Archive for Thursday, October 29, 2009

Community shelter leaders submit revised plan for new shelter, including renderings

Neighbors want hearing delayed

The architect's drawing shows the proposed new community shelter planned for the site of the former Don's Steakhouse on East 23rd Street.

The architect's drawing shows the proposed new community shelter planned for the site of the former Don's Steakhouse on East 23rd Street.

October 29, 2009


New look proposed for homeless shelter

A new site plan has been proposed for the potential new homeless shelter on east 23rd Street. The plan calls for a reduction in size although the number of beds available will stay the same. Enlarge video

Related document

Lawrence Community Shelter site plan ( .PDF )

Leaders of the Lawrence Community Shelter have filed a revised set of plans that shrink the size of the homeless shelter proposed for the former Don’s Steakhouse location on East 23rd Street.

But new concerns over the project are growing among neighbors who believe the city is trying to ram-rod the plans through the approval process.

The new plans shrink the proposed homeless shelter from a two-story building to a one-story, and eliminate about 25 percent of the square footage of the building. The amount of sleeping space in the shelter remains unchanged, with space for a maximum of 125 beds.

“The cuts really were just based on cost factors,” said Lawrence architect Dan Sabatini, who is designing the project.

The Lawrence Community Shelter is seeking to replace its current shelter at 10th and Kentucky streets because it has become too small, shelter leaders say.

But neighbors are crying foul over the new plans because they believe the plans show how the city is trying to rush the project through the approval process.

The new plans continue to show the project using 1.45 acres of property that is owned by the trust controlling the vacant Farmland Industries fertilizer plant, which is adjacent to the Don’s Steakhouse site. The shelter does not own the Farmland property and does not have the necessarily regulatory approvals to purchase the property in the near future.

Any purchase of the Farmland site has to be approved by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment because the state agency is responsible for ensuring that the former fertilizer site is properly cleaned up.

Rick Bean, chief of KDHE’s remedial section, said the department will oppose any attempts by the shelter to purchase the 1.45 acres. Bean said KDHE still prefers for a single buyer to purchase the entire 467-acre Farmland site because that will make it easier to ensure the entire site ultimately gets cleaned up.

But the city is allowing the shelter to submit plans that show buildings, parking and stormwater detention on the Farmland property, even though the shelter’s ability to obtain the property is far from certain.

“If I were trying to get a project approved, you can bet the Planning Commission or the City Commission wouldn’t even consider looking at my plans unless I owned all the property outright,” said Mike Hultine, an owner of Cornerstone Construction, which has its offices near the proposed shelter site.

Scott McCullough, director of the city’s planning department, said it is unusual for the city to allow a project to move through the approval process without the applicant owning all the property or at least having it under contract to purchase.

“But the Farmland property is really unique with all of its components,” McCullough said. “We’ve accepted this request because the ownership circumstances are unique.”

A rezoning request and special-use permit application for the shelter are scheduled to be heard by the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission on Nov. 16. If approved there, city commissioners could be ready to give the project a final hearing by early December.

If the shelter’s current plans do win approval, the shelter could not build on the Farmland property unless it owned it. Instead, if it wished to proceed with the project without the Farmland property it would have to file a revised site plan showing how it would fit all the project’s elements on just the Don’s Steakhouse site.

But at that point, the shelter would not be required to go through the entire rezoning and special-use permit process again. The revised site plan, technically, would not need to be reviewed by city commissioners at all but instead could be approved administratively by the planning staff, McCullough said.

Sabatini said the shelter could be successfully built on just the Don’s Steakhouse property but leaders of the shelter want the additional property to construct a small building that would house a jobs program for the shelter.

Neighbors are concerned that the city may approve the rezoning and special-use permit for the shelter based on building and site plans that stand little chance of actually being built.

“We know there is a lot of pressure to speed up the process to get the shelter moved out of downtown,” said Pat Slimmer, who owns an auto repair business that is adjacent to the proposed site. “But that doesn’t mean we should rush it to the point that all parties don’t have the time to make informed decisions.”

Hultine said he believes city leaders already have made up their mind that the site will be approved.

“I definitely have the impression that this site was picked some time ago and steps have been taken to make this site the site before it ever gets to the public hearing,” Hultine said.

City officials, though, deny those allegations. Both McCullough and City Manager David Corliss said the project will be required to meet all the regulations that any other project must meet.

