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Archive for Friday, April 14, 2006

Residents oppose building proposal

April 14, 2006

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Lawrence developer Bo Harris thinks his newest project - to redevelop the area around Eighth and Pennsylvania streets - would create a fun place to live.

With loft-style condos, traditional brownstone flats and a mix of offices and retail shops in about a two-block area, Harris' project would create a new way to live in one of Lawrence's older neighborhoods. And all of it would just be a short four-block walk from the heart of downtown.

"We think we can create a real life, work and play zone," said Harris, who built the Hobbs Taylor Lofts on New Hampshire Street downtown. "A zone that is very pedestrian-oriented and linked to the vitality of downtown."

But neighbors aren't sure it will be that much fun. They're concerned that downtown-style, multistory buildings would be too close to existing single-family homes, and would create traffic and on-street parking problems in the neighborhood.

"They think it is OK to have single-family homes on one side of an alley and then, boom, you hit 40-foot buildings right on the other side of the alley," said Phil Collison, a member of the East Lawrence Neighborhood Assn. "There should be some type of buffer zone."

The two different views have created the makings of a classic City Hall battle pitting developer versus neighbor. City commissioners on Thursday had hoped a study session to bring the two sides together would help break the stalemate.

It didn't.

City commissioners, however, vowed to keep searching for a compromise.

"It is a very exciting project," City Commissioner Sue Hack said. "We have said over and over again that the ability to save and protect our downtown rests with our ability to attract more residents to the area. This would do that."

Project points

As currently proposed, the project would add 74 new living units to the area, including 20 apartments in the four-story former Poehler Grocery Wholesale building east of Pennsylvania Street.

The other 54 units would be condos - most of them two-bedroom, two-bath units - housed in five new buildings along the west side of Pennsylvania Street, between Eighth and Ninth streets. The buildings would replace Lawrence Bus Co. garages and vacant lots used to house outdoor buses and parts.

Neighbors said Thursday they like much of the proposal, particularly the renovation of the Poehler building and the four other old industrial buildings east of Pennsylvania Street. Those buildings would house a mix of retail and office uses.

But in the five new buildings west of Pennsylvania Street, neighbors want Harris to build just 24 condos, and to eliminate plans for ground-level retail businesses in two of the buildings.

Harris said that probably would make the project financially unfeasible. He said he's frustrated because he's been talking about the project at East Lawrence Neighborhood Assn. meetings since 2002.

"We talk about doing things in this part of town, and nothing ever gets done," Harris said. "Here's a chance to get some things done, but it seems like an opposite tack has been taken to just oppose change."

Neighbors, though, said they have legitimate concerns about the project.

The development proposes 435 parking spaces, but 166 of them are on-street parking spots. Janet Good, president of the East Lawrence Neighborhood Assn., said on-street parking spaces already are in high demand without the project.

But she said a bigger neighborhood concern is that the project will cause property values to rise to a point that many longtime residents will no longer be able to afford to stay in their homes.

"If people have to sell their homes because they can't afford to pay their property taxes, that will be a shame," Good said. "Our elderly residents deserve better than that."

But Harris said the value of single-family homes in the area will continue to rise whether or not his project goes forward. He suggested City Hall could use some of the new tax dollars generated by his project to fund a program to help some East Lawrence residents stay in their homes. He's also agreed to work with Lawrence Tenants to Homeowners to enter six of the projects living units into its affordable housing program.

Meet again

There are other challenges.

Harris told commissioners that he would like City Hall to pay for several infrastructure improvements in the area, such as stormwater repairs, street upgrades and an extension of Delaware Street from Eighth to Ninth streets.

Interim City Manager David Corliss said an earlier estimate pegged those costs at about $1.8 million. He said many of the costs, such as installing brick streets, were not costs the city would typically bear. But Harris said many of the upgrades are needed because the city had not adequately maintained the infrastructure.

Commissioners did not get into that discussion on Thursday, instead seeking compromise between Harris and the neighbors. Commissioners David Schauner and Boog Highberger volunteered to mediate a meeting between the two groups in coming weeks.

The project won't be in a position to receive final City Commission approval until early June. That's because members of the city's planning staff discovered they did not properly notify residents who live within 200 feet of the project of last month's Planning Commission hearing on the matter, where near-unanimous approval was given to the proposal.

A second hearing is scheduled at the Planning Commission's May meeting.

8th and Pennsylvania

Comments

jayhawks71 8 years, 5 months ago

OK anti-smoking ban people. Step up here and support Harris' property rights. If he owns the property, he SHOULD be allowed to develop it however he wants (if that means putting a trash dump on it so be it) regardless of what "neighbors" want.

Let's go! Dennis Steffes, Marion, Red Lyon Tavern... the rest of you... let's get to work on upholding and protecting property owner's absolute property rights. I look forward to seeing your support.

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grimpeur 8 years, 5 months ago

This is a good re-development. Seems like creation of 435 new parking spaces is a good thing, given the reality of our car-dependent nature. One important calculation is the net gain in spaces--that is, how many current spaces are in the footprint of the new 435 spaces?

