perked up to cast their votes in support.
For white-glove service like that, I sure hope the developer left a gracious tip.