Archive for Thursday, November 6, 2008

Work on LHS fields halts after suit

November 6, 2008


Related document

Athletic Fields Lawsuit ( .PDF )

Related document

City of Lawrence restraining order ( .PDF )

Related document

USD 497 Restraining Order ( .PDF )

The lawsuit filed late Monday by the Centennial Neighborhood Association against the city of Lawrence and the Lawrence school district includes a temporary restraining order, endorsed by Judge Michael Malone, barring further construction of Lawrence High School's athletic fields.

The temporary restraining order halts the progress of the athletic fields, which began construction two weeks ago, following months of negotiations with the city.

"What we hope to come out is that in the end, the city will follow their zoning codes and the school district will be made to play by the rules," said Bob Tryanski, one of the plaintiffs.

City Manager David Corliss had no comment, saying he could not discuss pending litigation.

Lawrence school district Superintendent Randy Weseman said the district will fight the suit.

"We will aggressively pursue a legal strategy that ensures the ultimate outcome of providing safe and adequate practice/competition fields for our kids, and pursue the recovery of any resources lost as a result of this challenge," he said.

Weseman said the lawsuit did not surprise him. "If you're surprised that somebody filed a legal challenge to a public project, then you're new to Lawrence," he said.

Malone's order is a small victory for neighbors of the project, who have argued that the 4,000-seat football stadium is too big for the Lawrence High plot, and that the four athletic fields would disrupt the neighborhood.

The lawsuit claims that the city and school district broke city and state laws by designating the projects under the wrong development code, calling the passing of special-use permits "arbitrary, unreasonable, and capricious." It also alleges that city and district officials bypassed public discussion of the projects by communicating in private, and that city commissioners prejudged the decision to approve the $10.4 million project in violation of state law.

The suit also asks for damages in excess of $75,000.


absolutelyridiculous 9 years, 6 months ago

Our school board doesn't know HOW to plan. Millions spent on new athletic facilities, now a lawsuit, attorneys fees. Gee, this "whatever it takes" attitude is working for them huh? This sucks for our kids ultimately.

rabbit 9 years, 6 months ago

Don't forget the tree's this will solve all the problems.

Sheila Hooper White 9 years, 6 months ago

it's seems funny the people who brought up the suit have their neighborhood meetings at LHS.

Michael Capra 9 years, 6 months ago

bob and his nazi group all voted for rundle.stop walmart

Nikki May 9 years, 6 months ago

How are they damaged RIGHT NOW? Why do they need money for it? Wouldn't want LHS to meet the standards of Free State. Now, the kids don't even have a track to run on.

mom_of_three 9 years, 6 months ago

LHS has room on the northern campus? What northern campus?

stuckinthemiddle 9 years, 6 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~

Sheila Hooper White 9 years, 6 months ago

my thoughts exactly, punkrockmom. this just seems silly. my husband works at LHS and he said the work has been started for weeks. since i don't have a child at lhs this year (not for a few more years) i had no idea they had completely pulled up the track. why does there always have to be a lawsuit? were will this money come from? can't we all just be happy, quit complaining and enjoy life. i'm not happy with the turnout of the election, so who can i sue?

Sheila Hooper White 9 years, 6 months ago

so now that they (the people who don't want this) have managed to halt construction, who's going to put the track and practice field back the way it was? quit the stupid lawsuits!!!! build the facilities!!

Rick Aldrich 9 years, 6 months ago

move you morans. i live less than 1/2 a block away myself. and we can't wait for the changes. cry! cry! cry!

grimpeur 9 years, 6 months ago

Pulling up the track forced the issue. Bad planning by a school district that, according to its own super, should have anticipated a suit. LHS has room on the northern campus for the entire project.But, no. They must be using KU as a model.

beawolf 9 years, 6 months ago

This lawsuit is wrong on so many levels. I hope the lawyer for the CNA explained that if they lose there will be substantial recovery losses that they will be liable for. The most confusing part of this is that the property values of the homes in that neighborhood are enhanced by their proximity to the school. Better school facilities = higher values.