I don't see how a 40-foot building is inappropriate next to 30-foot buildings. If the lighting is not a nuisance, and parking is confined to the new development and not allowed to spread into the residential streets, it should work. Of course, my POV is that of a large-city native, where living near people in high density is normal.

The positive effect of drawing people downtown must be balanced by protection of the residents' streets. It's time for neighborhoods to implement a resident parking permit--you must live on the street to park there. This is used with great success in larger cities to alleviate the pressure on residential streets from neighboring developments, offices, and businesses. This would work for neighborhoods around KU and LHS, too, where the nuisance of unnecessary and lazy automobile use generates huge pressures on surrounding residential streets.

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bankboy119 8 years, 5 months ago

I'm anti-smoking ban and completely for this redevelopment. Lawrence sucks right now. Hopefully this will help....unless the Kommish won't let new businesses in because of competition.

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cowboy 8 years, 5 months ago

The city needs to start deleting commissions , they are largely a time consuming delay with petty alliances.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

I think this has the potential to be a good redevelopment, too, and from conversations I've had with people in the neighborhood, they think so, too.

But they also feel that they've been caught up in a bait and switch. They say that in Harris's discussions with the neighborhood, they were led to believe this development would be much less intense than the plans he submitted to the city.

It should also be remembered that when he was seeking approval for Hobbs-Taylor, Harris insisted that if he couldn't build it 7 stories high, it was a deal-killer. When he couldn't sell that many lofts, he cut back to 4-5 stories, and still went ahead with the deal. He would still build this development even if he is required to scale back, and I think he expects that it will be.

BTW, there is a big difference between 30-ft tall houses with smaller footprints, set back from the street, and 40-ft buildings that nearly fill the lot.

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lonelyboy 8 years, 5 months ago

This would be a better area for the homeless shelter than 19th and Haskell...lets see ... homeless shelter in east Lawrence = Ok, nice new business/ living space versus empty ugly eye sores = not Ok. This area needs help!

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Kookamooka 8 years, 5 months ago

I'm sick of multi family housing. I wish they'd use that space for a Children's Museum, an outdoor Ice Skating Rink and a botanical garden. Multi-family housing is.....yawn....a big FAT bore!

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cutny 8 years, 5 months ago

Well, aside from being completely incomprehesible by way of their lame, futuristic, computer-generated drawing, it looks atrocious me. Yeah, here come the quarter-million dollar condos. See what happens when greedy developers run out of land to build. Yawn...could it be more bland?

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winwombat 8 years, 5 months ago

I live in the 900 block of Pennsylvania and am completely for this redevelopment. When I bought my home 4 years ago I bought it as an investment. This development will only help that investment. Taking the position that the "rise in proerty values is going to force elderly residents out of their homes" is the worng way to look at this. What this will do is allow those elderly people who have been living in the same house for 50 years and haven't really been upkeeping thier property to get TOP dollar for the sale of their home when they want to sell it. They can take the money and run with it.

It will be my street that will be THE most affected by this development and what the ELNA is not telling you is that there are three houses on this block out of 13 that are owned/rented by someone over the age of 45. The rest of us are youngish people, some with kids, who have bought these properties with one purpose: to fix up the houses that were neglected by their previous owners and to get a return on our investments.

I would like to encourage every single person who reads this post to take a nice little drive down my street and through this neighborhood. What you will see is a majority of nice homes that look as though they are in some stage of transition and revitalization. You will see blooming flowers and trimmed trees. Those are the house of the fixer-upers. Then you will see the few s--t holes that haven't seen a coat of paint in decades, that you have to have the city write a citation to get them to mow their lawns, that obviously show that the residents DON'T care about the upkeep of their home. Those are the houses of the people who want to keep their property values low. They are also the rental houses that the infamous slumlord landlords don't want to bother with basic upkeep. If you like what you see being done by those who are revitalizing century old homes, preserving and making use of that which is already here, get on the bandwagon with us and voice approval for this development, and when it comes in bring your friends into our neighborhood, shop, eat and admire the work that we have done to preserve the gem that is East Lawrence.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

winwombat--

Rising property values don't do you any good at all unless you plan to sell and move out. And even then, if you're moving within Lawrence, the odds are that you won't get anything better than what you just came from.

You and your neighbors are to be commended for fixing up the neighborhood, but if it really is nothing more than an investment as a means of moving on to another "better" neighborhood, while driving up the property taxes of your neighbors who are on fixed incomes, then it's little more than self-interested greed.

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betti81 8 years, 5 months ago

thanks winwombat for the excellent post. honestly, people on your street who want this development need to speak louder and more often than those few who do not.

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fundamental 8 years, 5 months ago

I couldn't agree more with what winwombat said. I also live very near the proposed development site. What's the point of owning property if it doesn't appreciate? I guess I missed that day of class however many years ago. If you own property that you don't want to appreciate, you should move somewhere else. What's wrong with these people? If that area at 8th and Pennsylvania sits empty for the next 50 years, what good is it to Lawrence at large or the East Lawrence Neighborhood Association? Absolutely nothing.

So Bo Harris wants to develop it. Yes, he stands to make a bundle of money on the project, but so does each and every resident of the neighborhood due to increased property values. Obviously increased property values translate into increased property taxes, but wouldn't you rather have that extra $50,000 when you retire and decide to sell your house to live on the equity? I know I would.

