Archive for Saturday, March 3, 2007

New population estimates show slow growth

Lawrence’s 0.97% rate less than half city average

March 3, 2007


Lawrence is growing - at a snail's pace

The city is growing - but not as much as it used to - and the smaller numbers could have a big impact on future growth plans. Enlarge video

Lawrence's population growth continues to be stuck in low gear.

According to a new report released by the city's Planning Department, the city's population grew by 0.97 percent in 2006 to a total of 90,335 people. The growth rate is less than half the city's historical average of 2 percent.

"I'm glad we're showing some growth," Mayor Mike Amyx said Friday. "But we need to understand that it isn't what it has been in the past. We need to understand why."

Perhaps as importantly, the city needs to figure out whether this is the new trend for Lawrence. The new population estimate marks the third year in a row that city planners have said the community's growth rate is less than the 2 percent average. The question looms large because the city has committed to build a new sewer plant that is based on a growing population to help pay for the $70 million cost.

The city has developed a plan to use increasing sewer rates to pay for the plant, but if the population doesn't increase as much as expected, those rates may have to increase even more. City Manager David Corliss said he doesn't think that's likely, but he has staff members reviewing the sewer plant plans based on the new population numbers.

Some city commissioners also said they were not convinced that the slower growth rates were here to stay.

"I think it is too early to sound that alarm," City Commissioner Sue Hack said. "I think all the indications are that this part of the state is going to continue to grow. But we also know there are reasons that some people don't live here. Cost-of-living is one of them, and we have to address that."

Corliss agreed that the community was in a position to have higher growth rates in the future. He said the community's "fundamentals," such as good schools, good amenities and a good location were still attractive to new residents. And, he said, an increased emphasis on economic development would create more jobs to fuel population growth.

"I'm not the only one saying that," Corliss said. "I think all the city commissioners agree with that. That is why you have seen the City Commission put more resources into economic development."

Lawrence is spending more than $200,000 per year to fund the city's biosciences effort, is considering buying the vacant Farmland Industries property to convert into a business park, has created a $250,000 infrastructure incentives fund to help attract new businesses and will hire a new economic program coordinator to work in City Hall.

According to the city's estimates, the community grew by 2,038 people in 2001. In 2006, there were only 875 new people.

The Census Bureau is scheduled to release its population estimate for the city in early April. Last year, the Census Bureau estimated that the city actually experienced a slight decline in population for the first time in decades. The city, however, challenged that ruling, and the Census Bureau later revised the estimate to show a slight increase in population.


Daniel Speicher 10 years ago

PLC Smart Growth = Developmental pain in the neck. The low growth rate has been brought on by Highberger, Schauner and Rundle. Vote in new blood or suffer the consequences of a $70M sewer plant coming out of your back pocket. Or, worse yet, no sewer plant at all and watch the city's already slow growth go to no growth.

Chestnut, Dever and Bush for a healthy economy and tax base!

--Danny Speicher

Richard Heckler 10 years ago

Wayyyy too many crummy built new houses,low wages,high cost of development property,high cost of housing, steady increase of property taxes above 3%-4% annually and high cost of commercial rent could be among the reasons for slow growth of which Boog,Schauner and Rundle played no part simply because they have no connections to the real estate industries.

Ideally property taxes should never see more than a 3%-4%increase annually consistently in a balanced growth situation.The only industry that has grown significantly is the housing industry which is an industry that does not pay for itself when Cost of Community Services is considered which is common. Thus higher taxes are necessary to keep up with demand which is unfortunate but is also a trait accompanied with bedroom communities.

Smart Growth is a plan that makes maximum use of existing resources which is credited with containing sprawl which to many taxpayers dismay never made it on the books in Lawrence,Kansas. What is likely responsible for our double digit increases in property taxes from time to time is too much housing and way too little light indsutrial development. Job growth has taken place under their governance but impossible to make up what happened 20 years prior to Boog,Schauner and Rundle becoming a majority in our city commission.

Too much resistance to a slower, practical and balanced plan of growth from the leaders of the building and real estate industries. Had a slower, practical and balanced plan of growth been the order of the day for the 20 years preceding Boog,Schauner and Rundle it is likely Lawrence would have become a place with good jobs for it's residents and home to normal property tax increases.

