Archive for Monday, August 9, 2010

Rules needed

Lawrence officials should set some minimal rules for where and how long portable toilets can be parked in residential areas.

August 9, 2010


At their Tuesday meeting, Lawrence city commissioners will take another look at the portable toilets in neighborhoods around Kansas University’s Memorial Stadium.

Lucky for them, they don’t have to keep looking at those toilets all through the football season as many residents of Oread Neighborhood must do.

Just to recap, city officials were asked last year what power the city has to limit where portable toilets can be placed and how long they can remain in residential areas. The request was made in connection with toilets located in residential yards near Memorial Stadium to accommodate people who were parking and tailgating there.

What officials found out was that the city has no laws regulating the aesthetics, duration and location of temporary toilets. Even if neighbors complain, the city’s only recourse would be to pursue the problem through its “environmental code,” which gives the city broad authority “to protect, preserve, upgrade and regulate the environmental quality of industrial, commercial and residential neighborhoods in this city.”

According to city officials, the city has received few complaints about the portable toilets. As some neighbors point out, the toilets are a significant improvement over some of the alternatives, notably people who would otherwise relieve themselves in the bushes. The city could require the toilets to be removed after each game, but that would raise the expense of providing that “service” to tailgaters.

After checking with a number of other cities to see how they regulate portable toilets, city staff members are recommending the commission consider some kind of regulations specifically for portable toilets. That makes sense.

Even if city commissioners decide to allow the toilets to remain on the residential properties through the football season, they still need to create some regulations to make sure that policy isn’t abused. The city needs to at least make sure there is a time limit on the toilet placements, the toilets are properly serviced and there is a process to deal with complaints.

Without such regulations, the city pretty much has to depend on people in the Memorial Stadium neighborhood to use their own judgment concerning the toilet situation. That may work fine in some cases, but the city needs to be prepared for the cases when it doesn’t.


Richard Heckler 7 years, 8 months ago

How many would want portable toilets sitting outside their windows or very close by for months?

This is about those who provide portable toilets so sports fans can park in their yards etc etc etc.

This is not about construction projects.

Glo 7 years, 8 months ago

People who park cars in their yards are essentially establishing a small, although temporary, or maybe seasonal, business. Businesses must provide toilets that meet certain standards,for instance a place to wash hands, handicapped accessibility, etc. Has the Health Departments weighed in on this? I can't believe the city is even thinking of saying it is OK to put a portable toliet in a residential yard. Even those that are serviced on a regular basis are smelly and nasty. This has to be a health concern. Saying people would use the bushes if porta potties are not provided is ridiclious - let them use the bathroom in the your house if you are concerned and don't make the neighborhood pay the price for your business venture!

Orwell 7 years, 8 months ago

Maybe we can market Lawrence as the City of Port-o-Sans. Maybe locate one in each of our attractive and beneficial "traffic calming circles."

Seriously, if the City Commission can't/won't keep plastic outhouses from being a seasonal feature of residential neighborhoods, we need a new Commission. It's that simple. There are plenty of self-interested rationalizations and excuses, but come on – they're toilets in people's yards!

Brian Laird 7 years, 8 months ago

They could make them like the "Cows on Parade" in KC and other cities. Have a different artist paint each one and then auction them off at the end. They could name the installations "When Johnnys Come Marching Home."

kernal 7 years, 8 months ago

Outhouses were still being used within city limits in the sixties!

Steve Miller 7 years, 8 months ago

Here is a wonderfull opportunity for some revenue for the city, charge a permit fee, say $500.00 for the season. Then the people paying the fee can charge a $1.00 "dump" fee or what ever they choose, to the would be Hillbillys that do it in the bushes in the alley on the way and from the game. Every body wins..

puddleglum 7 years, 8 months ago

don't forget to collect the sales tax on these front yard businesses

Steve Miller 7 years, 8 months ago

Maybe they could install them permanently, here comes the honey wagon !!

sherlock 7 years, 8 months ago

Then we should change Mt Oread to "Potty Hill"!!!! or get more deluxe and call it Mt Potty!

Steve Miller 7 years, 8 months ago

Maybe your neighborhood could build a lagoon with a diving board on it ...

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