Archive for Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Douglas County judge expedites Lawrence homeless shelter lawsuit

December 14, 2010


Leaders of the Lawrence Community Shelter won a partial victory in their efforts to purchase an eastern Lawrence building to house an expanded homeless shelter.

Douglas County District Court Judge Sally Pokorny ruled Tuesday that a lawsuit regarding the shelter’s planned moved to a site near the Douglas County Jail by the end of March would proceed at an expedited pace.

But Tuesday’s hearing also made it clear that owners of the industrial park where the shelter hopes to relocate will mount a vigorous challenge to the shelter’s efforts to move to a vacant warehouse building at 3701 Franklin Park Circle.

For now, though, shelter leaders were happy with the results. Pokorny agreed to hear arguments on the case on Feb. 1, which puts the case on schedule to be decided before the shelter will finalize the purchase of the vacant warehouse building in late March. An attorney for the shelter said if the lawsuit were still pending, the shelter would not be able to proceed with the building’s purchase.

“The fact of the matter is that we’re at some risk here,” said Jerry Wells, a Lawrence attorney representing the shelter.

At issue is whether a set of 1996 covenants prevents a new 125-bed shelter from locating in the industrial park. Shelter leaders filed the current lawsuit against one of the owners of the industrial park in an effort to get a ruling on whether the covenants allow a shelter.

The attorney representing PDO Investors — a Lawrence company led by Steve Glass that is an owner of the park — argued the case needed to proceed at the normal pace and also provided a glimpse at the argument to come.

Lawrence attorney Todd Thompson said the park’s owners are confident the covenants limit the uses in the park to business, industrial and governmental uses. Thompson argued that the shelter is an impermissible residential use.

“They’re calling this a business,” Thompson said of shelter leaders, “but I don’t really expect the court is going to fall for this. This is a residential use for more than 100 people.”

Shelter leaders, though, have argued that a shelter is clearly permitted on the property because city commissioners changed the city’s zoning code to allow homeless shelters to be located in industrial districts. The shelter’s attorney said Tuesday that the covenants govern only aesthetic issues related to the site, which the shelter is prepared to meet.

Shelter leaders hope to have the building purchased by March so renovation work can be completed by next winter, which would allow the shelter to move out of its undersized building at 10th and Kentucky streets.


Danimal 7 years, 2 months ago

Fantastic, now we can start spreading the homeless all over town.

skinny 7 years, 2 months ago

How about we just forget the whole idea. Send them to Kansas City or Topeka!

Bladerunner 7 years, 2 months ago

I just realized how much we need a facebook style "like" button!

irvan moore 7 years, 2 months ago

is Jerry being paid from tax or grant money?

greenworld 7 years, 2 months ago

That site will never work. How will the homeless hang around downtown and beg people for money if they are all the way out there????

skinny 7 years, 2 months ago

That's the whole idea! Get them out of the downtown area so people will shop locally again instead of driving to KC.

Gedanken 7 years, 2 months ago

I have yet to meet somebody that doesn't shop downtown because of the fear of meeting a homeless person face to face.

I have met plenty of people that don't shop downtown because there is nothing that they want to buy downtown.

doc1 7 years, 2 months ago

Don't forget that they ride the T for free.

Bladerunner 7 years, 2 months ago

What good would a vote do? Didn't we vote for the Trafficway? Where did that get you?

skinny 7 years, 2 months ago

With all the liberals in the town if they put it up for a vote it’d pass, just like the empty T and the Library. So “NO” we are not voting on this issue.

IronChefKS 7 years, 2 months ago

Can't wait for Prairie Park home values to drop, especially in the face of all the tax increases. Way to go, Lawrence.

geekin_topekan 7 years, 2 months ago

This was Ronald Reagan's vision way back in the 80's. C'mon Repubs, your guru commands!

BigPrune 7 years, 2 months ago

Why don't they just purchase an older hotel? Surely there are some struggling older hotels in this town.