Let's quit griping and moaning about neighborhood gentrification and start getting excited about the possibility that other young up-and-comers might find a great reason to stay in Lawrence and fix up the neighborhood a bit. We can ALL benefit from that.

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winwombat 8 years, 5 months ago

Greedy is the very last thing that I am. I am young, with a family. I live and work in this neighborhood. And when my husband and I first bought our home we refused to look at the putty palaces that have vomited all over west Lawrence. We wanted a home that we could love and care for. Something that has history, something that we could preserve for the next generation. We wanted to prevent the destruction of this house and this neighborhood to make way for yet more putty palaces (which if you look at the corner of 15th and haskell is Exactly what is happening).

We have no plans to sell any time in the future. But, plans to refinance in 5 years so that we can pay off our student loans and then be out from under a mortgage 15 years after that so that we can help send our kids to college, yes. That isn't greed, that is sound financial planning.

Bo Harris is correct that the property values in this neighborhood are going to go up no matter what happens. They are skyrocketing all over Lawrence. Since we bought our house the value has increased, according to the county evaluation and not taking into consideration anything that we done to the property, over $45,000, in FOUR years. You can't blame, Bo or his plans or me for that. The property values are going to increase and god forbid when they get so high and force the older residents out that they sell them to someone who will just raze the neighborhood in favor of the putty palaces.

The people on fixed incomes in this neighborhood should be wise to pay attention to what is going on. Maybe they don't want to leave their home, but if they were to sell it at or more than their asking price, which is what is consistently happening in this neighborhood, they wouldn't be living on fixed incomes any longer. They would actually be able to live some place much nicer with less upkeep. They could spoil their grandchildren, travel the world. $125,000- $160,000 will go a long way to pay any outstanding bills and to pay for any dreams that someone in their golden years might have.

I know this one is going to come back and bite me, oh well!

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fundamental 8 years, 5 months ago

You see, bozo, that's the problem. You say these people are on fixed incomes, and they probably are, but they'll be worth SO much more if their house (and property) increases in worth. They can parlay that into EXTRA income. And besides, if they're on fixed income, chances are they're retired and, though it may seem harsh to say, aren't really the future of the neighborhood, no?

Go ahead, call me greedy. I've been called worse, and by people who matter to me a lot more than you. The bottom line with this is that I bought my property because property appreciates, and I'll be damned if I stand by while people less affected by this than myself decry it because they don't want their precious property taxes to increase. Ludicrous.

BTW, the voting district that comprises this specific area voted 81% for John Kerry in the last election, by far the highest percentage for Kerry in the entire city. I find it a bit disingenuous that a bunch of tax-and-spend liberals in the neighborhood in question would freak out about a slight increase in property tax. Try to explain that one to me.

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muffaletta 8 years, 5 months ago

Winwombat -- you're right on.

Lawrence fears change and it's pathetic.

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Kathleen Christian 8 years, 5 months ago

I agree about the additional Units However, I would bargain for: If Harris wants to build 54 additional units and LNA wants only 20 and Harris would offer 6 units for affordable housing progam. I would agree with allowing him to build 30 additional unit if he offered 10 of the units for affordable housing program.

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muffaletta 8 years, 5 months ago

Neighborhood associations should be banned. Talk about greed.

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grimpeur 8 years, 5 months ago

Kline wrote:

"4 blocks is too far to walk except for a student."

Please tell me you're kidding.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

The focus on appreciation is little more than belief in a pyramid scheme. So what if your valuation goes up-- almost everything else will go up too, and the increases we've been seeing in Lawrence will begin to level out at some point. So you're focussing on one aspect of inflation and pretending that it is a positive sign, when in reality, it's mostly neutral.

And the notion that the retired folk can sell out and live like royalty is just absurd. No matter how much property values rise in E. Lawrence, it will still be among the least expensive in town. So unless they plan on living on the streets, the "windfall" won't do a thing for their cash position, or get them any better a place.

This project shouldn't be decided on what effect it will have on property taxes. Harris is right that values in E. Lawrence will rise no matter what happens with this project.

But the effect it will have on the livability of existing residences and on traffic volume should be considered. And if Harris wants some new streets built, he should pay for them.

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Jay_Z 8 years, 5 months ago

Bozo, I think that most people buy property with the hope that the value will go up, and one day when they sell, that they will see a profit. Just sounds like common sense to me. Or am I missing something? How can you say the people around this proposed development are greedy? Get a grip!

I hope this development does get implemented--sounds like a good deal for east Lawrence.

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muffaletta 8 years, 5 months ago

Bozo, your strange thinking forgets that each property owner is locked in at the purchase + investment price. So appreciation does matter in terms of cold hard cash to people. Even old people.

Duh.

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Rationalanimal 8 years, 5 months ago

A good chunk of East Lawrence is dilapidated clap-board houses (a/k/a blight) anyways. If that raises the value of junk, who can complain about that. Take the money and go buy something decent. There's more to the world than the 20 block downtown radius. The problem is that this Commission's open bias toward digging their heels into dowtown concrete over allowing developement on the fringes of Lawrence artificially increases the property values there as well. The net result is the gains received by the property increases downtown doesn't buy you anything more in the new developments. Thus, people will be trading junk for junk.

