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Archive for Monday, January 9, 2006

North Lawrence repairs total $41M

Report puts price tag on fixing flooding problems

January 9, 2006

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At least city commissioners now know how much it would cost to fix persistent flooding problems in North Lawrence - $41 million.

But the new report doesn't give commissioners ideas how to pay for it, and that has North Lawrence residents worrying the report will just gather dust.

"They may spend that type of money in other parts of town, but I'm not sure they will over on this side of the river," said Ted Boyle, longtime president of the North Lawrence Improvement Assn. "I know it is a lot of money, but it is stuff that needs to be done."

What seems certain is that much money won't be spent all at once. That would drown the city's stormwater fund, which already is treading water to pay for completed projects in others parts of town.

But city officials said some of the recommendations in the new report by the engineering firm HNTB can be done in phases over many years.


Joshua Hout, 8, of Lawrence, plays with his skateboard in a driveway on the 700 block of Hickory Road. Recommendations for fixing the persistent flooding problem in North Lawrence will come with a $41 million price tag according to a new report by engineering firm HNTB.

Joshua Hout, 8, of Lawrence, plays with his skateboard in a driveway on the 700 block of Hickory Road. Recommendations for fixing the persistent flooding problem in North Lawrence will come with a $41 million price tag according to a new report by engineering firm HNTB.

"We have a road map now, and that's important," said Chuck Soules, the city's director of public works. "We can follow the road map if we find some funding. Even if we can't fund the entire list, we can pick our priorities, get the biggest bang for our buck, and make a difference over there."

Boyle said he understood the work would have to be done in phases, but he said he hoped city officials understood that even doing the work in phases would mean a significant commitment to North Lawrence.

"We don't want them to just replace a couple of drain tubes and clean out a few ditches and think they're doing something," Boyle said. "They are going to have to spend some money, and it will be the million dollar type of figures every time they do something over here."

Area residents will have two opportunities next week to learn more about the plan. The North Lawrence Improvement Assn. will host a meeting at 7 p.m. today at Odd Fellows Hall, Sixth and Lincoln streets. The City Commission and the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission will have a joint study session to discuss the report - which cost $282,000 - at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets.

Recommendations

The report breaks its recommendations into two areas - improvements needed in the existing part of North Lawrence, and improvements needed north of the city limits in areas expected to develop over the coming decades.

The price tag to fix systems in the existing neighborhood is $16.2 million. Improvements needed in the undeveloped portion of the watershed would add an additional $24.8 million.

In the existing neighborhood, the top priority project is a $9 million improvement to a pumping system along North Second Street just north of the Lawrence Visitors Center. The second rated project is a $3.9 million enlargement of the pump station near Fifth and Maple streets.

Soules said even though it is ranked second, that project may rise to the top of the city's list because it could have a large affect on reducing flooding in the residential area around Lyons Park. The city recently bought a home for $138,000 in that area because flood waters were entering the house with increasing frequency.

For projects outside the city, the report recommends significant changes near the Teepee Junction, or the intersection of U.S. Highways 59 and 24/40. The report calls for U.S. 24/40 to be raised several feet to create a makeshift levy for water flowing from the north. The water would be channeled to a new $11 million pump station that would dump the water in the Kansas River east of Lawrence. The new pump station would allow water flowing off newly developed ground to bypass North Lawrence's current stormwater system.

That project could be built in phases, and Soules said developers of the new property could be asked to pay for a portion of the project.

The report also makes recommendations on how new development in the area should occur. The main criteria is that new development shouldn't be allowed to change the current boundaries of the 100-year floodplain. That means there will have to be significant green space in the area, but the plan also said the area could accommodate a large new residential neighborhood. Residential development, though, should be about half as dense as in other parts of the city, the report said. The area also would be able to accommodate three new commercial areas, along with new industrial areas near the Lawrence Municipal Airport.

Paying the bill

Boyle said he's largely satisfied with the report's recommendations. He said making sure the city undertakes them in proper order is most important to him.

"The established residents should be taken care of first," Boyle said. "There haven't been significant improvements to parts of this system for 50 to 60 years."

How the city chooses to fund the plan also is a major issue North Lawrence residents will be watching. Boyle said he would oppose any efforts to create a special North Lawrence tax to fund the projects. He noted many of the houses in North Lawrence have been there since the late 1800s.

"We've been paying taxes over here for a long time," Boyle said. "Now we want something in return for it."