KsTwister 10 years ago

Boog said in his forum, " I serve on the board of the Lawrence Douglas County Bioscience Authority and I think we have a great opportunity here to turn KU research into high-paying local jobs."- Emphasis on the word think. I don't feel that a handful of jobs would make much of a difference. Is KU a high paying employer? Sorry have to agree with Danny.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years ago

This obsession with growth in population is just insane. Its a belief rooted in the same voodoo economics as any other pyramid scheme.

If new people want to move here, we need to accurately predict their numbers, so that projects like the $80 million sewer expansion project (and all the other new infrastructure, schools and expanded city services-- police, fire, libraries, etc.) that they will need can be properly budgeted.

But if they don't want to move here, fine. We'll just focus our efforts and policies on satisfying the needs of the population that is here, and our taxes will be spent doing that, not on the massive expenditures that population increases demand.

Scott Drummond 10 years ago

" The low growth rate has been brought on by Highberger, Schauner and Rundle"

If so, God bless them for it.

" Vote in new blood or suffer the consequences of a $70M sewer plant coming out of your back pocket."

And here, in a nutshell, is the grow, grow, grow kook's philosophy. Don't pay the price in necessary services for the growth you have brought, keep growing and someone else will have to share in the costs. Nevermind, of course, that the only way to pay for the impact all those extra payors are bringing is to keep increasing the numbers (and impact) forever.

Enough. I don't want to live in a megacity. I don't want to fight traffic to go anywhere in town. I don't want to fear the crime, suffer the pollution, or pay all the other costs of the endless sewers, and schools and emergency services, etc. of an ever expanding West Lawrence. We should be thanking the smart growth folks for making the developers pay a larger share of the impact their development imposes on all of us. If that slows growth, so be it. The free ride is over. You want to move to Lawrence, you will pay for the impact you have and you will quit shirking your costs on the rest of us.

monkeyhawk 10 years ago

merrill, to quote one of my idols, Sigmund, "you are sincerely an idiot." I guess you will go to your grave proclaiming how much good your buds have done for this city. (I DO find it very interesting how some city connected folks fail to see a rise in their property valuations year after year, yet have the gall to complain about rising property taxes...)

I stopped to visit a friend of mine in the KC area yesterday (as I was on my way to the Plaza for lunch and a smoke. Damn, that was an expensive lunch at Capital Grill). My friend runs a large, national company that specializes in home luxury products. He told me that out of all the cities within a 60 mile radius of the metro, Lawrence is the only city that he refuses to do business in. Due to the fact that he must go through the permitting process to deliver his product, the demands of the city are outrageous and completely out of line. If someone comes into his store and wants a particular item, he must turn their business down. I assume that since the taxes go to where the end delivery is, that would be a huge chunk that our city is denied.

I have another friend who is a foreman for J.E. Dunn. Lawrence is viewed as a place to stay away from due to red tape and regulation. So, for those who embrace "smart growth", I know you are elated. This is exactly the intent. Look how Portland, one of the models, has turned into one of the most unaffordable cities in the country. But, you just keep blaming everyone but yourselves.

Lifelong_Lawrencian 10 years ago

"The new population estimate marks the third year in a row that city planners have said the community's growth rate is less than the 2 percent average."

According to the Rundle bundle and Merrill, this slow down in growth should be a boon to the economy. But wait. . .

Lawrence Mill Levy

2006 115.675 2005 110.057 2004 105.926

Way to go Rundle bundle! Mission accomplished.

Godot 10 years ago

Too bad there is not some way to pinpoint whether the 885 increase was due to 885 new people coming to town, or, say, 2885 new folk coming, and 2000 leaving. I have a friend who moved here from the east coast last August, and is moving to Baldwin for greener pastures this spring.

Stephen Roberts 10 years ago

Grat comment. I agree totally. Eudora is expanding and growing. Lawrence is just expanding and slowly growing.

