Letters to the Editor

Developers rule

June 25, 2008


To the editor:

Here goes old Bud Nation again. I am too old to have it really matter what happens around me. I have fought heart attacks, a stroke, getting a pacemaker and defibrillator and have no further to go except into the ground. That is, if the developers leave any ground for me.

I suggest that we rename Lawrence to Developers Incorporated, for it seems they are ruling the city now. They say it is a beautiful entry into the city they have in mind out in my neighborhood northwest of Lawrence. If you drive to the east on the turnpike from where I live, you will see one of the beautiful developments, a bunch of houses on a hillside that reminds me of a song of some years back: "They are houses built of ticky tack and they all look just the same." On further east is the great North Lawrence mall that is almost empty.

You folks out where the city is now considering annexing with your horses, cattle, sheep had better sell out while selling is good. The city would not let a little girl have her two hens. Do you think they will let you keep your livestock?

Where will the sewage go? Oh, it will have its own water storage. Where will the water come from to store? I was a board member of RWD 1 for a term, and I don't think we have enough water to supply a new development. I am sure RWD 6 does not have it.

Bud Nation,



Stephen Roberts 9 years, 10 months ago

Bud- Maybe the commissioners are hearing from other people? Do you think Merrill and his merry band are the only ones who have an opinion?I knew Merrill would love this post. By the way Merrill since you love impact fees so much. I checked with the city, they are still waiting for you to pay an impact fee on your house. Come show some leadership and do it. Or are you one of the people who like to talk a big game but will not do anything if you have to pay for something?

Scott Drummond 9 years, 10 months ago

If growth is "essential" to the future health off the city, why not get together and agree to a footprint within which this growth will take place. I agree totally with DanceMom, there are plenty of areas off town that are already developed where redevelopment can go. It is the constant tearing up of fresh countryside that is so maddening

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 10 months ago

"Growth is essential to the future health of the city."Poppycock. A stable population is essential, but growth is not. Sure, if there is a substantial loss of population, that leaves fewer people to pay for infrastructure built to serve a larger population, and that can be a problem-- it's commonly known as blight.But the small farm towns you refer to are shrinking because of drastic changes in how the agricultural sector operates, and there is absolutely nothing those communities could have done to keep residents there. Lawrence, a commuter bedroom community, may face a similar problem as gas prices continue to rise, but most likely, population here will merely stabilize, not shrink in any dramatic way.Rapid growth and sprawl that demands taxpayer subsidies to finance it also results in blight and high taxes. Sure, there are particular businesses that benefit from growth, but most residents of a city don't see any particular benefit from it, and city policy should not be dictated by something that only benefits a minority of the city, especially when they demand taxpayer subsidies to make it happen.Growth happens, but you deal with, you don't need to encourage it.

Sheila Hooper White 9 years, 10 months ago

Bowhunter- I can say i'm not one who whines about old buildings being torn down to build new ones. They need to stop the new ones from being built in areas that have nothing there but tress or farmland. I can remember when they used the fields off of 31st for soybeans, corn and other farmland. Now they are tearing it down to build, what, probably another apartment complex. I don't think we need this. And if Lawrence does need another renovate old buildings or tear them down and build there.I can remember when the edge of town was 31st, Kasold, Now look at all the house, townhouses in these places. We need to save our green space.

rumor_man 9 years, 10 months ago

I will not seriously comment on this topic until Cool has.

Michael Sizemore 9 years, 10 months ago

There is an architectural term used for the types of housing developements referenced above - "future slums".

Richard Heckler 9 years, 10 months ago

excellent editorial...If residential growth paid for itself and was financially positive, we would not be in a budget crunch. But with increased numbers of houses you have increased demand on services, and historically the funding of revenues generated by single-family housing does not pay for the services, they require from a municipality.Developers and cars are two very expensive budget items. Both want roads. More streets = more cars = more people = more tax increases. Developers plans that consistently increase our tax liabilities instead of promoting tax reductions IS my concern:Over built retail = economic displacement = fiscally irresponsibleIndustrial Sites considering many 12-14 acre sites are now available = over stock = irresponsible managemnet

Sheila Hooper White 9 years, 10 months ago

blue73harley - i'm not against some growth but, enough is enough. does anyone know what they are building at 31st and ousdahl? i believe you have to have some growth we don't need another apartment complex or bar and grill, how about something for the kids.I remember the skating rink, putt putt,the arcade by perkins.like i said i love lawrence. my family is here, one of my daughters just graduated form lhs(4th generation lion.