The solution is to ease up and let development take place in other areas of Lawrence as well. Otherwise such policies stand to displace longtime residents to towns outside of Lawrence. The Commission's development policies are creating a housing situation analagous to a soup line. Let the people have bread.

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fundamental 8 years, 5 months ago

Frankly, Bozo, I refuse to believe that hundreds of millions of homeowners in this country are caught up in a pyramid scheme, as you seem to believe. I assume you're not attempting to tout the benefits of renting over ownership, so I'll spare you the obvious differences.

So, I'll try "focusSing" on other aspects of the project. How about the fact that a repopulation of that specific area will do wonders for the businesses in the neighborhood. Increased earnings for those businesses mean more incentive to upgrade and expand. What about the fact that, when property taxes inevitably rise, they will go largely to pay for the improvement of New York Elementary School, which desperately needs the funds. These are all GOOD things, not "the sky is falling" portends for the end of the world in East Lawrence.

I for one hope that Mr. Harris is responsible in his planning, but, as a resident of the neighborhood in question, it makes me so happy and proud that someone actually sees some potential in this area. Someone is actually willing to put his money where his mouth is and step up and say, "I believe in East Lawrence, and I want to make sure it stays viable long into this 21st Century." What could possibly be wrong with that? That's what each and every one of the homeowners who are working tirelessly to improve their homes and properties are saying, and we should not be condemned for it. If nothing else, Mr. Harris' interest in the project is validation for all of us who have put in the hard work in building "sweat equity" in our properties. Stop the nay-saying and get on the bus. The right bus.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

Of course, people want their property to appreciate. It certainly beats depreciation, especially when your mortgage payments remain based on the original loan amount.

But if you never plan to leave Lawrence, as long as appreciation is equal to that of inflation and the amount of improvements you make, then the effects on your financial position of rising property values are a net zero. It's just simple math, but the pyramid-scheme hype about appreciating values usually trumps simple mathematical facts in most peoples' minds.

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muffaletta 8 years, 5 months ago

Ten bucks out of my pyramid-scheme-ridden home equity says that Bozo is a renter.

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Raiden 8 years, 5 months ago

The issue is responsible development.....responsible in terms of affordable housing; traffic flow; and responsible for building something that has some architectural merit. The artist rendering reminds me of the eyesore built on North Second street that looks like a jail. Please if you are going to build something, could it at least be nice to look at instead of what seems to be the cheapest mode of construction. Yes, I get it that it's supposed to be contemporary, but there is contemporary and then there is boring and ugly. If the project at 8th and New Hampshire is any indication, then this proposed project spells another eyesore for Lawrence just like all of the cookie-cutter c__p that's been thrown up in way out west Lawrence. There is nothing urbane or distinctly interesting about this project. I guess the idea is that if it is to remian affordable, then one has to settle for ugly????? Have the expectations and taste of the commission sunk so low??? Big fat and boring.

While it is good for homeowners for property values to increase, it shouldn't occur at a rate that puts people out of their homes. In urban centers it is not uncommon for developers to buy up poorer parts of town and redevelop it in a way that forces the locals out of their long established homes. Gentrification at its worst. And if it so happens that these folks currently live in the only affordable area of town, then where are they supposed to go?? Lawrence real estate is already over-inflated and beyond affordable for so many folks. Why would anyone willingly want to contribute to making real estate less accessible than it already is??? For greed; pure and simple greed. Can any of you proponents of this project afford the lofts in Harris' current New Hampshire street project???? And for those of you who think the issue of on-street parking is a non-issue, then none of you have lived someplace where finding a parking place that is reasonably close to your front door means circling that block and surrounding blocks for a place to park. This sort of irresponsible disregard leads to neighborhoods being carved up and parking stickers PAID FOR BY RESIDENTS to allow them to park in their neighborhoods (and allows 'non residents' cars to be ticketed or towed at owners expense), nevermind proximity to the actual residence. And yes we shouly be less dependent on our cars, but Lawrence is light years away from offering reasonable alternatives to that so this cannot be disregarded.

But if it is going to happen and it probably will because there is usually some mutual back scratching going on between developers and "the commission" then at least build something that Lawrence can be proud of twenty or thirty years from now instead of this mundane drivel that Harris calls architecture.

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 5 months ago

East Lawrence is on the cusp. It could teeter either way. It's had crime problems, in part to the number of neglected properties in that area. If it goes downhill from where it is, we will start to see crackhouses in that part of town (and weed-growing operations like the ones that have become so popular in the Alvamar area).

I think something "like" this needs to happen there. This is just what the area needs to pick it up a little. Then, ordinary citizens who would otherwise consider living out west will consider renovating an E. Lawrence home. Go for it!

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

BTW, both "focussing" and "focusing" are accepted spellings of the word.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

"we will start to see crackhouses in that part of town"

They've been there for quite some time in some areas.

