To the editor:
It's important to distinguish between the recommendations being made by PlaceMakers Consulting (hired at taxpayer expense with the strong support of City Commissioner Sue Hack and the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce) and the sustainability group hosted by a successful city grant, featuring land planners and architects from all over the country back in November.
It appears PlaceMakers Consulting was hired specifically in response to the earlier group's recommendations, which are "still in process" of being finished and presented to the city, most of which was not supported by local developers. How strange that Sue Hack doesn't want to wait for the printed results of that fabulous three-day event before hiring another consultant.
What I find particularly disturbing about the hiring of a consulting agency known for its developer-friendly policies is the quiet little amendment attached to the SmartCode proposals being made of "fast-tracking" most, if not all, future development without public input or review.
This amendment has nothing to do with SmartCode and everything to do with manipulating the role of the Douglas County/Lawrence Planning Commission, not to mention neighborhood associations, community input and public scrutiny of developers' accountability.
Oh, by the way, how interesting is it that a south-of-river huge development is being proposed smack dab where a modified South Lawrence Trafficway eastern leg would go, if developers, county and state officials stopped trying to block the completion of this important trafficway?