Lifelong_Lawrencian 10 years ago

If all of you folks say you don't like growth, why don't you just sell your home, which you complain has a rapidly increasing value, and move to Ottawa. Ottawa has had next to no growth at all for the last 30 years. Their property values never increase, PERFECT! The only downside is that their mill levy is over 170. Hum?

lunacydetector 10 years ago

sounds like the census decided to give us a few people to appease the hippies. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

new water line in a growing area cost..... very little $$

infrastructure replacement cost- new water line downtown....priceless $$$$$$$$

it is the smart growth mentality. infrastructure replacement cost far exceeds new construction. just as this new sewer plant's burden could hurt the general population for a few unecessary years...but it's okay because corporate america will be hurting along with the rest of us.

i want to see some new JOB numbers over the past few years. nobody seems to be able to provide those. in an election period, and considering the "openess" of the liberals on the city commission, you'd think they would come out with some City paid for study to help their election....but i think they realize two studies would have to happen. the first REAL study, then the bogus study to make them look good...or perhaps they are smart enough to realize they would look very bad regardless.

Richard Heckler 10 years ago

How much have property taxes INCREASED from 1987-2000? Increases will continue unfortunately until a balance is achieved. A return to the old guard who failed in their first reign of over a decade to present a balanced growth to Lawrence taxpayers would not give me hope.

Boog,Rundle and Schauner have been trying to fix a few things in order that someday our property taxes may see only a consistent 3%-4% increase which will take a little more time. Trying to unravel what preceded them with 20 years of rule by the "unwise growth at any expense team" aka real estate,banking and building executives cannot take place over night. Rome was not built in a day!

Readers please think about this at the polls. So much special interest money is being pumped into this campaign that ethics in campaigns provides one more reason for me to support Carey,Boog and Schauner. They have no apparent conflicts of interest.

Washington D.C. is a perfect example of what Lawrence politics should not become.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years ago

"The only downside is that their mill levy is over 170. "

Hmm, do you suppose the fact that the big warehouses and other businesses they've been building down there pay no property taxes has anything to do with that?

Sigmund 10 years ago

Merrill, you are so right, the PLC Kommissioners have had nothing to do with the slowing growth in Lawrence. It is just a huge coincidence that while they were the majority on the Commission, marching in lock step, preaching the Gospel of "Smart Growth" and the evil's of WalMart, wasting time with $30 million libraries and quarter million dollar consultants, and attempting to micro managing businesses in Lawrence, growth in Lawrence just happened to be cut in half!

The PLC Kommissioners were just incredibly lucky. Nothing they did had exactly the impact they wanted, slowing growth in Lawrence! Since nothing the PLC Kommissioners did had any impact they now can not be blamed for the negative consequences of declining attractiveness of Lawrence to new businesses and residents.

Since nothing the PLC did has had any impact, let's replace them all in April!

monkeyhawk 10 years ago

"If new people want to move here, we need to accurately predict their numbers, so that projects like the $80 million sewer expansion project (and all the other new infrastructure, schools and expanded city services-- police, fire, libraries, etc.) that they will need can be properly budgeted.

But if they don't want to move here, fine. We'll just focus our efforts and policies on satisfying the needs of the population that is here, and our taxes will be spent doing that, not on the massive expenditures that population increases demand."

I find a couple of things quite interesting in one of the rare boozo (paid blogger) posts that I have read. (BTW, congrats to boozo for surpassing the 5000 post mark. Your blogployer must be proud!)

Seems the figure of the new sewer plant has jumped a cool ten million according to boozo. But, this is what really caught my eye....

"We'll just focus our efforts and policies on satisfying the needs of the population that is here...

We????????? Seems to indicate that perhaps boozo has something rather vital to do with establishing policy in podunk. So, maybe we are being sandbagged as far as actual sewer plant expenditures?

Lifelong_Lawrencian 10 years ago

The Rundle bundle has had plenty of opportunity. Years with a super-majority. They have placed many of their people in key committees. Yet what positive steps have they taken other than to curb growth? Have they written a new development code? No. Have they adopted the new International Resident Code they have been working on since 2003? No. Wait, they passed the living wage ordinance. That one has employers beating a path to our door.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years ago

"Bozo: I should also point out that nothing that you said in your answer explains nothing UNIQUE about Lawrence."

Well, duh.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years ago

The reason for the slowdown in population growth is simple-- Lawrence's growth has been fueled almost exclusively by its appeal as a bedroom community for those working in Topeka and the KC area. In the last few years, Topeka and Lawrence have almost merged to the west, and several other smaller communities with good access to the KC area, Eudora and Baldwin in Douglas County, and numerous other smaller cities in at least four different counties, are now competing for those who might otherwise have located in Lawrence.