“Whether it is the right site is still a very open question,” Corliss said. “There are a lot questions to be answered yet.”


fallingwhilereading 8 years, 5 months ago

This what is what I thought Kansas would act like. Pseudo Christians is all I have found in this State. What else should I expect from a bunch of Redneck Hicks. Bigoted and don't even know it.

fallingwhilereading 8 years, 5 months ago

Sorry was in a hurry This is what I thought Kansas residents would act like. I had a paper to get in before 6

Dateable_Shelter_Dude 8 years, 5 months ago

"Painted Cement Panels" They should make sure those stay sealed or they are going to smell pretty bad once the surface becomes exposed to the eliminelements.

honestone 8 years, 5 months ago

Ain't nothing about Christians...even Pseudo Christians. It is simply what the wet shelter will do to the housing, shops and businesses that it is next to. Don't you see them pushing it out of downtown? Why do you think that is?

50YearResident 8 years, 5 months ago

Before this project is ever built, Henderson needs to talk the residents of Lawrence into donating about $1,500,000.00 US. I think this is not going to happen.

bluerain 8 years, 5 months ago

Well if this relocation is approved, the downtown businesses and their patrons will be happy to see the patrons of the Lawrence Community Shelter moved. In any case, I hope they find a good home for the Community Shelter and it's patrons. One that will provide onsite services (i.e., mental health, substance abuse, case management, parenting classes, daycare, etc. Wrap around onsite services will help them get back on their feet. Hmmm, maybe the former steakhouse is too small after all.

fallingwhilereading 8 years, 5 months ago

did_ i Yes I do spend my time on my paper. I see you would fall into the pseudo Christian group. Its easier to tear down than lift up. Isn't that right did_i 50 Henderson needs how much money? Maybe he has already has the funds. I would bet he received most of the 1.5 threw HUD. Thats just a guess. Even though I have heard it from several good sources. The sources being outside of the city, and the shelter.

Matt Schwartz 8 years, 5 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

monkeyhawk 8 years, 5 months ago

falling may be on to something ... I could see the wet shelter advocates soliciting (extorting) funding from other cities with a promise to accept all of their downtrodden.

Something does sound fishy with the plans including adjacent property that has not been secured. There has to be more to that scheme. The city has been foaming at the mouth for the Farmland site for years.

fuel_for_the_fire 8 years, 5 months ago

Wow fallingwhilereading! You are calling people redneck hicks? How very Christian of you.

Threw is the irregular past tense of the verb to throw. The word you are looking for is the preposition through. Also your sentence "Maybe he has already has the funds" is grammatically incorrect.

Is there time to get your paper back from your professor? You might want to have someone with greater knowledge of the English language proofread it for you.

remember_username 8 years, 5 months ago

Can anybody tell us what will happen to the old shelter? Isn't it part of church property? Will it continue as a supplement shelter for an increasing number of homeless? Maybe a rehabilitation facility or adult school? Or just a big warehouse?

Identifying what the plans are for the old shelter may sway public opinion and help raise money for a new shelter - or not.

somedude20 8 years, 5 months ago

Is that person in the cartoon a homeless bum who is drunk and his smoking his crack?

I guess the good news is that the beer store that is closest to this place will be able to see their sales of Hamms/ King Cobra/ Beast increase

beawolf 8 years, 5 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

flux 8 years, 5 months ago

How are they going to get to the shelter. Are we going to give them all free bus passes?

Satirical 8 years, 5 months ago

If you build it, they will come.

If you build it bigger, more will come.

fuel_for_the_fire 8 years, 5 months ago

I second that congratulations babboy; and you have class coming out the [insert favorite orifice here] too!

puddleglum 8 years, 5 months ago

wow! it looks like the Konzentrationslager Auschwitz with some windows added!

I like this! if only there were a fenced in area with razor wire on top. like for the smokers or something like that...reallt cool... auf auf.

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 5 months ago

I have not read if the new shelter is going to be wet or dry. I have sympathy for the homeless. Some get their backs up when they feel they are being ordered around. I really don't think there is an answer that covers all the homeless. There are just so many variable and human nature is no volatile and changeable.

fallingwhilereading 8 years, 5 months ago

puddle I found most of Kansans to be Nazis' heart. Douglas County is supposed to be the progressive county.

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