Archive for Friday, February 26, 2010

As City Hall considers a plan for the future of the Oread Neighborhood, the neighborhood association finds itself at a crossroads

Election shakes up neighborhood association board


Kyle Thompson is past president of the Oread Neighborhood Association and has seen the decline of owner occupants in the area over the 20 years he has lived there. The house next door to his is a multi-occupant rental property.

Kyle Thompson is past president of the Oread Neighborhood Association and has seen the decline of owner occupants in the area over the 20 years he has lived there. The house next door to his is a multi-occupant rental property.

February 26, 2010

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They really were lampshades.

Ellie LeCompte remembers walking through a new fallen snow — in the middle of the night, of course — to inquire about all the noise coming from her neighbors.

When she arrived, she found a group of young men dancing and singing with lampshades on their heads.

Yes, they were drunk.

And, yes, this did happen in the Oread Neighborhood — the quintessential Animal House image for Lawrence’s quintessential student neighborhood.

That was in the mid-1980s, and after about two years of living in Oread, LeCompte decided to move on.

“I was an owner-occupant there, and it was a friggin zoo,” said LeCompte, who still has her office and rental property in Oread. “I would not condemn someone to live in that neighborhood.”

Twenty-five years later, the music still blares. Kyle Thompson and his wife hear the loud music every weekend.

“It is kind of hard to explain to people,” said Thompson of how he has adjusted. “My wife and I don’t go to bed early at night, so that helps. Most people though, would be driven crazy with what we put up with.”

But from his historic home in the 1000 block of Tennessee, Thompson has noticed a change.

“When we moved in 20 years ago, there were 10 owner-occupied houses on our block,” said Thompson, a board member of the Oread Neighborhood Association. “Now, there are only four.”

Many of his neighbors have gone the way of LeCompte. Soon, city commissioners will have to figure out whether that’s a bad thing.

A plan on paper

It is an important time for the Oread Neighborhood. City Hall planners are sketching out a new vision for what the neighborhood will be like for the next 20 to 30 years, and they are doing so at a time when pressure is increasing to convert many older Oread homes into boarding houses that can be rented out to large amounts of people.

Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commissioners approved a new document called the Oread Neighborhood Plan. City commissioners are expected to debate the plan next month.

Part of the plan works to get at a very fundamental question: Who will be living in this neighborhood?

The plan recognizes that the area already has become a haven for students. The plan even acknowledges that the area has been derisively labeled “The Student Ghetto,” because of its rates of crime and the neglect of some structures.

There’s broad agreement that the new plan needs to address a host of crime, behavior, parking and maintenance issues associated with the neighborhood. But there are questions about how to get there.

One strategy is for the city to continue to do what it has done: work to make the neighborhood attractive to everyone. Yes, the neighborhood will be dominated by rentals, the plan states, but the city should “encourage owner occupancy throughout the neighborhood.”

That’s the strategy the Oread Neighborhood Association — a group whose paid membership numbers about 25 as owner occupancy has declined — is supporting. At least it was. On Thursday, the neighborhood association underwent an upheaval as the majority of its longtime board members — mainly owner-occupants — were voted out of office. They were replaced largely by a mix of students and landlords.

“This still could be an idyllic neighborhood, given the ideas of urbanism and a walking city,” said Candice Davis, a 12-year owner-occupant of Oread who was voted off the board. “We know there will always be lots of students. But this doesn’t have to be just for students.”

Fighting the market

In most neighborhoods, the idea of encouraging owner-occupancy would never cause an eye to be batted. But in Oread, the goal is leading some to question whether it is the right approach.

“This is a college town, and you have a campus right next to this neighborhood,” said City Commissioner Lance Johnson. “I know we’re not starting from scratch, but we have a campus sitting right there. I’m saying intuitively that is where the student housing in this community ought to go.”

Johnson said he doesn’t want to do anything to discourage people from buying a house and moving into Oread. But that is different than saying the city ought to encourage it. For example, the proposed neighborhood plan calls for the city to investigate tax incentives to support owner occupancy throughout the neighborhood.

“I would be very concerned about that,” said Johnson, who was interviewed prior to Thursday night’s shake-up.

The main reason, Johnson said, is because it goes against the forces of the free market. Estimates vary but planners believe only about one in 10 homes in the Oread are owner occupied.

“What I hear people saying is that the property is too expensive to be owner occupied,” said Johnson. “The only way to reverse that direction is to impose restrictions and really do something that almost devalues the property.”