The problem with economic development through sprawl (the pyramid scheme) is that sooner or later, you saturate your market. That's where we are, and electing candidates (ie development "community" candidates) who want to continue with the same tired old ways of doing bidness will not change that fact.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years ago

My, monkeyhawk, that last post was content-free even by your usually low standards.

Jamesaust 10 years ago

"The problem with economic development through sprawl is that sooner or later, you saturate your market."

Please: (a) list a market that has been "saturated" by economic development, and (b) list the year it became "saturated."

ASBESTOS 10 years ago

That it doesn't count illegals!!!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years ago

"(a) list a market that has been "saturated" by economic development, and"

The Lawrence bedroom community/sprawl market

"(b) list the year it became "saturated.""

Depending on whose statistics you want to believe, it would appear that that year is 2006, plus or minus a couple of years.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years ago

Even with all the hysteria of "only" a 1% growth rate, at that rate, in 30 years, Lawrence's population would exceed 120,000.

Assuming other area communities grow at a similar rate, there's a very good possibility there won't be an adequate water supply for that many people.

Oh, but that's a little detail we shouldn't even consider, cause growth cures everything.

Lifelong_Lawrencian 10 years ago


It is not about how much growth we want. Growth is inevitable as long as population increases. You can't blame developers for increasing population. They are just trying to provide a product for the need, and yes, make a profit from it. Personally, I wouldn't mind freezing our town as it is or was say 10 years ago, ignoring the economic impact. There is very little we need that we don't have already. However, that is simply not going to happen.

Are you sure that growth=more taxes. Would you also agree that (-)growth=decreasing property values + more taxes.

The link above shows the mill levy for various cities in Kansas. It shows a definite corellation with growth that refutes your claims.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years ago

"Would you also agree that (-)growth=decreasing property values + more taxes."

Yes, negative growth means that the remaining population has to pay for the infrastructure requirements of a larger population. But it's a strawman argument. There will be no mass exodus from Lawrence. It's population will almost certainly continue to grow, even if not at a 2% rate.

Lifelong_Lawrencian 10 years ago

If growth is being paid for by the taxpayers and developers are pocketing all the money, how come Lawrence's mill levy is so low compared to other cities in Kansas. If what logrithmic says is true, our mill levy should be out of control compared with other cities that are growing much more moderately or are stagnant. But this is simply not the case.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 10 years ago

The reason Lawrence's growth is slowing is the cost of gas. Many people I know would like to move here, but they would still have to commute. Yes, we need more businesses, but not businesses that don't pay a living wage. The people who want to move here aren't going to work for a warehouse.
right_thinker, do you attend city commission meetings? Have you volunteered for any of the committees, or ran for office? I don't think posting to this forum gives you any influence.

Richard Heckler 10 years ago

The CURRENT City Commission put more resources into economic development."

Lawrence CURRENT City Commission is spending more than $200,000 per year to fund the city's biosciences.

The CURRENT City Commission has created a $250,000 infrastructure incentives fund to help attract new businesses and will hire a new economic program coordinator to work in City Hall. VERY SMART!

Carey Maynard - Moody, Comm. Highberger and Comm. Schauner are not about slowing economic growth. New economic growth needs to come in the form of jobs in light industrial. It would be good to seek out a relatively new source known as green collar which of course is about white and blue collar employment. We will need our plumbers,painters,electricians and carpenters. I would prefer more of a small business campaign as that money typically stays in the community and usually does not come asking for tax abatements.

Lawrence " The Small Business Capital of the USA" sounds good to me.

Green-Collar Jobs for Urban America by Van Jones and Ben Wyskida

Union electricians hung out with Youth Against Youth Incarceration. A poet parsed words with a permaculturist. Two seniors and a spoken word artist debated the coming election. Community college students communed with a councilmember, while an architect broke bread with an immigration attorney.

On the third Thursday of September 2006, in a college auditorium in Oakland, California, 300 people came together to launch a new movement: a campaign for "green-collar jobs" as a path to economic and social recovery for low-income communities.