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fundamental 8 years, 5 months ago

No offense intended, Bozo. I just enjoy alternative spellings. Kudos for the point.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

None of the E. Lawrence critics of this development are saying it shouldn't be built. They are saying that the level of profitability for Harris shouldn't be the only consideration.

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Kathleen Christian 8 years, 5 months ago

I agree it should be built to revitalize that area (it needs it). But I also think it could be scaled down some. These developers take it overboard and over build without consider traffic and parking problems. Then a few years down the road major traffic jams and parking issues and City Hall scratching their heads trying to figure out how to solve that problem. Scale it down and there's no need to be greedy. There's enough for everyone to benefit from. If we build within reason.

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winwombat 8 years, 5 months ago

Pyramid scheme?? So if I buy something for $5 and then sell it for $15 the $10 in my pocket is just neutral? I am sorry, but you missed Econ 101.

If anyone, not just older people, who wants to sell their house and lives in East Lawrence, they are going to make a profit. It is fact because it has happened with every house that has been sold in the last 5 years in the neighborhood. Those people who sell can do what ever they want with their profit. They can reinvest in another property. If they are older they can move into one of the really nice apartments at pioneer ridge or brandonwoods and live there for the next 20 years off of their profit. They can bury it in the ground, for all I care. You donot live on the street when you have $100,000 in the bank.

Traffic volume: this morning I counted 3 cars parked on my street, seemed to me like parking really wasn't much of an issue. And if you actually lived on the street you would know that there has always been and will always be traffic on this street because the bus depot is right there. I see more of the city bus system than probably anybody else in this town because EVERY SINGLE bus comes by my house at least twice a day. Anyone coming to this area will be travelling down Ninth street from Mass to get to it. And I know that part of Bo's plan is to have the vehicle traffic limited to certain areas so that it is a very friendly pedestrian area. His original plans from 3 years actually had the street not being accessable to vehicles at all and making it entirely pedestrian.

Livability of existing homes: Well, my house and those of my neighbors are a lot more liveable than those of the oposition. And affordable housing shouldn't be equated with a slum, which many of the houses in the area that are considered affordable are.

Streets: If Bo Harris has to build his own street I can imagine it will probably be one of the best maintained streets in town. When you start fixing the potholes outside your front door your self then you can say that Bo Harris should pay for his own streets.

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Kookamooka 8 years, 5 months ago

Let's not forget who the property taxes benefit....THE PEOPLE! So our schools get a boost. Is that a bad thing?

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fundamental 8 years, 5 months ago

The point they're missing, Bozo, is that all the residents are going to make money with this, not just Bo Harris. If the project needs ground level retail to be financially feasible, what's wrong with that? It would certainly be nice to have some shopping just down the street, no matter what it is. A grocery store sure would be nice, but I'm not holding my breath there.

Back on point, however, I think businesses could really thrive down that way. It would give hometown businesses an alternative to the ridiculous Mass St. rental rates. Can you imagine having a coffee shop, a book store, a bank and whatever else might go in there just steps away from your house? I think it would be extremely convenient. Maybe you live down that way, maybe you don't, but I DO. I would love to be able to walk down there whenever I need to without having to plan it.

Sure, maybe you're concerned about parking when you come down there, but most of the residents aren't. Looking out on our street this morning at about 7:30, there weren't more than 3 cars on the entire street. The residents don't need on the street parking. We all park off the street. I don't know where Miss Good lives, but I can guarantee it's not on my block.

The vocal minority needs to get out of the way of this development. Period.

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Keith_GS 8 years, 5 months ago

To the folk who want the only consideration to be the potential harm the development would bring to the residents of the community and who dismiss its potential benefits to that community as irrelevant: Do you always let the negative factors control when making a decision, instead of weighing the positive and negative? How's that working out?

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fundamental 8 years, 5 months ago

Hear, Hear, Kookamooka!

We cannot forget (though it sounds irreparably cheesy) that the children are the future. More specifically, Lawrence's future. If our schools get improved, the neighborhood will be that much more attractive to prospective home-buyers, and the cycle will continue. As property values increase, so do taxes. As taxes increase, the schools get better funding. As schools get better funding, they attract better teachers and test scores improve. In a liberal town like Lawrence, who's arguing against that?

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muffaletta 8 years, 5 months ago

Agreed.

Here's an opportunity, "Progressive" Lawrence.

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classclown 8 years, 5 months ago

"Looking out on our street this morning at about 7:30, there weren't more than 3 cars on the entire street."

Out of curiousity, how many people on your street have already driven their vehicles to their job by 7:30 in the morning? Or does everyone on that street have a 9:00-5:00 desk job?

Everyone on my street has a driveway, but because of multiple vehicles, as well as different schedules, most of us park one of our vehicles on the street most of which are no longer parked there by 7:30 since their owners have driven them off to their jobs.

A better indicator would be to evaluate the number of vehicles on the street in the evening or the weekend.

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baptista 8 years, 5 months ago

Point made, classclown.

However, as a good friend of winwombat who frequently visits the home, I can attest to the low volume of street parkers in the neighborhood.

I have a feeling that winwombat knows the general parking demand of the street, since it is winwombat's neighborhood, and was using this morning as an example.

Nice try though.