mom_of_three 9 years, 6 months ago

these athletic fields benefit more than just the athletes. At least the rest of the student body will be able to go somewhere close to watch their teams play, with adequate seating, and perhaps develop even more school pride. Free State already has it's own baseball, and softball fields. Wouldn't that be nice.

sbdad 9 years, 6 months ago

This is like building a house on a golf course and then complaining about broken windows and golf balls in your yard. I hope when they lose this suit it cost them all $$. I wish the city would run though that neighborhood and check for ordnance issues, such as cars on the street to long, sidewalks not taken care of, grass not cut. Maybe we should drive thought the neighborhood, check it out and give the city a call ourselves. I mean some of these people can hear the drive though at KFC 363 days a year and they are worried about crowds 30 nights a year??

Jerry Harper 9 years, 6 months ago

Good for the litigators. Stopping the foolish expenditures of millions of dollars on two unneeded high school football stadiums is great for everyone. For a fraction of the cost, the school district could put in synthetic turf at Haskell Stadium so it can be used by Haskell and both high schools. In addition, there is absolutely no reason the proposed 10,000 seat track stadium at KU (South of the Fieldhouse with plenty of existing parking and no drainage problems) can't be designed as a shared facility. The present plan, if allowed to go forward, will give Lawrence 5 stadiums (Memorial Stadium, Haskell Stadium, the new KU track stadium, and a stadium at each high school). These stadiums would be used a total of approximately 30 days each year for football games. Other uses are few and far between and don't create any significant scheduling conflicts.The school district is spending almost $4 million (quite possibly illegally) from the 2005-voter-approved bond issue. That bond issue money was never intended for football stadiums. It ought to be used for the purposes that the voters approved.Now the school district is back with lease-purchase financing to fund the remainder of the roughly $12 million project. Lease-purchase financing is simply an end run around the historical requirement that major capital expenditures require voter approval. In case you don't remember, this is what the voters voted to spend $54 million on in 2005. Look closely and see if you can see where it says football stadiums.Proposition No. 1Shall the following be adopted? Shall Unified School District No. 497, Douglas County, Kansas (Lawrence), issue general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $54,100,000, to pay the costs to (i) construct additions to and renovate, furnish and equip existing junior high and high schools; (ii) demolish the existing South Junior High School, construct, furnish and equip a new South Junior High School on land adjacent to Broken Arrow Elementary and construct additions to and renovate, furnish and equip Broken Arrow Elementary School and (iii) make all other necessary and related improvements, all pursuant to the provisions of K.S.A. 10-101 et seq., K.S.A. 25-2018(f) and K.S.A. 72-6761?Proposition No. 2Shall the following be adopted? Shall Unified School District No. 497, Douglas County, Kansas (Lawrence), issue general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $8,900,000, to pay the costs to furnish and equip school facilities by purchasing, constructing and installing new and upgraded computer and communication technology, all pursuant to the provisions of K.S.A. 10-101 et seq., K.S.A. 25-2018(f), and K.S.A. 72-6761?Maybe this litigation will slow things down and give the bullheaded school district time to think. Wasting public resources in a time of fiscal uncertainly makes no sense. Intergovernmental cooperation and shared facilities does.

somebodynew 9 years, 6 months ago

dancemom - in answer to your original question, why the lawsuit? We live in Lawrence. Nothing gets done in Lawrence without someone bit**hing and moaning, and filing a lawsuit. Lawyers in this town will never starve.

del888 9 years, 6 months ago

I have a solution. If you don't want the field built in your neighborhood then MOVE AWAY.