Soules said there won't be any painless funding solutions. He said it would be difficult to rely on the city's existing stormwater fee that is charged to every home and business because those dollars have been spoken for to pay off bonds that were used to fund previous projects. He said the stormwater fee money will be tied up in bond payments and maintenance operations for several more years.

"This is a utility we're operating," Soules said of the city's stormwater division. "When you have needs for a utility, oftentimes what you do is look at a rate increase."

City commissioners aren't yet ready to say that is where this issue is headed. City Commissioner David Schauner said city leaders first need to become more familiar with the recommendations.

"The price tag is a scary number, but it doesn't scare me away from wanting to make improvements," Schauner said. "We need to have a plan and figure out how to get the best bang for our buck. I know it is one of those things that we have been putting off for a long time."

Comments

none2 8 years, 3 months ago

gilmourfam,

You just have to ignore some of these people.  They just like to think they know everything even though they don't live in North Lawrence, they didn't attend the meeting to learn about the subject, and they didn't even bother to read over ALL the documents before making themselves out to be SME's.

I've lived in North Lawrence for 20 years which includes the summer we had the flooding in the Kaw river valley (early 1990's).  Not ONCE in 20 years of living here was my land ever flooded.  So I'm not going to be growing rice in my "swamp" land  anytime soon.

As was explained in the meeting, the levee was designed to withstand even a 500 year flood, so there is no comparison between us and New Orleans.  Our problems are not our Kaw River. Rather, it is the stormwater drainage which is exasterbated by developers who want to put up houses here on small lots.

 Anyway, there is no reason to argue with these people, they think they know better than all the people who spent months doing this survey.  So you are just wasting your time to even bother.

I never lived in West Lawrence, but for a few months I did  drive over there daily to do consulting out of a guy's basement.  (This was Northwest of 6th and Kasold.)  I remember the day I was asked to move my car because it was "blocking the view".  I wasn't driving an RV which would have validated the guy's claim.  Rather, my car did have some rust spots...  So I guess I was a BAD visitor for not having a showcase vehicle.

 I also remember years ago when HUD was going to add more public housing.  East Lawrence was already saturated, so they were off the hook.  North Lawrence was stuck taking the brunt of the additional homes.  Other parts of town got out of most of the public housing because they whined about how it would affect their real estate values.  Of course in their eyes, our homes' values didn't matter.  Our drainage problems didn't hold the HUD houses back either.  The only clout we had was that we were able to keep them from building multifamily units.

 Since the city will probably take a few more years before they do any of the recommended improvements, what they should do is forbid developers from building anymore homes here until the drainage is addressed.  Building a home on the smallest possible lot just means that much more area where water cannot be absorbed after a rain.
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Marion Lynn 8 years, 3 months ago

Evidently FEMA has too much time on its hands as well.

FEMA has designated every square inch of North Lawrence with one form of flood designation or another.

I ain't writin' it folks; I'm only readin' it!

You will find the FEMA maps here (A PDF which may take some time to load!):

http://www.lawrenceplanning.org/documents/femaindex.pdf

The FEMA flood ratings system is as follows:

Zone A. This is an area of special flood hazard without water surface elevations determined.

Zone AE. This is an area of special flood hazard with water surface elevations determined.

Zone X, B, or C. These are areas of minimal to moderate flood hazard (where flood insurance is available but not required by federally regulated lenders).

Read it and weep.

Thanks.

Marion.

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offtotheright 8 years, 3 months ago

Gilmourfam-Marion IS a man!

I live out West, I am not a stuck up parent, do not drive an SUV or a Honda Minivan (is this supposed to be ritzy?), I don't gossip, and I do give tomato's to my neighbors!

Maybe you were just a bad neighbor when you lived at Clinton Pkwy and Kasold?

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one_more_bob 8 years, 3 months ago

gilmourfam, over on another "forum" (which shall remain nameless here), Marion claims to be a man. Simple mistake, anybody could have made it.

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gilmourfam 8 years, 3 months ago

Okay, let me shed some light on this whole thing. I went to the NLIA meeting last night. The problem isn't that we live in a "swamp". The problem is that we have drainage pipes that are 9" and need to be 60". The problem isn't the new development, it's the inability to deal with the current flow of water. The city has known this for a long time. They have just neglected North lawrence.