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J Good Good 8 years, 5 months ago

Most residents do not OPPOSE the project (but it sells more papers if you make that the headline!) It actually has a lot of support, and in some fashion it WILL be built.

There are a lot of positives, but there are also negative consequences, and it would be refreshing if they could be addressed now, instead of waiting until it is a done deal. I know that is the way that things tend to get done around here.

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fundamental 8 years, 5 months ago

classclown: Yeah, okay, sure, there are a few more than 3 cars on the street on the weekend. But you're missing the point. The point is, the residents (that is, the people who ACTUALLY LIVE IN THE HOUSES) generally don't park in the street. At night, it's the same thing. 3 or so cars. NOT A PROBLEM. Trust me, I live there, I know.

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Keith_GS 8 years, 5 months ago

"A better indicator would be to evaluate the number of vehicles on the street in the evening or the weekend."

I'm familiar with this neighborhood, and I can't remember there being more than 5 or 6 cars on the entire street in the evenings or weekends, unless someone was hosting some kind of gathering. I think it's safe to say there is not a whole lot of traffic in that part of town at any time of day.

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classclown 8 years, 5 months ago

Everyone makes an investment when they buy a house. For some of you it is obviously a dollar issue, but for others it is an investment in their lives. They have raised their families there, have the place paid off, and wish to live the balance of their lives in the place they have made home.

It seems easy enough to tell these people to sell, take whatever money they can get, and go somewhere to pay for something else now. Something they will never own. If that is what you want for yourself, then power to you. But people do become attached to their property. You have your house. They have their home.

But hey, your sense of monetary wealth is more important than someone else's lifetime of memories and attachments.

Doe sthis mean we should stifle new development? No. It means that we need to consider the possibility that what is good for you doesn't by definition mean it is good for all. And when something affects everyone, then everyone needs to be considered.

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baptista 8 years, 5 months ago

What is good for "you" is never good for all.

Thinking of one's home as a financial investment does NOT mean that the individual is not making an investment in his/her life. Naive.

Classclown is probably a renter too.

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fundamental 8 years, 5 months ago

Wow, classclown, wow. I hope you didn't wipe too much of your white-face makeup off dabbing your tears whilst typing that drivel.

Please do not impugn my priorities in life by implying that I have no home, but only a building in which I live. Ridiculous. If you had any idea of the work I've put into my home so as to improve the structure itself, my comfort in it, and my family's safety around it, you would be laughing at yourself right now.

Your utilitarian ambitions, while noble, are hopelessly misguided. If we held off on every project because a small number of people MIGHT be negatively affected, nothing would ever get done in this town, county, state, country, (insert entity). Please. This is how business is done. Does it suck for a few? Maybe (again, it's a bit premature to assume that people are actually going to be uprooted from their homes and what not). However, the big picture of this is overwhelmingly positive for all involved.

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Keith_GS 8 years, 5 months ago

Good points, classclown. I suppose the end result of holding on to a homestead until death mainly impacts whichever of the owners' heirs or assigns ends up with the residence after distribution of the estate, whether it appreciates or not. Still, what new owner wants to inherit an investment that has depreciated? (I say investment because, typically, owners of inherited residences do not live in them.)

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delta77 8 years, 5 months ago

I love how people in this town complain so much about property values going up. Do you not understand that the value of something you own is increasing? It seems like a simple concept. Imagine how much people would complain if your car became $10,000 more valuable when you drove it off the dealer's lot instead of depreciating.

Residents, especially the elderly, can borrow against or sell of some of the additional equity if they need a few hundred dollars more to pay property taxes.

You can never please everyone in these things. Some people are just too far off the map.

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baptista 8 years, 5 months ago

Yea! We're glad you moved out of Lawrence too!

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Fatty_McButterpants 8 years, 5 months ago

Most of the area that is in consideration is nothing but a dilapidated industrial park anyway. I find it amusing that people want to fix-up the neighborhoods but they never want to do it in their own neighborhood.

Lawrence is supposed to be so progressive but, really, you progressives are very conservative when it comes to your own neighborhoods!

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fundamental 8 years, 5 months ago

ruskastud: There's a difference between "putty palaces" and new construction in general. The phrase "putty palace" implies a certain cookie-cutter approach to construction. That is, adjacent structures that all bear the exact same dimensions, style and appearance. The project at 8th and Pennsylvania, though the "artist's renderings" were positively nondescript and awful, would be closer in style, I think, to the Hobbs/Taylor Lofts building, which in my opinion, is quite classy and stylish.

Though I would not presume to speak for winwombat, I think there are clear differences here.

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winwombat 8 years, 5 months ago

Fundamental is exactly right with the deffinition of putty palaces. If you have ever driven on I-70 west of Lawrence towards To-puka or on k-10 towards Kansas City in Eudora you will see exactly what I mean. All the house are the same construction with one basic pale putty color that tends in to shades of beige, taupe, barely blue, barely pink, barely yellow, barely green. All have the exact same deminsion and windows and the largest variation is what side of the house your garage is on.