CNA_Resident 9 years, 6 months ago

Not only that, JustAverage, but also consider that the Centennial Neighborhood Association Executive Board did not notify all of the residents living within its boundaries that the Board (and ancillary members) were launching this lawsuit.Oh, boy. You have NO idea just how frosted my cookies are right now.The board is required to notify CNA residents, and in particular, to obtain a majority vote from all paying dues members before proceeding with anything like this stunt. I know whereof I speak, because our household were founding members of this association.Furthermore, this litigation flies in the face of what our neighborhood association worked HARD for twelve years ago, in convincing the school district to purchase the land directly adjacent to Centennial Elementary. That land was indeed up for sale and the reigning bid on it at that time was from a developer who wanted to build townhome/apartments on that five acres. WE (Centennial Association residents) begged the school district to weigh in and purchase this land. WE (Centennial Neighborhood Association residents) argued vociferously that whatever was being done for Free State, be done for LHS. And WE (Centennial Neighborhood Association residents) understood and waited (and waited) for the district to find the money and the time to build sports facilities on the LHS campus.And while we're at it, allow me to point something else out to Jerry Schulz and Tom Harper's rant up above: THE. VERY. FIRST. SENTENCE of Prop I allows the district to proceed with this long-overdue effort:Proposition No. 1Shall the following be adopted? Shall Unified School District No. 497, Douglas County, Kansas (Lawrence), issue general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $54,100,000, to pay the costs to (i) construct additions to and renovate, furnish and equip existing junior high and HIGH SCHOOLS (dot, dot, dot.)MY QUESTION now is: Did the Centennial Neighborhood Association follow the Rules, Bylaws and Regulations established in its charter to notify residents (in WRITING) prior to taking any legal or public position on this issue? You can bet your bottom dollar I. am. going. to. find. out.

mom_of_three 9 years, 6 months ago

Not sure how they would expand the cafeteria, since it looks pretty locked into it's current area. Ditto for the library. New question - What if Haskell decides it doesn't want to share it's field anymore, and doesn't need the money from the school district? where would LHS play? FreeState has a football field, not sure if seating is adequate or what's wrong with the field. But they could have a game there. LHS doesn't even have a field anymore, and the one they had wasn't even good enough for the band to practice on. Something about slopes or drainage or something. The LHS band practiced one to two times a day during August and through October. they played loudly on a practice field. Wonder if the neighbors ever complained about that "noise" keeping their babies up?

stuckinthemiddle 9 years, 6 months ago

del888 can we use that same logic for homeless shelters...?

thanksforcoming 9 years, 6 months ago

Wasn't Lawrence voted in the top 20 sports cities in America by ESPN? And now there is a lawsuit against brand new sports facilities. Maybe ESPN should do better reporting!!

somebodynew 9 years, 6 months ago

CNA_Resident - very good post !!!! And I hate to speak this, but maybe you should file a lawsuit to stop the lawsuit already filed. I know that sounds silly and actually goes against my own grain, but if the association didn't follow the rules, the lawsuit stopping the constuction may not be appropiate. And I do remember your group pushing the board for those things.

mom_of_three 9 years, 6 months ago

you think the old south would have made a good senior center? It was starting to fall apart. When I went to a program there, and leaned against and inner wall, it moved. I don't think anyone could have used it; it was pretty worn out.

Sheila Hooper White 9 years, 6 months ago

somebodynew - I was trying to be sarcastic. I actually have lived here all my life and see this sillyness daily. Of course you don't realize anything until you're grown up and pay attention to these things. I want the opposing people to see how crazy this suit is and I wish everyone would stop suing people for silly things. I think I'll sue my neighbor b/c his/her leaves are blowing in my yard and I have to clean the up. hehe:)cna-resident - good post. way to speak up.averado - i disagree about the inside of the building. my husband has worked there for many years and he says it's cleaner and in better shape than many of the newer schools.I went to LHS 20 some years ago and parking was a problem then it's never going to change. They need to do something b/c now they have no track. I'm sure it's not just the people at the high school who are upset. They track is used by many people.

otto 9 years, 6 months ago

I lived in a nice little neighborhood next to a mexican restaurant(Beccaros). Then a bar moved in(Cadillac Ranch) Which sucked. I moved. I guess I should have filed a lawsuit. Patrons to the bar urinating, puking and fighting in my yard - I guarantee a football game once a week for a few weeks is a lot better. This lawsuit stuff is crap. Build the SLT through the centennial neighborhood right past the entrance to Haskell. Close off access to Haskell and tell them all to move. I know this won't work either so give and take a little. Quit whining about a football stadium at a Hight School.

mom_of_three 9 years, 6 months ago

Yes, it took a heck of a time to bulldoze it out because of the style of the building. Course you had to wait for the asbestos to be removed. It was in awful shape, and could have been just that building in particular. I went to junior high in another town which had a similiar shaped building, almost identical actually, built about the same time. But they still use it because it was built better to begin with, and have added on to it since then.