Loretta James 7 years, 2 months ago

Purchzse one of the schools they shut down maybe they can teach some of them something hile their at it.

geekin_topekan 7 years, 2 months ago

Since Compton's Topeka project has been sued for $22M, with the developer stating that the townhomes could be turned into "affordable housing" thus "filling a need" (welfare housing), maybe the developer can pay back the people of Lawrence by placing a few worthy famlies up.

Jes a suggestion, I have no idea how realestate and high-end welfare works.

bearded_gnome 7 years, 2 months ago

okay so the proshelter people are claiming that the city's zoning overrules the covenants?

I don't think so.

good lead sentence Chad, you managed to get "douglas county" into one sentence twice!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 2 months ago

Yea, let's get this shelter thing killed off, so we can get on to developing a final solution.

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 2 months ago

Bozo for the Godwin award. Subtle. I like your work.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 2 months ago

How so? I'm merely saying what those who would wish the homeless "away" somewhere are too chickenshiite to say.

What's your solution? (and if you say that they all need to get jobs, I'll hire one right after you do.)

bd 7 years, 2 months ago

Lets see??? 200 homeless, give them all a one way bus ticket to Houston Texas and $1k, that might be the cheaper solution!

geekin_topekan 7 years, 2 months ago

Cheaper for who? Are you offering your wallet or are you relying on other people's money to set your plan into motion?

The other problem with this brilliance; this is America (pronounced Ah-Mer-Kuh, by some) and to take citizens and herd hem like cattle is no longer savvy. It used to be but not no mo.

bd 7 years, 2 months ago

their annual budget is well over $200k , you do the math!

geekin_topekan 7 years, 2 months ago

SO you expect the tax payer to finance your plan. Put up or shut up.

birdie138 7 years, 2 months ago

Ahh...Duh-lower. A guy who lit up any employee with an angry tirade (once to the point of tears) for the slightest perceived infraction shouldn't be surprised no one liked him. And the only one I ever heard make his ethnic background an issue was him - usually whenever he made a questionable comment about a female co-worker ("Well, in my culture..."). Just another reason I don't miss working in the IT boys club.

hail2oldku 7 years, 2 months ago

Wrong storie birdie. At least I hope you meant this for a different story.

kufan1146 7 years, 2 months ago

Maybe there is an obvious answer to this that I'm missing, but isn't the industrial park privately held?

If so, can't they just refuse to sell or lease any buildings within it? Seems so simple..

irvan moore 7 years, 2 months ago

the shelter needs to be in the downtown area but the commission will rubberstamp any propasal to get the homless problem out of sight. as long as we keep electing commissions with strong ties to downtown Lawrence there will be no real solutions.

doc1 7 years, 2 months ago

Burn it down. That would settle it really quick.

Clickker 7 years, 2 months ago

Why is there a picture of Al Pacino accompanying this story?

justsomewench 7 years, 2 months ago

I'm glad I wasn't the only one seeing the resemblance. Just after, I wondered which strategy he'll use, the offer they can't refuse or introducing them to his little friend.

bd 7 years, 2 months ago

Thats not Al Pacino, it is Alfred E. Newman

BleedingheartofLawrence 7 years, 2 months ago

You posters ("Danimal, skinny, blue73harley, Number_1_Grandma, greenworld, cheeseburger, Healthcaremoocher, The Whirl," ad nauseum...) make me ashamed to live in Lawrence.

I hope you all rally around when one of you happens to lose a job.....or run out of money and get booted from your house...... or loses a spouse and end up in a downward spiral.......

And I hope I don't ever know any of you, who you really are behind your nasty comments. Because if I knew who you were, I might wanna spit on you.

Jeff Cuttell 7 years, 2 months ago

As a resident in Prairie Park, I really feel this has just been rammed down our throats. Why are the only locations being presented near my home? It isn't like it is a bad neighborhood, yet. My property values have already dropped in many areas (including mine). Taxes go up and now this.

Why not house them in the old Tangier Mall? Why didn't they choose East Heights? What about that empty high rise on Bob Billings near Monteray Way? Oh... that's probably too close to the city councils' homes. huh?