Johnson said such a strategy likely would lead to large-scale blight in the neighborhood because owners would have less incentive to improve their properties if they know there are city-imposed factors working to keep property values low.

Instead, Johnson said he wants to encourage more investment in the neighborhood. He thinks the people most likely to make that investment will be landlords. He said he would like City Hall to begin focusing on ways to deal with some of the behavioral issues that can come with rental properties. Those could include greater police presence in the neighborhood, changes in regulations that would mandate inspections of rentals or new requirements that rental properties have an on-call manager to deal with problems as they arise.

“I don’t know what the answer is yet,” Johnson said. “That’s what we’ve got to explore. But at some point, we have to get past the owner-occupied issue. I just don’t think you are ever going to be able to change that about this neighborhood.”

Hanging on

Tom Hoffman has lived in the Oread Neighborhood since the early 1990s, and he agrees that the increasing value of homes has made it difficult for many of them to be used as anything other than rentals.

But he’s not entirely convinced that it is just the free market at work. There also may be an unfair market at work.

“If you let landlords cheat and have more than four people live in a house, that will increase the value of a home so much that a family will never be able to afford to buy it,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman is convinced that is what has happened in Oread, and now believes the situation may become worse if city commissioners approve proposed regulations that would lessen parking standards for homes that want to become boarding houses.

Hoffman, who owns and leases six houses around his Oread home, said he’s one landlord who is in favor of creating a rental registration program for Oread. That program would check the property for basic codes issues, and determine whether more than four unrelated people are living in a house.

City code does not allow more than four unrelated people to live in a multi-family zoned house, unless the house is specially designated as a boarding house.

Hoffman said he thinks there are good reasons for the city to attempt to keep some homes as owner-occupied.

“If you have an area that is 100 percent students, it does get bananas because then you don’t have anybody to complain,” Hoffman said. “Somebody has to be able to say ‘guys, you can’t have a bonfire in the middle of the street.’’

Thompson, the 20-year resident of the neighborhood, thinks there’s also good reasons why single families will want to live in the neighborhood.

The neighborhood still has some great architecture that pays heed to Lawrence’s prosperous times following the Civil War. And it still is, Thompson said, one of the few neighborhoods within walking distance of both of Lawrence’s prime destinations — KU and downtown.

“At this point, I don’t see anything that is going to cause us to move from here,” Thompson said. “I always kid my wife that she is probably going to bury me in the backyard.”

Music, of course, will be provided.

Comments

DeMontfort 5 years, 5 months ago

“I would be very concerned about that,” said Johnson, who was interviewed prior to Thursday night’s shake-up.

Oh, gee. Lance talked to the LJW before the meeting last night. Guess he knew something was up. (Duh. Just doing his job for those that brung him to the CC dance.)

So Chad...why don't you get a copy of the video from last night and let's all see just how civil this coup really was.

Money, power and greed. That's really all this is about.

Zachary Stoltenberg 5 years, 5 months ago

I for one am glad to see that the current board members have finally been flushed. I have been to the commission meetings and I have seen most of the individuals stated in the article in action. "Attention Lawrence taxpayers, these are the people wasting your tax dollars!" The "association" has repeatedly wasted time and city resources in their ongoing vendetta against rental owners and students. (at least when they aren't pettioning for their own houses to be added to another historic register listing) This neighborhood is and always will be student housing. "Twenty-five years later, the music still blares." What these individuals represent is that this is a neighborhood of single family occupants being taken over by students. In fact, the opposite is true, and despite the idealistic view that more single family residences could be created, it simple isn't feasible.

Reason #1 - These houses are old, really old. Most of them need major repairs, foundation work, renovation, as well as an immense amount of upkeep and regular maintenance. A landlord or investment owner has the capabilities to restore these homes (and they are required to by the historic resource council) and still profit from their investment. For a private owner it's a money pit. A landlord is also the only person who is going to jump through the hoops to get a renovation approved and put up with all the neighbors complaining and having their say in what they think your house should look like. The association itself is driving prospective owners away from this neighborhood.

