Archive for Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Neighbors file lawsuit over plans to build athletics fields

Neighborhood association says city, school board acted improperly in approving project

There's a new hurdle for school leaders looking to build new athletic facilities at Lawrence High.

November 4, 2008, 5:11 p.m. Updated November 4, 2008, 6:05 p.m.

Advertisement

Related document

Athletic Fields Lawsuit ( .PDF )

The Centennial Neighborhood Association has filed a lawsuit against the City of Lawrence and the Lawrence school district in an effort to stop construction of proposed athletic facilities.

The lawsuit, filed on Monday, seeks to nullify permits granted to build a football stadium, soccer field, softball field and other athletic facilities near Lawrence High School, 1901 La., and the Lawrence Virtual School, just south of LHS.

Residents of the neighborhood complained at city and school board meetings earlier this year that construction of the facilities would hinder their quality of life.

Several hardships the new facilities would bring upon surrounding residents are listed in the lawsuit, including light pollution, noise pollution, increased traffic, increased litter and decreased neighborhood aesthetics.

The lawsuit alleges that the Lawrence City Commission approved the ordinance, which allowed the construction, based on information and communications that were not part of the public record, and prejudged the application contrary to state law.

It also alleges that the school district's action has interfered with the residents' use and enjoyment of their properties, and that the district's action is "substantial and unreasonable."

Attorney Ed Collister, representing the plaintiffs, said he would not discuss the lawsuit Tuesday.

School district officials have said the new construction would address inequities in outdoor facilities between its two high schools - LHS and Free State High school - along with improving safety and making it easier to meet Title IX requirements for female athletes.

At city and school board meetings in previous months, neighbors expressed concerns that the facilities would be used for more than just school district activities, compounding quality-of-life issues.

Athletic construction projects at Free State have been met with little opposition.

Comments

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 9 months ago

Ah yes... If people can't win through the process, they tie up projects through the court system. In the mean time, this will cost the citizens more tax dollars. Congratulations on pushing Lawrence further down the slippery slope.

SMe 6 years, 9 months ago

Congratulations!Keep 'em tied up for years.

jaywalker 6 years, 9 months ago

Me me me me me............ me me me me me ...............Everybody! me me me me me..........

Hilary Morton 6 years, 9 months ago

hmmm....I live in the Centinneal neighborhood. I didn't realize I was suing anyone. Sorry about that. You miss one meeting, and you're suddenly in court.

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 9 months ago

"Jackson (Anonymous) says: Congratulations to the Centennial neighborhood for suing these idiots! It's about time taxpayers stood up to the 497 administration, their school board "yes-persons", and city commissioners, who seem to be in cahoots with any project that soaks Lawrence taxpayers!"Hey captain clueless... by suing, guess who they are ultimately suing? The taxpayers. So, in a sense, they are standing up to themselves.

Jackson 6 years, 9 months ago

Congratulations to the Centennial neighborhood for suing these idiots! It's about time taxpayers stood up to the 497 administration, their school board "yes-persons", and city commissioners, who seem to be in cahoots with any project that soaks Lawrence taxpayers!This is a spendthrift project hatched up by hair-brained 497 "jocks" to keep up with Shawnee Mission & (3) Topeka schools, who at least had the good sense to cooperate with only ONE facility.Reality check: Lawrence has a wine appetite with a beer income. Also, 497 administration has gone out of its way to avoid disclosing EXACTLY how this will be financed - AND at what final cost, incl. interest. Even the $3 million"down payment" was "stolen" from bond funds that were supposed to be used 7 years ago to improve schools.This administration CANNOT BE TRUSTED with your money! To say nothing of a city commission that gives permission to construct a project that they would never give a business or private institution.The entire project smells of collusion.

mom_of_three 6 years, 9 months ago

"interfered with use of their properties?" omg. noise pollution? How loud do they think it's going to get, unless it's football season, and the band plays. A few hundred people at soccer, baseball or softball games isn't that loud usually. increased traffic - don't really see that, either...no more than a KU basketball game...besides, they live on a street, isn't there supposed to be traffic?

