Archive for Wednesday, January 7, 2009

SmartCode gives developers more design options

January 7, 2009


By mid-summer, Lawrence will have a new set of development rules that will allow for old-style neighborhoods that will be designed more like what was in vogue in 1939 than 2009.

City commissioners at their meeting Tuesday gave preliminary approval to the Lawrence SmartCode, a new optional development code that has been talked about for the last three years.

“One of the reasons I ran for City Commission in 2003 is that I looked at my older neighborhood and looked at downtown, and thought, why aren’t people building neighborhoods like that anymore,” Commissioner Boog Highberger said. “Then I realized it was because they would be illegal.”

The city’s current development code prohibits such things as the narrow streets of older neighborhoods, the small lots, the back alleys, and the mixing of single-family, multi-family, and commercial development in close proximity.

The SmartCode will allow that, but won’t mandate it for any area of the city. Instead, developers will be allowed to choose between the current code and the new SmartCode.

But the SmartCode was met with opposition from some neighborhood leaders who were concerned that the new code would allow too many approvals to be given by city staff members rather than made by city commissioners or planning commissioners.

But commissioners Tuesday unanimously agreed to take away some of the staff’s ability to grant development approvals under the new code. Staff had been proposing that development plans for projects on the edge of town be allowed to receive staff approval only, with an appeal process to the City Commission. Commissioners, though, struck that provision from the code and said development plans for all projects under the code would be required to be heard by the City Commission.

The new code will eliminate the step of development plans going before the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission. Rezoning plans, however, will continue to be heard by both the Planning Commission and City Commission.

Commissioners gave preliminary approval to the SmartCode on a 5-0 vote. The new code would take effect July 1.


BigPrune 9 years, 4 months ago

What about the change in the parking requirements????? Did they ever resolve that major issue?

Hoots 9 years, 4 months ago

The big difference is new commercial looks nothing like downtown. It's not 1909 anymore and everything is Big Box style. I don't want to live next to Duplexes or a Big Box store. This mixed use plan that we have been following for several years makes neighborhoods look like crap. Also back in the good old days they didn't have appartment complexes and duplexes. If any exist in the older parts of town they have been built since the 1970's There are a few nasty duplexes that were built in parts of old west lawrence right next to a nice older home and it looks like a HUGE ZIT on a pretty girls face.

alm77 9 years, 4 months ago

"wasn't there an article about people moaning about some duplexes being built next to their houses?"No, they were fighting MORE duplexes in an already overpopulated area. It's worth repeating, and I'll do it.

Meatwad 9 years, 4 months ago

Less sprawl and more walking. It's good.

Sigmund 9 years, 4 months ago

1939 is all the vogue in Lawrence Kansas 2009. Can't wait till someone actually tries and build narrow streets with small lots, back alleys, and mixes single-family next to apartments, next to some commercial development. "Sure I'll take the small single-family home between the apartment complex and the Quick Trip." Good luck with that.

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