Reason #2 - I've heard the statement "We want young professionals, families with young children," or some variation thereof at every one of these meetings. I fit the mold perfectly. I'm not attracted to this neighborhood for the same reasons every other person like me isn't attracted to this neighborhood. There are no schools, (elementary or secondary) that kids can walk to without crossing major roads and busy intersections. There are no houses in my price range that don't need a complete gut job and remodel. (also out of my price range) And even if I could afford it, I'm not going through the hassle, time, and expense, that is part of dealing with HRC and the ONA. No thanks, I'll move to west Lawrence into a brand new house with great schools nearby and no busybody neighborhood association telling what I can and can't do.

Zachary Stoltenberg 5 years, 5 months ago

Reason #3 - it's the Students stupid! This is a student neighborhood. Always has been, always will be. Complaining about students in the ONA is like becoming a cattle rancher and complaining about manure. Students are as much a part of the neighborhood as anyone else. Yes there are problems with parking, noise, parties, and crime. Those aren't all student problems and they aren't all going to be solved by removing students from this neighborhood. The past ONA has attempted to convince the city commissioners and the HRC to change our building code, zoning, and ordinances to make it more difficult for investors to move into this neighborhood. They have attempted to use the building code to enforce existing noise ordinances, parking ordinances, and party complaints. See the problem here? That's right, the old ONA made it HARDER for people to invest their money into this neighborhood!

Hopefully this new change and these new board members more accurately represent the WHOLE Oread Neighborhood Association and replace what was a puppet club of discontented minorities using the ONA to advance their personal agendas. Can't wait to see what happens...

walkthehawk 5 years, 5 months ago

I realize this is nitpicky, but I for one am willing to bet that none of Thompson's neighbors "have went" anywhere. Some of them may "have gone," however...as has proper grammar in American newspapers.

brandys 5 years, 5 months ago

While I am not surprised by the slant of the article, obviously there were concerned Oread owners/residents who believe it was time for a change on the Board. Maybe the Journal World should contact the new board? Not just the disgruntled former members.

jfcm77 5 years, 5 months ago

If you don't want to live next door to a bunch of college kids, don't move next door to a bunch of college kids.

DeMontfort 5 years, 5 months ago

brandys = Brandy Sutton, disgruntled downtown attorney? Why don't you call Chad yourself?

christy kennedy 5 years, 5 months ago

"While I am not surprised by the slant of the article, obviously there were concerned Oread owners/residents who believe it was time for a change on the Board."

There were all of about two concerned owner/residents not connected to the group of 50 or so landlords, developers, and their employees and tenants, nearly all of whom were attending their first ever ONA meeting.

The new VP (owner of The Wheel) got up and actually said straight out that they were there because of "too many obstacles in the way of their projects." Obstacles being individuals who think that perhaps filling a back yard with an addition full of 10 bedrooms on a house with maybe two street parking spaces is not always a great idea. Simply calling a large structure a "boarding house" to get a parking variance shouldn't even be considered since by definition a boarding house includes meals provided. And why a variance anyway? Dozens of extra cars per block are still not going to fit and end up in yards. Some of these large structures are simply party houses owned by nearby frats whose bylaws prohibit drinking on the main premises.

I understand the high cost of renovating and maintaining an older home. We're doing it ourselves right smack in the middle of a student neighborhood. There must be a balance of making housing affordable and available to students and owner/occupants and preserving older structures without excessively crowding out green spaces and parking. The developers and landlords are interested in income first. ONA is a NEIGHBORHOOD association. Not a tool for those just concerned with how much rent or resale value they can get out of one address after another..

Last night's election was an orchestrated hostile takeover by a large group. Many of the brand spankin' new ONA members (pay $1 get one vote) marched out immediately after the election. The rest of the meeting's regular topics were a mystery to the new board, who took one look at the long agenda and then tabled everything. Big surprise. BTW, the incredible and on top of everything ONA coordinator tendered her resignation this morning.

Good luck new board. You bought it now please don't completely break it.

Jennifer Dropkin 5 years, 5 months ago

This board change is bad news. The landlords are interested in profit, not in creating or maintaining a neighborhood. And the assumption that poor student behavior should be tolerated creates the conditions for more of the same. Students should be learning how to live as part of a functioning society and that there are limits to what behavior is acceptable publicly. A neighborhood is not a playground or a dormitory, even if it is next door to a university.

