Letters to the Editor

Height issue

September 25, 2007


To the editor:

I was disappointed to see the coverage of the Sept. 20 Historic Resources Commission meeting denying the 12th and Oread project buried on page four of the newspaper. There has been extensive coverage of this project on the front page of the paper in recent weeks, yet the result of the HRC meeting did not merit front page status nor did the specific content of the meeting apparently deserve attention at all.

As a current member of the HRC, I believe that there are misconceptions that our body is against redevelopment. In the context of the 12th and Oread project, the HRC is actually supportive of the concept. It is the enormity of the project that is concerning. This building as presented is slightly more than 94 feet tall. Compare this building with the US Bank building, which is 77 feet tall; the Eldridge Hotel, which is 63 feet tall; or Hobbs Taylor Lofts, which is 76 feet tall. Not only is this project nearly 20 feet taller than these other buildings, it would be on one of the highest points in Lawrence. The proponents of this project are well aware of the concerns of the HRC and choose to blatantly disregard them.

The initial proposal in 2006 was a project of 80 feet tall. The developers decided to come back in 2007 and make their request significantly larger. How one can argue that such a building would not encroach upon, damage or destroy the environs of the listed historic properties is beyond me.

Jody Meyer,



kansas778 10 years, 8 months ago

You can't keep Lawrence in a time capsule. Skylines grow over time, and I think it would be pretty neat to have some taller buildings as visual landmarks around town. I don't know what the building would look like, but it would become part of the Lawrence skyline, seen from miles around, like Fraser Hall at KU. The Empire State building certainly changed the environs of New York City, but it didn't destroy it, it improved it. Height alone is not a good reason to deny the building.

TheYetiSpeaks 10 years, 8 months ago

"Offtotheright, says that the neiborhood is trash, so why do they want to put a millions of dollars of investments in a so call trash pit."

OH!...Offtotheright says....well, it must be true then. Have we officially come to the point where we are quoting other posters? (Insert Carrie Neighbors poem here) I think our egos are officially eating our brains.

Bradley Kemp 10 years, 8 months ago

Not "enormity." Perhaps "enormousness." I've heard arguments about the size of the building, but I haven't heard anyone suggest that it would be evil.

BunE 10 years, 8 months ago

Grow up instead of out. Build that sucker 45 stories and it will look awesome.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 10 years, 8 months ago

toefungus says: Odd anyone?

Too easy... There's you, b3, BunE, Confrontation, Bowhunter99, offtotheright...well, heck...everybody on this thread, including me!~)

Confrontation 10 years, 8 months ago

Being normal in Lawrence would be much scarier.

Boston_Charley 10 years, 8 months ago

If some of the people who comment endlessly about this issue would just come to the HRC meetings they wouldn't have to speculate and just plain make stuff up about who said what, how high each floor is, what the HRC guidelines are, etc. etc. However, it would be a shame to pollute the streams of vitriole with actual facts. (that was sarcasm)

Magpie 10 years, 8 months ago

Dang. The title got my hopes up. I thought this letter was going to be a referendum on short guys.

Jody Meyer 10 years, 8 months ago

If anyone wonders who the HRC is, why it does what it does, and the authority for its process and decision making, please go to http://www.ci.lawrence.ks.us/planning/hr-faqs.shtml.

"As for 94 feet:hmmm does that mean that each floor has 12 foot interiour spaces. if so, that would be 3 feet allowed for mechanical which is way too much when 2 feet is adequate. I wonder what the real facts are for the height. Is 94 feet the backside, on the downhill side. What is really the front height , minus the two fake towers with the fenced area in the middle."

The height information is the information given to the HRC from the developers at the HRC meeting. In my example, I used the information for the south elevation of the project plans which would be as if you were standing in front of the Crossing looking upward.

"Maybe the real truth is: the HRC follows guidelines, parameters if you will, that were developed by someone outside the HRC:rumor is that this Braddock woman with two names is behind this."

The guidelines followed by the HRC are different depending on the type of review before the body. For certified local government review of projects within the environs of listed properties, the Standards and Guidelines for Evaluating the Effect of Projects on Environs are used. For Certificate of Appropriateness, Section 22-205 of the Code of the City of Lawrence is used which is the general standards and design criteria listed in that section. (http://web.ci.lawrence.ks.us/legal_services/citycode/chapter22.html). In addition to the City of Lawrence's Historic Preservation Ordinance, the State of Kansas has adopted the Kansas Historic Preservation Act (K.S.A. 75-2715 - 75-2725) which provides for the protection of properties listed on the Register of Historic Kansas Places and the National Register of Historic Places. Currently, the City of Lawrence has entered into an agreement with the State Historic Preservation Officer for the HRC to conduct reviews required by this statute in Lawrence.

"I am still wondering how the neighborhood is historic. This neighborhood covering how many square blocks/miles?"

If you go to the city website, you can see the various maps showing the areas of each district:
http://www.lawrenceplanning.org/documents/Hancock.pdf http://www.lawrenceplanning.org/documents/Oread.pdf. This project is in the environs of these two designated historic districts as well as within the environs of Jane A. Snow residence, National Register of Historic Places,

"So what Jody Meyer? Are you saying the heights of those other buildings represent a limit on the heights of all future buildings?"

Absolutely not. My purpose in using the other buildings as examples was to give some real-life perspective to this proposal. Unfortunately to the consternation of many, each analysis is done on a case by case basis.

lawrenceblankenship 10 years, 8 months ago

new buildings out west are 5 stories tall...why not create urban growth near our downtown like this building is suggesting...I mean people want to reduce sprawl but then are against tall buildings...what is it that people want? Can't have the both of best worlds. This project looks like it will be fantastic!!!

kansas778 10 years, 8 months ago

Spywell, aren't you forgetting about the investors' concerns? It may be that the hotel would "fit" better on Mississippi street, but then it would not have the view it would get from the top of the hill, which I think is a major benefit of the proposed location.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 8 months ago

I think it should be built in the center of the stadium parking lot then on game days people could view the football game. Also could sell some of their lofts to students parents for a great view of the KU football team.

Then replace the hotel plan with a large stainless steel diner of the 50's and keep it open 24/7.

The hotel clan should have kept to the original proposal. This provides a birds eye view of the ethics that may take place in their downtown venture. Guess they cannot be trusted. What a shame. Always going to be a game of hardball.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 8 months ago

Any hotel that close to campus or closer will not lose money no matter what. Consumers would be more than willing to pay premium rates on game days,Sunflower Games etc etc.

The bar alone would support the venture.

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