Also, it seems like Marion has waaaayyyy too much time on her hands. I agree with the earlier post that her comments are directed at the people and culture of N lawrence. Let me tell you something, when my husband and I moved here we moved way out by Clinton Pkwy and Kasold. My kids went to the ritziest school district in the city. Let me tell you, I prefer N Lawrence to that. The people are nicer, the parents aren't so stuck up, and EVERYBODY DOESN'T DRIVE A HONDA MINIVAN COSTING 40K OR A GAS GUZZLING SUV. People care about each other and are willing to go the extra mile for someone over here, WITHOUT the added gossip. My neighbors bring over tomatoes in the summer home grown from their garden.

I don't know why you have such a bad impression of NL residents Marion, oh and by the way, it's LYON not Lion.

Bottom line, the city has been neglecting the NL community for too long.

By the way, FEMA doesn't prohibit people from "building in flood plains". The houses just have to be elevated. If you angry residents are sooo concerned with the slab houses built over on Lauren, Lake etc streets, the building codes need to be changed to require foundations, or putting in adequate drainage systems.

Last thought, the survey engineers reccommended upgrading the 2nd street pump station first at a cost of 9 million, though the real problem could be greatly alleviated by upgrading the Maple St pump station at a cost of only 3 million.

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grimpeur 8 years, 3 months ago

Marion inquired thusly:

"(1) Why was residential development allowed in what is essentially a swamp?

(2) Why did developers build in a swamp?

(3) What kind of knucleheads buy homes in a swamp?"

Hold on a sec. We're talking about North Lawrence? Gee, all this time I thought we were talking about 27th and Crossgate.

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stargazer 8 years, 3 months ago

some of us are not in a flood zone

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stargazer 8 years, 3 months ago

keep your asses on the other side of my bridge, and quit raising my taxes.

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Marion Lynn 8 years, 3 months ago

Thanks CS!

I have been hanging around NL since the mid sixties when I started buying parts from Walt Puckett out of his old salvage yard there.

That place was like a primeval swamp back then, littered with cars from the '51 flood.

Most had only been flooded once and I actually pulled out several which were very nice but I missed the 1941 Packard Super Eight 160 with sidemounts and the '63 Mercury Marauder with mutliple carbs, a 427 and floor shift!

My old college '39 Chrysler is up and around because of many hot sweaty days spent back in the trees pulling parts off of a '39 Royal and '39 New Yorker which rested amongst the lichens, mushrooms and vines!

My sympathies are with the property owners but I really believe that most of the area should be reverted to grassland and the willows and cottonwoods which once abounded there.

Thanks.

Marion.

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corporate_sleaze 8 years, 3 months ago

RE: Marion's statement about NL being a swamp.

Hey everyone, Marion is a frequent poster and receives a lot a flack. However, he has completely and totally got this one right. I urge you to reread his posts today. The "development" that has been allowed to happen in NL and other parts of this city are criminal.

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prospector 8 years, 3 months ago

One_more_bob

ahh mah goooohd

Its like ,you know, you got to much time on your hands, TOTALLY. Like why don't we cruise down to the mall and chill, and scope some duds and get an Orange Julius, like be rad girl, this is sooooooo a waste anyway,it is totally so lame.

YUCK YUCK YUCK

THANKS

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DonQuipunch 8 years, 3 months ago

Why don't we just fill N. Lawrence in and start over? :)

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one_more_bob 8 years, 3 months ago

Valley Girl Marion: "Bobi Wrote: "Posted by bobi (anonymous) on January 9, like, 2006 at 11:22 a.m. (Suggest removal) Marion By thuh way I hold a Broker's license in real estate. I totally don't need an explanation of slab housin' versus pads with basements. Builders build on thuh slab because it is ya know, like, cheaper...once again it is all about thuh all mighty dollar at thuh expense of others." Yes Bobi, like, that is like wow! why so few pads with basements are built in such other popular flood zones as New Orleans. Flood zones are flood zones and nothin' that you can say or do will change that. You have however given us some insight into your insistence that flod zones are not totally flood zones and that is the fact that you possess a real estate broker's licence and are member of a protected group which has done a super bitchin' job of convincin' folks that its services are required to buy or sell dirt. Like some attorneys and most title companies, like, most real estate agents and brokers act like remoras, like, siphonin' off monies rightfully due thuh seller or buyer under thuh pretense of perormin' services which no one else can provide. Like, ya know, this is ya know, like, of course manifestly untrue. Protected by laws which guys think restrict what they can do with their own property, like, wow, realtors and brokers actually do little but run a few ads in local newspapers or load photos to websites. The Board of Realtors is nothin' but a committee which "oversees" (And poorly at that! Gag me with a pitchfork!) a labour union or guild, like, wow, the members of which produces nothin', mostly, artifically raises costs to sellers, man, buyers, like, lendin' institutions and insurance companies; provide no service which a buyer or seller cannot provide for him/herself and will often blackmail sellers and buyers into payin' unjustified and unearned commissions lest land titles should be clouded. Aided by Legalman in thuh endeavour to complicate what should be the most simple of all transactions possible, like, the realtor/broker has etrenched itself in our society like a tick on a hound and does just about as much bitchin'. The internet is ya know, like, changin' all that though. Oh and lest you forget... ..a flood zone is a flood zone is like wow! a flood zone. Flood zones flood. That's why they call them "flood zones." A realtor's or broker's licence is like wow! only a licence to steal. Thanks. Marion. "