Avery Pearson 9 years, 6 months ago

Why waste money on athletics when the core is rotten? I was shuffled through LHS and I know that money would be of better use inside that building than on an athletics facility. So what if Freestate has better facilities? It doesn't matter if the education sucks. (which it does.) Employ competent people, and provide them with the resources to enlighten. Then worry about extracurricular diversions.

jayhawklawrence 9 years, 6 months ago

There is a bad element in this town that is consistently obstructionist. These jokers shouldn't be living close to a school if they don't like kids.This lawsuit and the wimpy justifications for it just make me angry.Fortunately, the average human life expectancy insures that these jokers will eventually be gone.You can't fix stupid.

justaverage 9 years, 6 months ago

Demographics change yearly in Lawrence so closing Centennial as an elementary school wasn't a bad decision, but one based on the small number of students in its boundry. At the time, Cordley, Schwegler and even Broken Arrow were not that far away for kids to attend. How do you whiners feel about simply demolishing LHS and Centennial and selling the land to developers who could then build 5,000 apartments in their place? By the way, LHS will always be my high school and with all due respect, "Free State" is by far the most stupid name I know of for a high school in Kansas.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 6 months ago

Jerry Harper is absolutely correct. USD 497 taxpayers are getting duped. I learned last night that this is a temporary set up. Bottom line :Where is the money? Why was this not put before the USD 497 taxpayers? People in this town deserve respect.Also Haskell is more than willing to work work with USD 497.According to Haskell USD 497 did not put a lot of energy into this Haskell partnership concept. This would be a win win for the community and OUR USD 497 tax dollars. It is hard to believe that Free State needs more, not mention sharing those facilities was deemed a no way jose'.

gl0ck0wn3r 9 years, 6 months ago

Sports are for the bourgeoise. When the Great Leap begins and students are sent to the farms for class rectification, the area can be used as a mass exercise field.

Shelley Bock 9 years, 6 months ago

Jerry...Improvements can't be done at Haskell because that's BIA property. USD 497 can do all the rehabilitation they want, including putting in athletic turf, improving the running track, tearing down the stadium and building a new one, but the BIA would have no reason to rent it to the District.As to KU agreeing to do ANYTHING in conjunction with USD 497, dream on. KU doesn't want high school sports in their facilities. I suspect that they wouldn't even engage in any discussion about joint construction or even occassional use. They have gone big time and high school sports is not part of their operation. Sure, it would be great to have future students on campus, but they don't need the crowds. At one time, KU had state football, basketball, baseball and swimming events on campus. Not any more.Build at YSI? No way. That land is leased from the Corps of Engineers. It is in the flood plain. But what is worst, there's no access. Millions would have to be spent for road improvements like a bridge over the by-pass to even have KDOT think about changes.Going to KU, Haskell or YSI is not an alternative. Those avenues are either too costly or have been closed.

kusp8 9 years, 6 months ago

You live next to a school, you must be a moron to not think expansion's going to come...just be glad Lawrence didn't exercise 'eminent domain' on your property and pay you for a quarter of what it is really worth.

ksdivakat 9 years, 6 months ago

I hope that everyone realizes that what weisman says about getting all that back means that they will win the lawsuit and the money they have lost will come from the neighborhood who sued them and stopped it. I agree, I think that the city needs to closely examine every yard, every car parked on the street and look for any violation that could possibly be and let them hang themselves. For goodness sake, if you didnt want to live near a school and hear noise (God forbid) or deal with students then you shouldnt have moved there. Our kids deserve a field where they can stay on their home turf and play on their home field.

hail2oldku 9 years, 6 months ago

"parrotuya (Anonymous) says: Why don't you enablers volunteer your backyard for a 4000 seat football stadium. Better yet, move right next to LHS. I am certain there won't be any takers. It's not funny when it happens to you."If you've got a property down there you are willing to sell, let me know. I'd gladly purchase it for a fair price - with or without the stadium view.