Preservation is a big deal. Harris is proposing to take a very delapidated industrial park (thanks mc butterpants!), to clean up the oil spill and environmental problems (there are possibly gas tanks under ground that are seeping), and to breathe new life into bulidings that have historical importance to the Lawrence communtiy. They can just sit there until they fall apart entirely and destroy the earth and Harris will just build what he want to build out in the middle of the manmade wetlands, or we can let him take on this project, invest his own money to resurrect this area of town, and all reap benefits.

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Kookamooka 8 years, 5 months ago

Funny thing about parking....anyone live in Old West Lawrence? Football season SUCKS! You can't leave your house during a game cause you'll never get your space back...and....the drunken alumni frat boys LOVE to take leaks in your yard (and it used to be they'd try to use your phone-than GOD for cellphones). The University doesn't always make a nice neighbor either.

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Kookamooka 8 years, 5 months ago

I'd rather have some nice retail neighbors than drunken football fans anyday!! Now, with an outdoor ice rink you'd have drunken and violent hockey fans....hm...maybe the ice rink isn't such a good idea.

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kujeeper 8 years, 5 months ago

I guess Phil Collison just wants to keep living in the dump we call East Lawrence. Why not start fixing the area up and make our town look better? East Lawrence Neighborhood Assn = whining people who don't want the town to improve.

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Raiden 8 years, 5 months ago

Whoever, and not just the person who made the comment, thinks the Hobbs-Taylor lofts building is classy has no concept of the tremendous loss to architecture it is. There is nothing noteworthy about it. It is cookie-cutter just like the buildings across from Free State Brewing. It is the cookie-cutter style of this "era" and because our senses are getting n/dumbed down we don't expect builders to design something truly stimulating, innovative and timeless. The Hobbs-Taylor lofts, 30 to 40 years from now will look then like the Vermont street post office looks to us now.

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Raiden 8 years, 5 months ago

to kujeeper---i don't agree that the ELNA doesn't want improvement; they just want it done well and with some conscience. And while there may not be many parked cars on the street there now, once this is built we may rue these statements. Envision the street after construction and occupancy. Is the city planning to upgrade the neighboring streets to handle the increased traffic? What traffic studies are being done in terms of added stop signs and/or lights and issues of safety for neighborhood children and elderly?

But, overall this sort of discussion is healthy. I just wonder if anyone on the "commission" is reading this.

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carloscenteno 8 years, 5 months ago

Raiden. Must agree. However, it costs a lot of money to get a real architect to design something in Lawrence, which should of course be no excuse. We do havea good architecture firm though but I wonder why they didn't design the building if they've worked abroad in very interesting projects. In any case. look into the weird timeline of this building when the city prohibited to build such a tall building and then after negotiations, even though it was stillprohibited, they still built it. A journalist from this paper actually wrote about htis once. Very dark things lurking behind Harris properties.

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leftwingfarmboy 8 years, 5 months ago

This is pure greed done on the sly by a former ELNA president, realator and self-proclaimed poet. If it was so great why did they go about this project as if it were the Bush administration. If you are for this project you have no concept of the history of this town.

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fundamental 8 years, 5 months ago

Wow, farmboy. I've never heard of a realator. Do you know a realator? I know several good realtors, but I don't know what a realator is.

Anyway, on to your ridiculous point of view. Bo Harris owns the land, right? Are you with me here? He's a developer. He's going to want to develop the land so it doesn't just sit there growing weeds and leaking bio-chemicals into the city water supply. Still following? So, he's going to want to put things there that are going to, eventually, pay him for his monetary investment. This could include, but is not limited to, residential housing, retail space, and whatever else he chooses to put on HIS land. Now, that's his right, as long as he gets approval from the city, which seems at least moderately likely at this point.

Okay, so that's the project. It's going to a)increase the value of all property surrounding the project including land in fact NOT owned by Bo Harris and b)revitalize a part of town long neglected by the powers that be in Lawrence. What's so unforgivable about that?

And by the way, I'd rather have a concept for the future of this city than not be able to get past my concept of the history of it. Just my opinion.

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winwombat 8 years, 5 months ago

Long neglected east lawrence is so true. This area of the city when I first moved in was just starting to come out of the scary stage. But it wasn't with much help from the city. Even today there are still moments when scary things happen when unfamiliar people are lurking in the neighborhood. Because of the lacking infrastructure it is unsafe to be alone in our neighborhood at night. Children don't trick or treat in our neighborhood after dark. One really shouldn't walk their dog after dark, unless it is a big dog. This area of the city desperately needs revitalization. We need street lights and stop signs. We need the city to actually recognize that this part of the city does exist. Several of the house that are here have been here since Quantrill. Lawrence is not just downtown!

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leftwingfarmboy 8 years, 5 months ago

Sorry Mr. Fundamntal! Didn't know you never committed typos. Gee! You are so cooll! Whow can you be so cool and I am not. When I evolve I hope to be jist like you.

No Pilgrim! I do not see what you mean. Nor will I ever! You guys make cute little soundbytes to make Bo Harris seem like some tree hugging environmentalist when all he cares about is another buck.

Did I mention that the realtor (is that OK Mr. Funkamental) that sold out the ELNA is a recent arrival from a large BIG city. HOw dare he... Some gosh darn outsider from back east...