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neopolss 8 years, 3 months ago

Great example is Broken Arrow park, which is usually always flooded on the south end. They can build the SLT through the wetlands, but they'll be back to do repairs once the road sinks in.

North Lawrence is nice. I rather enjoy it. But by all common sense this current proposed solution seems only a temporary solution that will continue to come up again and again. I hate to say it, but I doubt that too much money will be given to NL. The commish are fairly loyal to their downtown and "progressive" urban development.

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Marion Lynn 8 years, 3 months ago

Bobi Wrote:

"Posted by bobi (anonymous) on January 9, 2006 at 11:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Marion

By the way I hold a Broker's license in real estate. I really don't need an explanation of slab housing versus houses with basements. Builders build on the slab because it is cheaper...once again it is all about the all mighty dollar at the expense of others."

Yes Bobi, that is why so few houses with basements are built in such other popular flood zones as New Orleans.

Flood zones are flood zones and nothing that you can say or do will change that.

You have however given us some insight into your insistence that flod zones are not really flood zones and that is the fact that you possess a real estate broker's licence and are member of a protected group which has done a very good job of convincing folks that its services are required to buy or sell dirt.

Like some attorneys and most title companies, most real estate agents and brokers act like remoras, siphoning off monies rightfully due the seller or buyer under the pretense of perorming services which no one else can provide.

This is of course manifestly untrue.

Protected by laws which people think restrict what they can do with their own property, realtors and brokers actually do little but run a few ads in local newspapers or load photos to websites.

The Board of Realtors is nothing but a committee which "oversees" (And poorly at that!) a labour union or guild, the members of which produces nothing, artifically raises costs to sellers, buyers, lending institutions and insurance companies; provide no service which a buyer or seller cannot provide for him/herself and will often blackmail sellers and buyers into paying unjustified and unearned commissions lest land titles should be clouded.

Aided by Legalman in the endeavour to complicate what should be the most simple of all transactions possible, the realtor/broker has etrenched itself in our society like a tick on a hound and does just about as much good.

The internet is changing all that though.

Oh and lest you forget...

..a flood zone is a flood zone is a flood zone.

Flood zones flood.

That's why they call them "flood zones."

A realtor's or broker's licence is only a licence to steal.

Thanks.

Marion.

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trueninetiesgirl 8 years, 3 months ago

marion great set of plans . i grew up in nl ,in the 60and the 70s. and it never flooded. but i do remeber 6th steet by the train park all being under water.nl is a great place to grow up or it use to be.

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smitty 8 years, 3 months ago

Correction on the intersection....it's 8th and Lyons.

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sylvie 8 years, 3 months ago

Bobi - Marion is an infamous antagonist here, so laugh it off. I'm delighted to live in an area considered ghetto by boring, JoCo types who populate the area across the tracks. My neighbors and I exist happily without these patronistic attitudes. We know how lucky we are.

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bobi 8 years, 3 months ago

Thanks for all your wonderful insight. You have told me nothing I don't already know. Sorry to disappoint you but I must get on to other important tasks. Hope you can convince someone else that you know what you are talking about.

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prospector 8 years, 3 months ago

bobi

The river is a very serious issue. Read this LJW article and you will understand.

It states: "Big lakes - such as John Redmond Reservoir, Perry, Tuttle Creek and Cheney - have lost anywhere from 23 percent to 30 percent of their capacity to hold water."

This article proves that the corp of engineers projects to prevent flooding in the Kaw will NOT protect us. The lakes will be mud flats in a matter of a few decades and have no room to hold any excess water. To paraphrase the old saying, 'Silt happens!'. Be prepared.