A "green-collar job" involves environment-friendly products or services. Construction work on a green building, organic farming, solar panel manufacturing, bicycle repair in which all are "green jobs." The green-collar economy is big money and it's booming that which includes renewable energy and clean technology.... "green" is the fifth largest market sector in the United States.

pelliott 10 years ago

The city is not enlarging the city limits at the same rate as in past decades. At one time, they just would bump it out, build the streets and sewers and viola we had all those new bodies. They seem a little slower to just incorporate areas.

There is also the law where no more than two people can rent a house together. That law drove a spike into existing capacities per unit, and really increased vacant home rates. It effects how many people live here. The fact we are still growing is a sign that the local economy and draw is vital and attractive. Also the housing market here and around the country is in a slow down. cooler market cooler investors seems reasonable.
There is more activity in developing housing in established neighborhoods, upgrading existing housing stock, some new houses, spot development rather than only clear cut development, more use of existing possibilities. I wish the the City would emphasize using tax dollars (which comes from existing homes) to bring the the intrastructure in those neighborhoods to modern levels. Old man watson kept those tax monies going out and did not practice good mantainance of most existing services. That pattern went on for decades. The existing neighborhoods, the older residents paid twice, once for the cost of new development, again because of loss of quality of service to where they owned property, gradually deteriorating services due to underfunded matainance plans, money for matainance diverted to new development. I bought my house a little cheaper because the water line was rusty, the streets not well maintained, the curbs decaying. The man who sold the houses paid his taxes and ended up helping the the developer who could sell a competing property using the mans tax money. The realtor explained I got a better deal if I bought a new house where the services were better, that I couldn't expect the city to keep up the older areas.

KsTwister 10 years ago

Sorry the school levy went up so total is 115.675 over last years 110.057.

Sigmund 10 years ago

Let's assume a average car gets 25 MPG combined city and highway and lets assume a 75 mile round trip to KC, that is 3 gallons per day for the commute. Now lets assume there are 250 work days per year, that is 750 gallons of gas per year for the commute. If gas should go up 33 cents per gallon that is an extra $250 per year in gas costs. For those who car pool that amount is cut in half at least. Considering the wages paid in KC are significantly higher than Lawrence I can't see the price of gas being a significant limiting factor in Lawrence's growth anytime soon.

Stephen Roberts 10 years ago

When you talk about growth not paying for itself, please leave out schools. The district will always say they don not get enough FUNDING but they do not want to talk about how they SPEND the money.

As of right now we have enough space in the schools for students but the problem is no one wants to change boundaries. Langsron Hughes is about 3/4 full and Central is about 3/4 full.

My kids go the JR high, the junior high has less students than the elementary school.

Sigmund 10 years ago

The CURRENT City Kommission have preached Smart Growth and they cut Lawrence growth in half. You would think they and their supporters would be proud of this record. Instead, we see nothing from them but explanations of why it is not their fault. Its the fault of other small cities becoming bedroom communities, the price of gas, "developturds", and cheap houses.

Just why are the PLC Kommissioners and their supporterrs running away from accomplishing exactly what they promised and set out to do?

Stephen Roberts 10 years ago

Jack You are right they had to build more school out west because that is where the developments where going to occur in the future.

My problem is the impact fees that the PLC, Boog, Merrill and Bozo wants will be passed on to the homebuyers unless the real estate market slow down like it is now in Lawrence.

I would really like to see how much the city spends on art, the homeless, downtown, and other Not for profits.

Lifelong_Lawrencian 10 years ago


Instead of blaming the developers. Perhaps we should regulate our immigration and birth rate like China.

Lifelong_Lawrencian 10 years ago

Lawrence Mill Levy

2006 115.675 2005 110.057 2004 105.926 2003 107.102 2002 104.714 2001 109.454 2000 101.506 1999 104.993 1998 98.428 1997 111.194 1996 116.948

Alright, lets try this argument again. The last 3 years of slow growth have seen rises in mill levy. I know, it's a reach to claim that the two are related. But what you do not see is run away mill levies over the last 30 years of higher growth. Other cities in Kansas have much higher mill levies, notably Ottawa (170) and Russell (189) who have much more moderate growth. Growth alarmist arguments that bozo and merrill like to make just don't add up.

Instead of fighting growth, we should do our best to make sure it's the kind of growth we want and that it maintains what makes Lawrence a great place to live.