Sheila Hooper White 9 years, 10 months ago

i agree bozo. The people who are buying these brand new homes should look into doing a little work and buy an older home. You can renovate it however you want. Yes we do need some growth, but we need to be realistic and not just build because we can. It's so sad to see many of the areas that were green being torn down to build identical houses next to each other. I saw the other day the new road that is going in on the other side of o'connell.OMG!!The walk along the mary's lake trail is not the same since they put in that new street. We need to enjoy what is already here. There are so many empty buildings and houses for sale. The Food 4 Less building is still empty,the silly block stores in front of best buy, mostly empty,at least 20+ homes in my area for sale. And they still build. I'm sure if I took the time i could think of many more empties.

jayhawkrider 9 years, 10 months ago

I live in Dallas and lived in Houston for 13 years after growing up in Lawrence. Developers are like termites. They keep building to build and will eat up the entire countryside. In Houston, the infrastructure is paid for by Municiple Utility District fees that only apply to the areas under development. It can be an extra $250/month to pay for sewer, roads, and schools. Seems like something Lawrence should look into rather than charging eveyrone else.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 10 months ago

"I would suggest that instead of dealing with it that you should plan for it."Obviously, "dealing with it" would have to entail planning. But planning doesn't have to mean encouraging it, and especially doesn't have to include subsidizing it."This is one of the things that Lawrence has not done well and why we continue to argue about things like the SLT."That's because decisions have been made almost exclusively on the side of whatever encourages growth, which particularly includes the SLT. If the secret, private meetings of movers and shakers that determined the route through wetlands had instead been an open, community effort, one that included Haskell, we wouldn't be where we are right now.But having full community input has never been in the interest of the mavens of growth.

introversion 9 years, 10 months ago

It's a humorous coincidence that Mr. Nation quoted the old song about houses being made of ticky tack, as I was privy to a conversation this past weekend in which the same reference was made about the same neighborhood. The conversation went on to point out that the neighborhood is also built on a landfill.

jafs 9 years, 10 months ago

The reason small towns generally die out without growth is that older people die and the younger people leave, thus they need a new influx of people.This is not true in a college town like Lawrence, in which there is a constantly changing group of students.I think that a sustainable qualty of life for residents is a better goal for Lawrence than continual growth.

sherbert 9 years, 10 months ago

I thought we had record low building permits this year, as well as the last few. Thats why property taxes are going up so much, because new construction sales taxes haven't been there to subsidize the old stuff.

sherbert 9 years, 10 months ago

Well, how many years did we go without having a mil levy increase?

Scott Drummond 9 years, 10 months ago

Jayhawkr:Surely you jest.....I can hear the howls of protest. These are the people, afterall, who expect us to pay for the SLT so their daily commute can be reduced by 5 minutes. Pay their own way?!!?!?? Wow, that's a good one!

Confrontation 9 years, 10 months ago

"The old begin to complain of the conduct of the young when they themselves are no longer able to set a bad example."---Francois de La Rochefoucauld

George_Braziller 9 years, 10 months ago

What a load of crap. Building 1,000 apartments or condos or single family homes without any consideration for the impact on the infrastructure, who is going to pay for it, or where they are going to work. (It sure isn't going to be the developers who pay for it) isn't healthy growth. It's called cancer.____XD40 (Anonymous) says: Growth is essential to the future health of the city.

BigPrune 9 years, 10 months ago

From sea to shining sea, our reputation is well known. Lawrence is a horrible place for business and especially, developers. It isn't the developers that rule. It is the crazies that rule. That's why the City wants to raise our taxes yet again. If the developers ruled, the City wouldn't be talking about raising taxes, though nobody at City Hall realizes it. They bite the hand that feeds them.

Sheila Hooper White 9 years, 10 months ago

I agree with Bud. I have lived in Lawrence all my life. I grew up on the south part of town. I can remember many open fields in this area and it's so sad to see them go. I just think they need to quit building. There are numerous houses in many other neighborhoods that can be renovated. I just noticed yesterday the developers off of 31st and ousdahl tore down the one line of trees. When I looked back to the existing tree line there were a couple of deers just standing there. The look on their faces was so sad."Where are my trees going" or should I change that to homes. Enough is enough quit building.We don't need any new apartment building or houses or strip malls. Still love Lawrence.

John Spencer 9 years, 10 months ago

DancemomX2Those weren't Deer, that was White Owl and his nubian princess dancing in the street......

stuckinthemiddle 9 years, 10 months ago

"Growth is essential to the future health of the city"this is a false statement...years ago I read an excellent article about how towns/cities with large colleges/universities are able to thrive without growth...if you look at all the problems we have here in Lawrence, most if them and the worst of them are the direct result of growth...

stuckinthemiddle 9 years, 10 months ago

you are absolutely right-on Bud...thank you for writing this letter...

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