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bobi 8 years, 3 months ago

Marion

By the way I hold a Broker's license in real estate. I really don't need an explanation of slab housing versus houses with basements. Builders build on the slab because it is cheaper...once again it is all about the all mighty dollar at the expense of others.

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bobi 8 years, 3 months ago

Marion

You are so wrong on everything you are saying. Yes, flooding happens but it happens in areas all over town. Your anger seems really directed at the people and culture of NL...What a waste of my time to continue to make you understand. I lived in NL for 30 years, so have my parents, and their parents (as I said before) the problem we now see is an escalated problem caused by those tyring to make a buck.

Maybe what really should happen is that all those who crammed houses in neighborhoods where they weren't wanted should now pay for any and all improvements needed in the neighborhoods. Get it? The builders owe all the older residents millions of dollars, and you owe those of us who now live, or have lived there an apology for your ignorant behavior.

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one_more_bob 8 years, 3 months ago

Swedish Chef Marion: "Bubee, du yuoo reeleese-a vhy muny ooff zee noo humes in NL ere-a booeelt veethuoot besements? Becoose-a a besement vuoold permeete-a zee veter teble-a und zee huoose-a meeght leeterelly fulet up oooot ooff zee gruoond, thet's zee reel reesun! A fluud pleeen is a fluud pleeen; ind ooff stury. Fluud pleeens du nut dreeen vell es zeey ere-a et oor fery neer zee veteer teble-a. I'fe-a doog fencepust hules in NL vheech feelled veet veter ooferneeght! I deed receeefe-a a repurt frum FEMA und FHA oon zee letest recummended huooseeng deseegn fur thuse-a desureeng tu booeeld in a fluud pleeen. A phutu ooff zee noo deseegn is shoon here-a: http://vvv.reefercitytelk.cum/furoom/gelle-a... Thunks. Mereeun. "

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dviper 8 years, 3 months ago

Where's all of the radical Liberal and environmental groups when you need them?

I've never understood why little to nothing is ever heard from them when development issues surrounding North Lawrence areas arise. Even the mention of the SLT brings these people / groups out from under their rocks. With North Lawrence we have a real (made by nature) swamp / wetlands instead of a man made one.

I hope the city of Lawrence looks at some alternative ideas and solutions instead of wasting over 41 million dollars on an area that is a floodplain and swamp.

However, maybe the city can get a developer to pay for all the improvements that need to be done by agreeing to let said developer build several 'new urbanism' projects in North Lawrence. It would make a nice fit with downtown and you get it for free....... Whoops, that idea just might get the radicals attention....

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Marion Lynn 8 years, 3 months ago

Bobi, do you realise why many of the new homes in NL are built without basements?

Because a basement would permeate the water table and the house might literally folat up out of the ground, that's the real reason!

A flood plain is a flood plain; end of story.

Flood plains do not drain well as they are at or very near the wataer table.

I've dug fencepost holes in NL which filled with water overnight!

I did recieve a report from FEMA and FHA on the latest recommended housing design for those desiring to build in a flood plain.

A photo of the new design is shown here:

http://www.rivercitytalk.com/forum/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core:DownloadItem&g2_itemId=2666&g2_serialNumber=2

Thanks.

Marion.

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smitty 8 years, 3 months ago

North Lawrence is a swamp just as Perry is a swamp. Didn't you say that is where you live? What's the difference?

The flood in '91 brought federal money into the local budget to repair some of the infrastructure that the city had ignored for all those years.

There is an area from the bridge that badger mentioned to the sand pits that floods consistantly. Was it the old river bed? Not sure.

A house that flooded in that one still had water in the basement in Dec after the July high water.

That fall there was a new basemented house built just one half block away from that house with the still flooded basement. I went down there with a shovel and dug one shovel deep. Water filled that hole instantly. But the building permit was given by the city.

Today there are many houses across the street from that home where a five acre field and one farm house stood. Some elevation is required in the building approval process but it is all low land that will collect water in heavy rains regardless of the river level.

Many decisions by the city have been made that increases the probablity of more flooding too.

You want to see a totally ignorant situation in NL go to 7th and Lyons. This is the general area I have been describing. The lots on the se an sw corners have been back filled serveral feet high. These lots are in that line from the bridge to the pits. Water would stand in these lots for weeks after any heavy rain. That back fill only adds to the flooding in the concentration of homes on that once five acre field and the surronding area.