justaverage 6 years, 9 months ago

WTF! Light pollution, noise pollution and increased traffic!This neighborhood is 300 feet from 23rd street!!! Beware, lest elves build a prayer wheel and discover ancient burial grounds under the school parking lot. I sense the need to hire out of town consultants at additional taxpayer expense to fix this mess!

skinny 6 years, 9 months ago

Oh Please, give me a break.You live right next to the University of Kansas which takes up about a ¼ of this town and you're worried about one little ole building and lights at 19th and Louisiana?Get real!!

Richard Heckler 6 years, 9 months ago

"At city and school board meetings in previous months, neighbors expressed concerns that the facilities would be used for more than just school district activities, compounding quality-of-life issues."Yes exactly. That is the plan. More back door politics from guess who? The Chamber of Commerce is what I speculate. Where it goes from there who knows.

shepdog 6 years, 9 months ago

LETS FACE IT THIS IS REALLY ABOUT THE FOOTBALL PART OF THIS PROJECT. NOBODY SEEMS TO HAVE A PROBLEM WITH ANY OF THE OTHER PARTS, BASEBALL SOCCER, SOFTBALL ETC.. WASN'T HASKELL APPROACHED ABOUT RENOVATING JUST A FEW PARTS INCLUDING FIELD TURF, ADDING RESTROOMS, CONCESSIONS. THEY APPARENTLY WERE'NT INTERESTED AND THATS FINE EVEN THOUGH DOESN'T HASKELL BELONG TO TAXPAYERS ALSO??? AS FOR TRYING TO COMPETE WITH OTHER DISTRICTS THAT IS A JOKE. TOWNS WITH SMALLER CLASSIFICATIONS HAVE HAD BETTER FACILITIES SINCE I WAS IN SCHOOL SOME THIRTY YEARS AGO. LAWRENCE IS A JOKE COMPARED TO MOST OTHER SCHOOLS FACILITIES AND THAT DOESN'T INCLUDE JUST SPORTS!!!

listener 6 years, 9 months ago

yes, and at that same meeting, the school district, city, parks and rec and the neighbors were told to meet to discuss how much additional use would be acceptable.Why/how do you know that this is the plan? You are spouting off with information that you do not know to be true trying to insight outrage in people using lies and half truths.The noise pollution, traffic and trash already inhabit this neighborhood EVERY day with students using these streets to park on. WIth this plan, students will have a parking lot to park in EVERY day. The noise will be an issue 5 nights per year-maybe a few more depending on the agreement-yes- AGREEMENT between the neighborhood association, parks and rec school and city. Historically, schools don't really want others using their facilities more than necessary because they want them in pristine shape for the actual school events.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 9 months ago

Way to go. Perhaps the lawsuit will save USD 497 taxpayers 5 million and city taxpayers several more million annually. If P.L.A.Y. is such a great idea for making money where are the private investors who could build it and place their name(s) all over the building?Yes and the funding issue was never clarifed sufficiently as to the long term costs to USD 497 and city taxpayers. Taxpayers should be demanding hard evidence.The Chamber must be part of this considering the names and voices backing this show of fiscal irresponsibility.Hard evidence was never presented to substantiate a need. New and fancy projects do not in and of themselves dictate success. This project should have been before the USD 497 voters and city taxpayers with definite numbers as well as how could the left over millions from a bond issue possibly be spent more effectively. In the beginning I do not recall reading that the city was going to be a substantial partner.

stuckinthemiddle 6 years, 9 months ago

well... the school board/district closed down their neighborhood school (Centennial) because of a claimed lack of funds to keep it open...but now there's enough money (millions of dollars) to build sports fields... one in their neighborhood: right near where their neighborhood school use to be: that will cause considerable long-term disruption ( lights, noise, crowds, traffic ) in the neighborhood: and may worsen some existing storm-water problems:neah: they don't have a legitimate beef:~chuckle~

Commenting has been disabled for this item.