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 2 months ago

You can't just pick a property and decide to do with it as you wish. Those properties are owned by people who clearly don't want their property to be used for that purpose. If the Tangier people had a dime for every idea people have for their property, I suspect the property would be doing much better. What makes this story puzzling is the people who own the building appear to not want to sell it to the shelter. I'm curious how they are being forced to do so.

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 2 months ago

This story has one huge hole - is the industrial park seeking to lease to the shelter or not? Some very, very basic searching shows that the building is owned by FRANKLIN BUSINESS CENTER LLC which is registered in Kansas to Timothy J. Keller. The corporation lists the following address as a current mailing address: 120 E. 9TH STREET, LAWRENCE, KS 66044. From what I can tell, that is this guy:

Seems a simple phone call would solve the massive gap in this story. If the company doesn't want to lease the property, why are they potentially being forced to do so?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 2 months ago

Isn't the shelter proposing to buy the property, not lease it?

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 2 months ago

Oh and before the LJW flips out: all of that is public information available to anyone with a google machine.

Bladerunner 7 years, 2 months ago

Why wouldnt they want to rent an empty warehouse they are losing money on. Obviously they will be signing a mulit-decade contract with a govt. entity. Guaranteed cash! Its all about the $.

bearded_gnome 7 years, 2 months ago


How so? I'm merely saying what those who would wish the homeless "away" somewhere are too chickenshiite to say.

What's your solution? (and if you say that they all need to get jobs, I'll hire one right after you do.)

December 15, 2010 at 8:05 p.m."

---solution: stop reinforcing a behavior, stop supporting and protecting a behavior, guess what: you get less of that behavior!

in this case stop maintaining people in their self destruction!
Boozo, there's your solution. you'll have far far fewer of the lifestyle bums.

and wow! you'll have much more help for people who are really homeless.

greenworld 7 years, 2 months ago

Why dont these people go get a freakin job and apartment on redbud lane???

Robert Marble 7 years, 2 months ago

This idea isn't progressive enough, lawrence should do more to take care of these poor homeless people. they need food & shelter but that isn't enough. You need to build them a facility where they can store their belongings so they'll be able to go apply for jobs, etc without fear of losing their few belongings. It wouldn't cost that much if the expense were evenly distributed to all citizens; just a few percentage points added to the meager taxes you already pay. and think of all the good it will do! come on cititzens of lawrence, take a stand and give 'til it hurts. These people are part of your city and therefore your responsibility. maybe subsidized vouchers so that they can stay in local area hotels / motels. that would not only help the homeless but also help struggling local businesses. it's inhumane how they are forced to live when so many of you have nice comfortable homes with plenty of food and money for leisure. you should be ashamed of yourselves for turning a blind eye to their plight. nearly all of you could easily afford a few extra dollars a month to help share the burden. If each of you just contributed say 5% of your monthly income these people could have so much more comfort in their lives.

Robert Marble 7 years, 2 months ago

here in portland, (and in seattle, a couple hours away) we are far more understanding and tolerant. we have many great programs for seeing to the needs of our homeless populations. youu'd be amazed at what a community can do when enough people overlook their own greed and prejudice, and work together to promote peace, harmony, and respect for fellow people. I'll put together a full report of the many great programs and forward them to the citiy of lawrence for review and adoption. you should all chip in a small portion of your income to help make lawrence a safe and welcoming environment for those less fortunate.

greenworld 7 years, 2 months ago

RobertMarble- I think what your really trying to say is these people need more handouts so they can continue to be lazy and not work. The ones that are sick or mentally ill I can understand that up to a certain point, but the others that feel sorry for themself and just dont care about working and maintaining themself, those people need to get a life and get up off their azz. With half of them being homeless is a choice not a way of life. They choose to live the way they do and be homeless. The others that are sick or cant maintain themself due to mental issues need help and we need services they can turn to for help.

Robert Marble 7 years, 2 months ago

hahahaha...yeah if you believed that line of crap I threw out there you should know better...I was seeing if any of the local liberal extremist would've said 'wow that looks like a good idea'... as far as I'm concerned, if they don't want to work & support themselves they shouldn't get anything other than run out've town

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