The concrete block house to the west of that intersection is more prone to flooding now than it ever was and that house's owner recieved quite a large sum of money back in '91 for repairs.

The city has allowed all these flooding hazards to be created in the last 12-14 years since the last flood.

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Confrontation 8 years, 3 months ago

Marion- Trying to encourage the people of NL to understand this is like trying to explain why the people of New Orleans are crazy for wanting to rebuild in the 9th Ward. There's a lack of common sense over heartstrings.

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bobi 8 years, 3 months ago

Your comments to tear down houses is confusing. The people who have lived there for generations never wanted these cheap houses built in the first place. So the city basically lets builders ruin the charm of old neighborhoods by permitting builders to put up cheap houses that were not wanted, causing drainage problems, and then people like Marion suggest tearing all the houses down when they weren't wanted in the first place. How insane is this?

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bobi 8 years, 3 months ago

If you haven't noticed the river levels are lower than I have ever seen them in 40 years. You can almost walk across it simply stepping on the rocks. The threat of flooding is coming from too many houses being crowded into neighborhoods not designed to handle the run off in addition to inadequate drainage for rain. The more concrete roads and sidewalks exist the more this will happen as the rain runs down into ditches that can't handle it instead of down into the rich soils.

The river levels are being controlled by the opening and closing of the dams at the lakes...are you uninformed about this? The river is not the issue at hand..

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Marion Lynn 8 years, 3 months ago

I'm not angry by any means!

Where is your sense of humour?

North Lawrence is a flood plain and all of the rhetoric on the planet will not change that fact.

This is one of those times when I really wonder about the ability of some folks to percieve and accept reality.

You can build dikes, pumping stations, dams, move rivers, and burn incense and mumble incantations to the Rain Gods and that reality of North Lawrence (And yes, some areas off Sixth Street!) will not change.

The areas are flood zones and always will be.

Nothing should be built in a flood zone and much of what is already built should be removed as has been done elsewhere.

It is a practical matter charged with emotion and therefore irrational thinking.

Thanks.

Marion.

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bobi 8 years, 3 months ago

Marion

I am not a child and do not need to spoken to as if I am. I am quite familiar with the make up of the land in North Lawrence. I was raised there for many, many years as were my parents and their parents. So you see, I know all about the soil, the water, and all other issues pertaining to this part of town. You sound very angry and perhaps have some motive for venting that this discussion board is unaware of?

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prospector 8 years, 3 months ago

Some may be old enough to rememeber the margarine commercial "You can't fool mother nature". One of the biggest propaganda drivels our government lays on us is "flood control" by the Corp of Engineers and the billion spend on it.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS FLOOD CONTROL!

Example Jonestown, PA In the 1890's a dam broke and the town was devastated, thousands killed. In 1969, the inland movement of hurricane Camille flooded the town, killing dozens. After this, the corp did it's largest(most expensive ) project to date to protect the town and tricky Dick Nixon went to the dedication and declared that this was never going to happen again. Oops, not the first time or last time he made statement's from his nether region. Yes, serious spring storms in the mid 1980's AGAIN inundated the town with water.

Build in a flood plan and duh da duh, expect to be flooded. Why do you think private insurance does not cover flooding?

The localized flooding in 1993 flood that closed the N. 2nd railroad underpass for months was partial due to a wash out or collapsed drain pipe that could only be repaired after the river receded. The pump station on N. 2nd between Lion St. and North St. was upgraded to handle a greater volume. But , as we learned with New Orleans with the second largest pumping system in the world, they can never make any flood plain flood proof. N. Lawrence will not be an exception. They could spend $400 million and there would still be flooding.

On a larger scale, sometime in the near future, the levees protecting N. Lawrence will be compromised and a new, high water mark will be put on the TeePee. If you have never noticed it, you can stand on the top of your car and not reach as high as the water got then. If you can see the levee from your house or street, that is how high the water will be. It is only a matter of time before another 1951 flood will lay waste to N. Lawrence again. Do not believe the levee will protect your property. My advice for the residents:

Buy the government flood insurance if you want compensation when you lose everything in your home.

Even if you own a two story house, water will get into the second story, so don't think you can carry your valuables upstairs.

Have an evacuation plan. You will only get a few hours notice that flooding is inevitable. List the irreplacable items you own, have the ability to throw them in a vehicle and head for high ground at a moments notice and be ready to kiss the rest goodbye.