Godot 10 years ago

IMHO, Lawrence would not need to keep growing if Lawrence citizens did not want so much from their government.

There has been an explosive growth in government services in Lawrence since 1987 that outpaces the growth in population. The pool services, the huge parks and rec program, the T, the golf course, the homeless services, the number of city employees, and the sizes of their salaries, and their perks and benefits ....all these these must be recognized as a major factor in the increase in property taxes.

Jamesaust 10 years ago

bozo - I asked a serious question about your comment. Please give a serious answer.

Godot 10 years ago

As an example, I bought a house in west lawrence in 1986; the taxes were less than $600 per year; taxes on that house were over $3000 in 2006. Same exact house, same number of bedrooms and bathrooms. The tax bill on that house is now greater than my housepayment was when I owned it.

Lifelong_Lawrencian 10 years ago


So the value of the property increased 5 fold in 20 years. Not a bad investment. Maybe you should have hung on to it.

Godot 10 years ago

If I were still living there, and intended to keep living there, how would it help me that it is now valued at three times what I paid for it, and taxed five times greater, along with the ballooning cost of sewer, water and trash services?

By the way, for the no-growthers, the already-approved sewer project is for new growth, and depends on new growth to pay for it. If there is no new growth, guess who gets to pay for the project?

Lifelong_Lawrencian 10 years ago

Why doesn't anyone scream about having to pay for the new waterline downtown, along with the money donated by the city to offset their loss of business during construction, and the $250,000 the city will donate to help pay for the cost of their new sprinkler systems that they will not be charged tap fees for.

Lifelong_Lawrencian 10 years ago

Impact fee for a commercial 2" water tap (does not include the tap or the meter) $21,200.00.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years ago

"If growth is being paid for by the taxpayers and developers are pocketing all the money, how come Lawrence's mill levy is so low compared to other cities in Kansas."

The mill levy is only half the story. The valuation of a piece of real estate in Lawrence, and the actual amount of taxes paid, is way higher than it is for a comparable piece of real estate in either Ottawa or Abilene. It's apples and oranges.

"Why doesn't anyone scream about having to pay for the new waterline downtown,"

Taxes and utility fees have been paid on those properties for decades. Unfortunately, much of that money was diverted to subusidize the contruction of new infrastructure for new development rather than being held in reserve for the reconstruction project. See pelliot's post above.

"Impact fee for a commercial 2" water tap (does not include the tap or the meter) $21,200.00."

Merely typing that in no way indicates that the rest of the city isn't subsidizing the costs of getting water supplied to this tap. And none of your previous posts in any way indicate that impact fees are indeed covering all of the costs of new development. But that's because impact fees do NOT cover all of the costs of new development. The need for a new $80 million sewage treatment plant that is NOT going to be paid for by impact fees is a prime example.

"I asked a serious question about your comment. Please give a serious answer."

My comment was that "economic development" by bedroom community sprawl is a pyramid scheme, and would have to eventually reach a point of saturation. If you disagree with that, please explain why. Then I might be able to give you a serious answer.

Godot 10 years ago

"My comment was that "economic development" by bedroom community sprawl is a pyramid scheme, and would have to eventually reach a point of saturation"

The same is true of "economic development" in the form of new government programs.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years ago

"The same is true of "economic development" in the form of new government programs."

Maybe, maybe not. Government can be very useful in economic development. Or it can just be a source of waste and corporate welfare. All too often, those who complain the most bitterly about government are those who are fed best at the government trough-- without giving much return on the investment.

Godot 10 years ago

Boozo, name one government funded and government run economic development initiative in Lawrence that has succeeded in creating more tax dollars than were spent on it.

snowWI 10 years ago

Slow growth is good for Lawrence as opposed to the extreme amount of population growth that is being observed in Johnson County. Some cities also have over 30% of the total population under the age of 18. These cities include: Olathe, Gardner, Edgerton and Spring Hill. These towns also are EXTREMELY conservative. Lawrence has a planned and cooridinated way of developing as opposed to the "growth at all costs" development strategy that Johnson County uses.

Jamesaust 10 years ago

Bozo - one can hardly disagree with you if no one understands what you mean.

