Archive for Wednesday, January 14, 2004

City endorses builder licensing

January 14, 2004


Lawrence city commissioners on Tuesday welcomed a proposal to license building contractors and said the program should be extended to framers and foundation builders as well.

"If that (building's foundation) fails, I don't care how good your drywall is," Commissioner David Schauner said.

Details of the licensing program still are pending. But Bobbie Flory, director of the Lawrence Home Builders Assn., said her organization hoped the city would pattern itself after the model established in Johnson County. The Home Builders Assn. proposed the licensing program.

The Johnson County program, she said, will include requirements that contractors purchase workers' compensation insurance and take classes every year to stay current with building techniques and codes.

Such licensing, Flory said, will raise public confidence.

"Like all businesspeople, I think the builders are concerned about their quality of work," she said.

Current Lawrence contractors, of which there are roughly 200, should be allowed to receive licenses without taking a qualification test that will be required of new licensees in the future, Flory said.

"What we don't want to do is, we don't want to set up a situation where somebody who has been building successfully in Lawrence for 15 years doesn't pass a test and has to go out of business," she said.

Commissioners directed city staffers to work out details of the licensing program.

Orchards Golf Course purchase forwardedThe Lawrence City Commission gave the go-ahead to purchase Orchards Golf Course -- and put it forever off-limits to development.Neighbors had asked to be assessed the $450,000 cost of buying development rights for the land. They had feared the course would be developed, exacerbating flooding problems.Final details should be ready in February.Traffic studies OK'dA pair of proposed policies received commissioners' preliminary support Tuesday.One policy would require traffic-impact studies for major new developments; the other would limit access points -- places for cars to enter and exit traffic -- along major roadways.

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