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Marion Lynn 8 years, 3 months ago

I have just received word from the City Of Lawrence, Kansas that the results of a very expensive scientific sudy conducted on the the North Lawrence area have been released.

The results of that study and its recommendations may be found here:

http://www.rivercitytalk.com/forum/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core:DownloadItem&g2_itemId=2658&g2_serialNumber=2

Thanks.

Marion.

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Marion Lynn 8 years, 3 months ago

Bobbi WRote:

"Posted by bobi (anonymous) on January 9, 2006 at 8:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Marion

I can promise you that North Lawrence is no swamp! In this part of town you will find some of the most fertile soil around. Yes flooding occurs because of too many inexpensive homes causing too much run-off for the neighborhoods. This is a much more recent situation caused by too many builders being given permits to build on inexpensive land.

This past summer I recall so much water off of 6th street and in other areas of town, the streets were closed off. I doubt we would close off main streets in town and refer to them as swamp-like."

Yes Bobbi, much of NL is covered with beautiful rich soil.

Do you know where that soil came from?

It's called "silt".

Do you know where silt comes from?

Silt is soil and heavy vegetable matter that is falls out of water and builds up in layered deposits.

Where does the water come from?

Floods, that's where!

For hundreds of thousands of years, the Kaw river, very much like its larger brother the Nile, has been flooding the lowlands of NL leaving deposits of silt.

This silt is sometimes known as "mud" when it is left inside houses by "floods".

You can build all the pumping stations that you want and they might or might not carry away the water.

You might go down to the Kaw and talk to it about not flooding NL but I doubt that you'll get much response.

North Lawrence is a perfect example of the arrogance of Man who thinks that he/she can really control Nature.

I'm not being mean about this but rather practical; you just ain't gonna stop the flooding, so why waste a bunch of money and risk lives and property in what will in the end be a failed effort?

Buy out the homeowners and give back the land to Nature!

Thanks.

Marion.

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Todd 8 years, 3 months ago

$250k houses that would cost $100k in other cities? There's a reason for that, location means something. The location of north Lawrence is less desirable hence lower property prices.

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one_more_bob 8 years, 3 months ago

Name

in

all

caps

now

,

Marion

?

Megalomania

is

cranked

up

another

notch.

T h a n k s ,

o m b

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Marion Lynn 8 years, 3 months ago

In a swamp?

Sorry but I think that you missed my point.

North Lawrence is a swamp.

It was a swamp a hundred a fifty years ago and it is a swamp today.

Know what it will be in another hundred years?

A swamp!

You don't build houses in a swamp!

Anyone purchasing any property should always examine the flood plain map before purchasing.

I agree that many of the homeowners may have been mislead by realtors but as you well know, when it comes to real estate in Kansas, if it ain't written down, it ain't worth squat!

Insurance companies have been redlining flood zones for years so they can be good sources but then again the lines are cleary drawn on the maps.

Anyone who invests that kind of money in a piece of property and who does not check for covenants, restrictions of flood plain status pretty much is hanging it all out in the wind like a target at the range.

FEMA will not allow houses to be rebuilt in most flood zones once such houses have been flooded.

Why not just get rid of the problem?

I'd bet that buying out the homeowners would be less expensive than "improved" flood control.

Thanks.

MARION.

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gilmourfam 8 years, 3 months ago

"What kind of knuckleheads buy homes in North Lawrence?"

The kind who can't afford to pay 250k for a house that woudl sell in other cities for 100.

The kind who moved here to get a legal education so that they could better the lives of their children.

The kind who buy a house instead of pay someone else's house payment. They build equity.

The kind who don't want their children to grow up in apartments where college kids are puking their guts out over the railings of the apartments in West Lawrence.

The kind who like the character of North Lawrence, where the people are friendly, and you actually talk to your neighbors.

I would like to say that I am appalled at some of the comments here. We have lived here for 2 years and the flooding is really a problem. We don't have drainage tubes draining the water. We have ditches, deep ones at that. This means that the water stands there in the ditches until it's absorbed or evaporated. So what your comments mean in essence is that though these homes have been here (some of them) since the 1800's, while other homes in other areas of Lawrence were recently built, drainage is good enough for the children who live out West, or East, but not for those in North Lawrence?? WHy are your kids better than mine?

Stagnat water breeds mosquitos. In case you don't know, West Nile is spread this way. I don't know about you, but I don't particularly want my child to catch it.