Zachary Stoltenberg 5 years, 5 months ago

From http://www.oreadneighborhood.org/

Board members as of January 1, 2009: Candy Davis, James Dunn, Marci Francisco, Beth Reiber, Jerry Stubbs, Kyle Thompson, and Carol von Tersch, Ann Blackhurst, Rene Diaz, Charity Grace, Christy Kennedy and Ellie Lecompte

Just thought I'd put some perspective on some of these comments...

igby 5 years, 5 months ago

Ding Dong...the witch is dead! dgdgdgdgdgdgdgdgdgdgdgdgdgdgdgdg,,,,.......

I'm a single family owner in the district!

Let freedom ring!

For your enjoyment!

Check out this girl's dynamic voice! Wowoa! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMBonK...

christy kennedy 5 years, 5 months ago

zstoltenberg (anonymous) says... Board members as of January 1, 2009: Candy Davis, James Dunn, Marci Francisco, Beth Reiber, Jerry Stubbs, Kyle Thompson, and Carol von Tersch, Ann Blackhurst, Rene Diaz, Charity Grace, Christy Kennedy and Ellie Lecompte Just thought I'd put some perspective on some of these comments...

Yes, I not only use my real name in this forum but I've served on the ONA board and not even for my own special interests or for financial gain but to participate in a variety of neighborhood related issues. But if greed is the new activism, maybe I should stop wasting time and tack eight bedrooms onto my house and see how much rent we could pull in.

flyin_squirrel 5 years, 5 months ago

Owner of the Wheel is VP? That is great! Now the ONA can have meetings there, and will not have to pay for renting a space. I can see a spike in attendance already... And this fits directly into the ONA's vision of a walking neighborhood.

Zachary Stoltenberg 5 years, 5 months ago

ckennedy (christy kennedy) says...

"Yes, I not only use my real name in this forum but I've served on the ONA board and not even for my own special interests or for financial gain but to participate in a variety of neighborhood related issues. But if greed is the new activism, maybe I should stop wasting time and tack eight bedrooms onto my house and see how much rent we could pull in."

I use my real name too. Give me a call or shoot me an e-mail when you're ready to start drawing up plans...

christy kennedy 5 years, 5 months ago

consumer!

I repeat, though I don't know why I bother, that the ONA board has always been involved in a number of issues: safety, trash collection, minimizing blight, on behalf of owner/residents, renters, and yes, landlords. We've always had landlords on the board. The funny thing is that while we're working away on behalf of entire neighborhoods and yet have very little say in what goes on around us, people like you are under some sort of delusion that we've had some kind of power over you. Being actually involved or having a few shreds of information would probably help you understand it a lot better.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

The term "free market" is used quite loosely by politicians. Yes the same politicians who are ready to throw OUR tax dollars to just about anyone who will claim they will provide jobs.

How is that the "free market"? It's more like a free lunch. That which gives new large retail a leg up over existing business = unfair to existing business owners. http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/18/free_lunch_how_the_wealthiest_americans

Lawrence,Kansas taxpayers cannot afford to provide any business with a "free lunch".

Of course some local politicians have friends who want to turn every available home into a boarding house no matter what neighborhood. Oread neignborhood is being used as a tool to open up all neighborhoods. This is a city wide concern. Any neighborhood can become a victim.

So local developers decided to take over Oread Neighborhood Association. Running the Chamber of Commerce and City Hall is not quite enough. it appears a landlord or two got their tenants elected...hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

May as well bring the students to the city commission. Without them the city would not be what it is and developers would not give a damn.

“This is a college town, and you have a campus right next to this neighborhood,” said City Commissioner Lance Johnson. “I know we’re not starting from scratch, but we have a campus sitting right there. I’m saying intuitively that is where the student housing in this community ought to go.” Homeowners/ college professors etc etc had been living next to this university for many many many many decades since day one. Nothing unusual about that.

igby 5 years, 5 months ago

It may take me 30 years to restore my house to perfection. However after twenty years of gripping from the ONA, I'm really glad there is some change.

Let freedom ring!

Oldies but goddies!

christy kennedy 5 years, 5 months ago

" . . . unfriendly, connected, and pretty wealthy people dictating to those of us who have lived here for many, many years telling us when to speak and when not to speak."

Seriously? Are you out of your mind? Not too long ago our kids were eligible for free school lunches. And you think landlords and developers are not "connected" and "pretty wealthy"? So far I've read a lot of complaints of ONA "controlling" residents. Telling you when to speak? Please. Give me some actual examples because I have no idea what you're talking about.

christy kennedy 5 years, 5 months ago

And really, if that wasn't a hostile takeover, I don't know what is. Sure there were no actual pitchforks or torches, but if you want to join a group you show up and become involved. This group got together to vote OUT anybody they could and vote in as many people as they could, regardless of interest, experience, or any other normal reason.