mom_of_three 9 years, 6 months ago

The inner walls at South that moved were not made to be moved. I am speaking of the permanent walls that lined the hall ways. Students were outgrowing the school and were attending classes in trailers. They needed to add on to the school and you can't do that with an old building like South, and who would want to.

mom_of_three 9 years, 6 months ago

Going out to YSI and Holcomb to play ball and soccer is part of the problem. It's hard to establish school spirit at a field that isn't even yours. with facilities at LHS or close by, even the gym classes could possibly use them, with minimum noise.

justaverage 9 years, 6 months ago

This suit is very selfish and only hurts the kids. Physical fitness is important for everyone, especially young people.We as citizens should encourage our children to become involved in sports, marching band and other outside activities as an integral part of their education. LHS has been in that neighborhood since 1954 and Centennial since 1961 so you people who live in that neighborhood should not be surprised at any of the proposals in the works now. Maybe your neighborhood association should be sued for Federal Civil Rights violations on behalf of our children. I'm a life-long Lawrence citizen and quite frankly, many of the homes in the neighborhood around LHS and Centennial need painting and landscaping. I wonder how many of the houses in that area are student rental units owned by out of town investors. Any competent judge would dismiss this suit by the neighborhood in two seconds.

mom_of_three 9 years, 6 months ago

disrupt the neighborhood? The fields will be two or three blocks off of 23rd street. i would think the noise from that would be disrupting enough. I don't hear haskell neighbors complaining about the noise from haskell stadium, which happens twice a week sometimes. Heck, I can hear football games from my house...

sbdad 9 years, 6 months ago

consumer 1 come look at my lawn, house, neighborhood, I take care of my stuff to protect my investment and my neighbors (someone like yourself). Have you ever lived somewhere with out ordinances? Try selling your house there. I hope if the school district loses this suit they counter sue to get a special assessment from your neighborhood to put everything back the way it was. SUE AWAY BABY

Richard Heckler 9 years, 6 months ago

And there are plans for a $45,000,000 sports complex in about 5 years to provide space for both high schools athletic programs.What is being built as we speak are multi- million dollar dinosaurs.

SMe 9 years, 6 months ago

Sue 'em. Sue 'em all. Don't even save six pallbearers, sue them to!About time the school district big-spenders-with-our-money had their wrists slapped a little.Heck, I might even be persuaded to donate to a sue-'em-some-more fund.

stuckinthemiddle 9 years, 6 months ago

ksdivakat yeah... that's what we need... some good old fashioned jackboot tactics to put those whiney neighborhood activists in their place...~chuckle~damn...and... maybe we could have police cruisers troll the neighborhood at night and shine the spot lights into windows of suspected stadium naysayers...

justaverage 9 years, 6 months ago

JerryLHarper - You assume that sharing the KU and Haskell sports facilities is a given, which is wrong. I don't think the citizens of Lawrence should be at the mercy of Haskell and KUAC when it comes to having or using sports facilities. How many libraries do we have in town? Maybe we should close our public library and use the ones at KU and Haskell? I don't see building sports facilities as a "waste" of money either. These facilities will and can be used by ALL citizens of Lawrence without having to say "pretty please" to KUAC and Haskell! Shoot, the KU men's and women's basketball teams don't even want to share the court in Allen Field House for practice!!! By the way, Mangino doesn't want ANYONE in HIS stadium or on HIS football field unless it is HIS players period!!!

mom_of_three 9 years, 6 months ago

Sports are played outdoors a few months out of the year. Just imagine when LHS gets its own stadium. Clubs able to run concession stands to earn money, bathrooms on both sides of the stadium.

lawthing 9 years, 6 months ago

If you want privacy move out to the country, not next door to a highschool.Isn't that the field the band practices on?The field is already loud so what is the damages.

shepdog 9 years, 6 months ago


nucleardude 9 years, 6 months ago

It is unbelievable the ignorance of this community and specifically a very small number of this neighborhood. Bloggers must realy believe what they write will be taken as fact. Merrill, goodness sakes, where have you been. Haskell wants no part of a continuing relationship with the Lawrence school system. KU wants no part in sharing facilities. I could make ridiculous claims that I hear this or someone said that and put it down to encourage people to believe what I am saying is reality. Something Merrill is quite good at with his long essays. The facts are: Haskell and KU want nothing to do with joint facilities or working out upgrading facilities with the Lawrence school system or anyone else. Have you been to these meetings? Obviously not. These certainly are not being built in anyone's backyard, they are on school district property and a considerable distance from property owners. I hope the final bill for this delay in construction gets sent directly to the few people of the neighborhood responsible and not for the neighbors wanting this to move forward.