Oh, and let's not forget, that unless you actually buy your house when it's flooded outside, you might not know about the flooding problems. If you are an "average joe" and didn't grow up here, and hadn't heard a word about the 1951 flood, and were lied to by the realtor about the flooding, you just might not know until you buy the house.

By the way, 80% of NL homes are owner occupied. I bet there aren't too many other parts of the city that can say that.

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bobi 8 years, 3 months ago

Marion

I can promise you that North Lawrence is no swamp! In this part of town you will find some of the most fertile soil around. Yes flooding occurs because of too many inexpensive homes causing too much run-off for the neighborhoods. This is a much more recent situation caused by too many builders being given permits to build on inexpensive land.

This past summer I recall so much water off of 6th street and in other areas of town, the streets were closed off. I doubt we would close off main streets in town and refer to them as swamp-like.

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bobi 8 years, 3 months ago

Badger:

Your correct...the city does now and has as long as I can remember neglected the North Lawrence area. I find it very sad and shameful. There is so much history and nostalgia connected with the area. It is one of the few places you can feel as if you are in the country when you are in the city.

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Marion Lynn 8 years, 3 months ago

When I was a kid my Dad would make the occasional real estate investment and since he ususally rode the scooter to veiw the sights I would often tag along on the back.

Having been involved in rescue and salvage in the 1951 flood which devastated Kansas City, he was very concerned about flood plain status of the land that he was going to see.

If he determined that even a portion of the land was in a flood plain, onto the scooter he would go and away we went.

Now what I'm about to say is really going to drive Ted Boyle nuts as he has advocated for NL for many years.

A few questions come to mind:

(1) Why was residential development allowed in what is essentially a swamp?

(2) Why did developers build in a swamp?

(3) What kind of knucleheads buy homes in a swamp?

The seasonal flooding of NL is the thing that slowed development there since it was first settled.

Why has no one taken the hint from Mother Nature?

Why must the city now bail out homeowners who KNEW what they were buying into?

This situation looks to me as though it might be perfect for a legitimate use of eminent domain....buy out the property owners, bulldoze the houses and streets and set up a "green zone", i.e.; a dedicated swamp in which no building would be allowed.

An improved pumping system is a nice idea but it has been repeatedly shown that even the most complex and efficient pumping systems will not keep out the water.

Both North Lawrence and New Orleans are perfect examples.

Nature will win this one, pumping station or not.

Thanks.

MARION.

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badger 8 years, 3 months ago

Moron, I'm not really sure how North Lawrence could have been built out of the 'path of mother natures distruction' (sic). It's pretty hard to build where rain doesn't fall sometime in Kansas.

It's not necessarily that the storms are making the river rise, and that the river is flooding homes. It's the sheer fact of the rain itself. For example, going under the train bridge just after you go over the river, that area floods insanely every time there's even the most normal rainstorm. Over in some of the residential areas, the streets are a huge problem because the water disposal system just can't take care of them, thus the need for improved pumping stations. The storm sewer system has been sorely neglected.

If this was really a matter of the water coming over a levee or backing up out of the river or something, there might be something to the idea that it's just being stupid and building in dumb places.

I also don't really get how the people currently benefiting from this (likely to be the contractors) were really looking fifty or seventy years ahead (or more) when they built in the flooded areas. Most of the people who developed that area are currently pushing up daisies and in no position to benefit.

Is it your contention that the areas were deliberately developed badly in order to generate revenue for sewer replacement companies? That seems...counterintuitive.

I'm inclined to chalk this up to about a hundred years of really poor city planning, and to forty or so of serious neglect of North Lawrence when it comes to city maintenance.

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bobi 8 years, 3 months ago

I agree with Moron. The builders have taken away the character of North Lawrence where older people sweep their sidewalks, tomato gardens are in abundance in the summer, walkers enjoy the levee, and eagles soar around their natural habitat.

As a matter of fact, the builders are also the cause of school overcrowding and the closing down of wonderful, neighborhood schools.

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moron 8 years, 3 months ago

...must make profit at all cost...

...city officials in my back pocket...

...create favorable building code with money & influence...

...build houses in path of mother natures distruction...

...citizens pay for repairs through rate increases...

...my bank account grow big...

Thanks.

Moron.

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moron 8 years, 3 months ago

The flooding problem wouldn't be a problem if proper building practices were enforced in this city.

As it is, local builders are allowed to slap-up anything they want to where ever they want to.

Thanks.

Moron.

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