How exactly would one "saturate" a market via economic development? Are you trying to say "overbuilding"? Please explain this process with more detail then "A, and then, Z" with emphasis on exactly what the fulcrum of this "pyramid scheme" would be. And what is the evidence you seem to have that would place this event in 2006?

(All most of us see is a shortage of housing caused at the micro/local level by excessive regulation of supply, leading to a curtailment of demand - the loss of "affordable housing" - but keeping supply and demand in line, with the curtailment primarily shown by an increase in emigration - people "priced out" of the market - and a decrease in immigration - people who find better value elsewhere - as this article notes.)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years ago

"How exactly would one "saturate" a market via economic development?"

One doesn't-- but bedroom-community sprawl isn't really economic development. It's merely the concentration of capital into the hands of the very small group of people who profit from that growth, until one day, those who have been subsidizing it (the majority of taxpayers in the city who are at the bottom of the pyramid) can no longer fund continued expansion, either because it's beyond their means, or because that base is no longer expanding. And in Lawrence's case, it appears to be a bit of both.

Stephen Roberts 10 years ago

I am sorry this almost looks like a post from Merrill.


Boog and Schauner have accomplished having Dada day or month, spent money on out of town consultants and deferred a vote on retail on at 6th & South Lawrence Trafficway until after the election,

Jamesaust 10 years ago

"How exactly would one "saturate" a market via economic development?" == "One doesn't."

Okay, then. Glad we could clear that one up.

Jamesaust 10 years ago

Bozo: "but bedroom-community sprawl isn't really economic development......"

So this is really about you pushing tired, old, long-ago disproven theories into every new set of facts that emerge? Sort of cherry-picking anything that seems to be useful, ignoring or dismissing the rest, and then presenting the connect-the-dots constellation as whatever picture you were already looking for? Sort of like a Bush Admin intel report?

Hmmm.... "[King James II] mode of arguing, if it is to be so called, was one not uncommon among dull and stubborn persons, who are accustomed to be surrounded by their inferiors. He asserted a proposition; and, as often as wiser people ventured respectfully to show that it was erroneous, he asserted it again, in exactly the same words, and conceived that, by doing so, he at once disposed of all objections" - Macaulay in 'History of England, Vol. I, Chap. 6, "The King's Temper and Opinions," p. 569.'

Jamesaust 10 years ago

Bozo: I should also point out that nothing that you said in your answer explains nothing UNIQUE about Lawrence. What you term 'sprawl' exists throughout the U.S. (and elsewhere, btw) and yet economic circumstances and housing markets vary extraordinarily from place-to-place. And yet the article's premise is that something unique is happening to Lawrence's population.

Anytime a theory fails to explain variation, rational people get a new theory. Your theory is closer to the reaction of an elephant upon seeing a mouse.

Somehow, I find it unlikely that 'sprawl' is the fulcrum upon which American civilization will collapse. Unfortunately for you, the incompetence of unaccomplished Commissioners - however glowing the personality cult you've surrounded them with in your mind - will probably tilt the City too far in the other direction, and leave you with your least-desired outcome. Perhaps, you should have managed well-thought, constructive criticism of their failures as a mechanism to push them to do better before the voters had formed a negative view of them.

Mkh 10 years ago

It seems to me that until we can provide more jobs for our existing community it's a very good thing that More people are not moving here. For a city that has problems like Lawrence, polulation growth will only make those problems much, much worse.

lunacydetector 10 years ago


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years ago

"Somehow, I find it unlikely that 'sprawl' is the fulcrum upon which American civilization will collapse."

Given the impending disaster of global warming, and wars for oil that are driving us to bankruptcy, both symptoms of the sprawl that typifies American civilization of the last century or so, I don't see how it is all that unlikely.

"Unfortunately for you, the incompetence of unaccomplished Commissioners"

You admonish me to provide constructive criticism, while you provide little more than the petty, vacuousness that typifies most of the "criticism" on this board.

I'm not satisfied with the performance of the city commission over the last four years. Unfortunately, that poor performance has little to do with the actual performance of the incumbents, and much more to do with the absolute disaster they took over after decades of cronyism in the service of greed and narrow special interests, and a city commission intentionally structured to be little more than a rubberstamp for those narrow special interests.