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fundamental 8 years, 5 months ago

It's not that I don't commit typos, farmboy, it's that I look at what I type before I post it. And it probably wasn't a typo, because you probably pronounce it "REAL-uh-ter" like a lot of idiots I know, even though that's clearly not the way it's spelled. See, the term for that is an epenthesis. It's sort of like someone who pronounces the word "athlete" ATH-uh-lete. See, you add an entire syllable to the word, either out of laziness or ignorance. But I'm sure you knew that.

Anyway, I don't think anybody made Bo out to be a tree hugging environmentalist. After all, he's the one who cut down the huge DEAD tree by Borders so he could build the Hobbs/Taylor lofts, right? Of course, the tree was dead, but that didn't stop other tree huggers from wanting it to stay there, even though the tree had been diseased for years and was a greater threat to the surrounding trees than any microburst. But I digress.

Of course Bo Harris is out to make a buck. So was I when I bought my house. Hello!!!! That's why we do things like go to work and invest and budget our finances and balance our checkbook. We're in it for the money because with money comes some level of security. If I can make money on the investment of purchasing a house, and therefore make my life and the lives of my family members a little better, I'll do it every day of my life. That's all Bo Harris is doing. But leftists like you don't like people to make money and be self sufficient. You would probably prefer that Bo Harris be dependent on welfare or some other government program just like everybody else. You make me sick, farmboy.

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leftwingfarmboy 8 years, 5 months ago

Mr. Fundamental! How can anybody take you serious with rants and insults like that? I simply do not care for the dumbing down of Americans. You know! The ones that by into corporate America hook line and sinker. People like yourself. I shouldn't make you sick- Only you can make yourself sick. Dude, you need some energy work.

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Kookamooka 8 years, 5 months ago

Is anybody else concerned about the putty palaces? Most don't have basements but were built on slabs. IN KANSAS! I think developers who build houses without basements are public enemy #1. It should be illegal!

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Jay_Z 8 years, 5 months ago

Wow farmboy, you sound like a real sensible person. Let's have a concept for the future of the city....quit living in the past and being afraid of change. Sure, we should be proud of Lawrence's history, but that shouldn't stop the city from growing and embracing new things. Oh, and nice job of throwing in a jab at the Bush Administration in a discussion about a real estate development--awesome dude!! You a tree hugging liberal?

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fundamental 8 years, 5 months ago

farmboy, I just call 'em like I see 'em. If I'm wrong on any of that, please inform me of it. However, if I can assume by your playing the "it's getting too personal" card that you can't dispute the whole of my argument instead of focussing on my "rants and insults," I'll consider it so.

Seriously, let East Lawrence have this. We deserve it. We need it. I don't know where you are or what your stake in it is, but I have a very large stake in this, and I'd like to see it come to fruition.

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Bill Smith 8 years, 5 months ago

Who would be able to afford to live in this development? Certainly not your average Lawrence resident. How many over priced "living units" does this city really need? Shucks, we've just recently lost the meadow in the new Meadow(less)brook development/addition.

Don't get me wrong, I think it is a great idea to refurbish old buildings and create communities. The problem is that they are not affordable living options for a good segment of the Lawrence population. In turn, you have people living in these nice developments, that commute and work in Kansas City or (shhh) Topeka. Do we really want Lawrence to become more of a sleeper community than it already is?

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classclown 8 years, 5 months ago

"Who would be able to afford to live in this development? Certainly not your average Lawrence resident."

All of the people that are going to make a great windfall on their financial investment from over valuation should be able to afford to move in there. Then they can look out their window at the blight they used to call home and demand something be done about it.

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jayhawks71 8 years, 5 months ago

I think a trash dump at the location would be more profitable than housing.

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Ward 8 years, 5 months ago

It's a shame that it's so darn unattractive. A fine idea with little curb appeal.

kooka... the extra cost of a basement is prolly the problem for the buyer and therefore the builder.

Raiden Hobbs taylor does not strike me as cookie cutter. Especially in Lawrence. The execution may be flawed due to the politics involved (short sighted mandatory historic aesthetics review) with its realization, but I have not seen any other structures like it in Lawrence. Those across from free state are pure real estate and less sophisticated (unless you count the owl above). It's actually an optimistic building and building type for its location. The real cookie cutter fiasco is the group of homes being built ala suburban fantasy (in meltaway cladding) at Haskell and 15th.

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Charles L Bloss Jr 8 years, 5 months ago

The reason nothing ever gets done, like the SLT, this project, and others is because Lawrence residents like to argue too much about everything. Sue each other, argue, complain and after ten years of doing that, no SLT. Since 2002 on this proposed project, argue, complain, and so nothing gets done. Fire one of the best city managers they ever had, keep him on as a consultant because no one else knows how things work, while they look for a replacement. One of the reasons they fired him was because the sewers won't work right. Now suddenly they have a plan to fix the sewers! Ah yes, they know why nothing gets done, they just don't want to do anything about it. Thank you, Lynn

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anonimiss 8 years, 5 months ago

If you buy a house, and it appreciates as much as inflation, and you sell that house for the same inflation-adjusted amount as you bought it for, would it basically be a free house?

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