Portable toilets on the properties surrounding Memorial Stadium are a necessary evil, property owners told the Lawrence City Commission on Tuesday night.
Without them, Kansas University’s football fans tailgating before games would resort to less attractive alternatives when having to use the bathroom.
“I am just afraid that if we didn’t have other resources than the public restrooms at the stadium for people to use, we would have alleys being used all the time, bushes, trees — anyplace people would think is private to urinate,” property owner Rose Moore said.
The commissioners agreed, saying portable toilets shouldn’t be banned altogether, but regulations need to be in place.
“In my opinion, the more restrictions the better,” Commissioner Mike Dever said. “This is something that needs to be policed because it is a hygiene issue, it is an environmental issue and it is an aesthetic issue.”
The commission directed staff to draft an ordinance that would establish how long portable toilets could be on residential properties and how often they needed to be serviced. No specific time limit was established.
Last fall, residents in the Oread Neighborhood complained when they started noticing portable toilets popping up around the stadium. Property owners who rent out their yards for parking during games were also providing a place for tailgaters to go to the bathroom. Among the residents upset that the portable toilets were in yards all football season was Candice Davis.
“It seems like a neighborhood dumping ground for less than reasonable expectations,” Davis told the commissioners Tuesday night. “I’m fairly certain you wouldn’t approve of your neighborhood having portable toilets.”
Mark Dale-Thompson with Anderson Rentals, the company that provides many of the portable toilets in the neighborhood, assured the commission that the residential properties around the stadium have the top of the line portable toilets and they are serviced shortly after every game.
Requiring the portable toilets to be picked up after every game would increase the cost by about 50 percent, Dale-Thompson said.
The commission discussed allowing the portable toilets to stay for as long as seven days if there are football games on back to back weekends. Otherwise, they shouldn’t be allowed to stay for more than a few days, they said.
“I feel like you can make the case to get rid of them, but you can also make the case they need to be there and are providing a service that is valuable,” Commissioner Lance Johnson said.