So the choice in this election is simple-- do we go back to the government by cronyism that served most of us so badly for decades, or do we elect commissioners that will at least look for better ways of serving the whole city, and not just the few hundred people who are attempting to buy back the city commission to promote their very narrow commercial agenda?

snowWI 10 years ago

hawkperchedatriverfront: I agree that their needs to be a better grocery store/retail store in some parts of the city. A good location for this would be north Lawrence since many have said that this part of town needs a store. Also, even with some sprawl in the western part of the city, Lawrence still has better urban planning than nearly every city in Johnson County. Lawrence also has a higher population density than other cites and suburbs in the region. Olathe= Massive Sprawl covering large amounts of land. Gardner= Sprawl + Tract Houses close to I-35 Spring Hill= 66% population increase since the year 2000 Lenexa and Shawnee= Large amount of sprawl on the western side of both cities.

monkeyhawk 10 years ago

OK cool, some clarification. I did not mean to imply that JE Dunn is, or has been interested in development in Lawrence. I merely used my friend's opinion/impression of trying to do business in Lawrence as an indication of the feeling that some in KC have regarding our city. He works with many subs and obviously the subject has come up in the past.

When this is verified by someone in an entirely different type of business as first hand experience, a person could start to see the forest. An average sale of this particular luxury item I mentioned previously would generate, on average, approximately $365.00 in sales tax for the city. But, he will not sell his product in Lawrence - no other city in the region is refused (or ever has been)! When the city is difficult to work with, this allows the tax burden to fall elsewhere. Can you guess?

So, what if the city became more "business friendly"? That would be a good start, but how long would it take to get back the business that has been lost, let alone see a decent increase?

It does not make me feel good to hear such things about Lawrence. Believe it or not, people who live in the "other" Lawrence, otherwise known as "West Lawrence" actually love our city, too. It is disturbing to see businesses close, one after the other.

When I decided to change my own business focus last year, and do new business only outside of Dg. county, these are some of the people who were affected: realtors, insurance people, handymen, painters, hardware stores, decorators, lawn services, roofers, plumbers, electricians, mortgage companies, title companies....... and the list goes on. These were long standing relationships.

I don't really think the debate is about development - it is about sustainability at this point. Perhaps the big decline in growth and the alienation of business was not the direct intention of "smart growth", but that is what we've got. How do you fix it without name calling and division? Most would agree that is counterproductive.

Lifelong_Lawrencian 10 years ago


I know someone who is a commercial realtor in Kansas. He represents several retailers and restaurants that are constantly on the lookout for new sites. He despises trying to deal with Lawrence though he has successfully brought several businesses here in the past. He briefly looked at the site at Clinton Parkway and Wakarusa Drive. An apparently good site at a major intersection. The city first informed him that the commission would almost certainly not allow a gas station there, since there is already one at the opposite corner (even though many other major intersections in town have two). No matter, how about something else. He then learned that the city would only allow a curb cut 150' north of the intersection off Wakarusa. The developer would have to pay for a roundabout on Wakarusa and a frontage road that returned to the corner. The roundabout alone would run about $500,000. Conclusion, the property is worthless.

How about another one. Diamondhead subdivision at George Williams Way and 6th. This development was held up by the city for 4 years, during which time the area was annexed by the city, which greatly increased the property taxes on the land. As time ticks by, so does the interest bill. They finally approve the plat completely unaltered from its original design after making using this as an excuse to hold it up. As normal, the developer was required to pay for everything including his half of GW Way through special assessments. The owner of the land on the other side of the street pays for the other half. But the city messed up. The intersection at 6th was not big enough. This now has to be partially torn out and enlarged. His quarter of the cost: roughly $1,500,000. He estimates this wasted $300,000 of his money because of the city's error. Corliss graciously has offered $200,000 of the city's money to offset their error, though this is a drop in the bucket.

I have many more examples. Your friend is no doubt pleased with how he is treated downtown, since he/she and/or their landlord is partially subsidized by the city.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years ago

I guess we know one side of the story, Lifelong_Lawrencian.

The city should have very clear rules about how developments are submitted and approved. Who could disagree with that?

But any developer who expects the city to subsidize their developments and then throws out the "unfriendly to business" line because they don't get a blank check from the city's taxpayers will get no sympathy from me.

Lifelong_Lawrencian 10 years ago

For once bozo, I agree wholeheartedly.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.