Danimal 9 years, 6 months ago

Lawrence needs to remember that people actually live here, and that some of those people don't want a stadium in their backyard. The best part about this whole deal is that they'll still have to use Haskell's stadium when Free State and LHS play because the new facilities can't handle the capacity. Hilarious!

Danimal 9 years, 6 months ago

I can't blame these folks for not wanting to have a 4K seat stadium fifteen feet from their back fence. I can't imagine that would increase the property's value or appeal either. Ultimately the city needs to follow its own zoning regulations and stop getting itself sued. This is a dumb idea anyway. Wasn't the whole inspiration for the new facilities the JoCo schools. I guess the thing we forgot is that the JoCo schools all share their facilities in the name of economy. Not Lawrence, we need to build two basically identical stadiums that will each only be used what, 4 or 5 nights a year? Dumb.

KsTwister 9 years, 6 months ago

This lawsuit will be nothing compared to the one on the city when someone crashes after hitting the new speedbump they are installing at the top of the hill on 9th street and Lawrence Avenue. Add a little ice and snow and you can call it a ski ramp and from either direction this will be the new death trap. Really, what engineer is responsible for this fiasco?

CarterFaucheaux 9 years, 6 months ago

What a bunch of pains in the butt these neighborhood organizations are. Let the kids have a decent field!

hail2oldku 9 years, 6 months ago

"parrotuya (Anonymous) says: hail2oldku:Show me the money! I would like to call your bluff, but I am going to stay and fight."So which is it, you're willing to sell at fair market value to a willing buyer or you're going to bith about how you are being harmed just so you can bith?

blakus 9 years, 6 months ago

Think about the children! The CHIIIIIIIIIIIIIILLDREN!

jayhawklawrence 9 years, 6 months ago

It amazes me how quick some people are to criticize schools and teachers. It makes me think they must have some deep seated resentments from their childhood.At the same time, it is amazing how many people believe they can make better decisions than those who have spent decades in this noble profession learning how to nurture kids who many times have little or no respect for adults because of the poor training our culture provides to young people.My hats off to those who can put up with some of these kids because I would be grabbing some of them by their necks and shaking the stuffing out of them. The only solution I see in the future is compulsory military service.Otherwise, these are the type of kids that will grow up and file lawsuits and waste everybody's time and money for selfish reasons.

deskboy04 9 years, 6 months ago

Isn't it about time for the district to buy a new service center building?

hail2oldku 9 years, 6 months ago

Danimal (Anonymous) says: "I can't blame these folks for not wanting to have a 4K seat stadium fifteen feet from their back fence. I can't imagine that would increase the property's value or appeal either. Ultimately the city needs to follow its own zoning regulations and stop getting itself sued." Nobody is getting anything built 15 feet from their back fence."This is a dumb idea anyway. Wasn't the whole inspiration for the new facilities the JoCo schools. I guess the thing we forgot is that the JoCo schools all share their facilities in the name of economy. Not Lawrence, we need to build two basically identical stadiums that will each only be used what, 4 or 5 nights a year? Dumb." Not all of the JoCo schools share one facility, there are multiple facilities for each district, but you are correct that those multiple facilities are shared. In the Mission District, those shared facilities are in areas that are similarly residential.

hail2oldku 9 years, 6 months ago

"Danimal (Anonymous) says: Lawrence needs to remember that people actually live here, and that some of those people don't want a stadium in their backyard. The best part about this whole deal is that they'll still have to use Haskell's stadium when Free State and LHS play because the new facilities can't handle the capacity. Hilarious!"The 4k would have easily handled the crowd two weeks ago.

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