And FYI the cop was there at the request of a board member for an entirely different issue you know nothing about.

christy kennedy 5 years, 5 months ago

Consumer!, I'm still waiting for any actual examples of how former ONA members controlled or ruined anyone's life. We spent three years asking the city to let us do all the work of moving and restoring a sidewalk and the HRC didnn't let us use a roof style we wanted so I realize there are roadblocks to projects. But what has the ONA done to you?

benanhalt 5 years, 5 months ago

Bury the lede much?

«Lampshades blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah... oh, by the way there was a coup in the ONA.»

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

Clearly a hostile takeover by the local slumlords (represented on this thread by zstoltenberg and AboutTime). They trash their own properties just to squeeze out however much profits they can, and now they want to make sure they can do the same to every property in Oread Neighborhood once they've made it uninhabitable for anyone but their transient tenants.

Have they bribed the city commission to do their bidding as well? Lance Johnson sure appears to be on board.

Zachary Stoltenberg 5 years, 5 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (anonymous) says...

"Clearly a hostile takeover by the local slumlords (represented on this thread by zstoltenberg and AboutTime). They trash their own properties just to squeeze out however much profits they can, and now they want to make sure they can do the same to every property in Oread Neighborhood once they've made it uninhabitable for anyone but their transient tenants."

Sorry bozo, your stupidity is showing again. I only own the home I live in and it's the nicest looking house on the block. You'd know that if you had a little "Christmas Spirit" ;)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

That doesn't mean you aren't representing the interests of the slumlords, z--.

dwendel 5 years, 5 months ago

Unfortunately I agree the board takeover is bad news. The landlords, for the most part, do not care at all about the neighborhood or even their own properties -- only making as much money as possible with as little effort as possible.

I've lived in Oread for 15 years and have raised two children there. It is a wonderful location to raise a family -- close to schools, downtown, campus, etc. We walk to the pool, the library, restaurants, shops and campus on a regular basis. There are several other small children living in the family owned homes on our street. The neighborhood is full of beautiful homes, unfortunately many of which are seriously neglected by landlords. We enjoy the mix of students and families. We like that it's not just another generic Johnson County/West Lawrence cookie cutter neighborhood full of cookie cutter houses, and cookie cutter people. We don't like the noise, fires, public urination, unkept properties, vandalism, crime, garbage and cars parked in yards and filling the narrow streets. Of course the city has statutes against most of these behaviors, but in my experience they make absolutely no effort to enforce when these behaviors occur in the Oread. We've seen several single family homes turn into apartments and boarding houses owned by out of state landlords. Inevitably those homes have fallen into serious disrepair in short order.

We have never asked or "whined" for special treatment from the city. We keep our house and yard clean and maintained, sidewalks clear, are good neighbors, and expect other to do the same. Unfortunately landlords do not hold themselves to these basic standards of civic responsibility.

In my opinion, the best thing that could happen to Oread is that there would be no on-street parking - like in Hillcrest. There is no reason the city should provide and maintain free parking for apartment buildings, dormitories and boarding houses in Oread. The city doesn't pay for and maintain free parking for apartments elsewhere in town. If the city were not subsidizing these apartments with free, tax-payer financed parking, they would not be nearly as lucrative as rental properties. I would expect that all of the anti-tax, government waste people would be all over the city for providing and maintaining free parking for private Oread apartments, but I have not heard that yet.

Boston_Corbett 5 years, 5 months ago

Maybe you can get ONA to finance your next frivolous lawsuit paulette, like CNA did for you last time.

Zachary Stoltenberg 5 years, 5 months ago

dwendel (anonymous) says...

"In my opinion, the best thing that could happen to Oread is that there would be no on-street parking - like in Hillcrest. There is no reason the city should provide and maintain free parking for apartment buildings, dormitories and boarding houses in Oread. The city doesn't pay for and maintain free parking for apartments elsewhere in town."

Sorry dwendel, your wrong. Boarding houses are required to have "on site" parking. They can't count the spaces on the street. Please re-direct your rant accordingly. Thanks!

Zachary Stoltenberg 5 years, 5 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (anonymous) says...

That doesn't mean you aren't representing the interests of the slumlords, z--.

There is a difference between a "slumlord" and a "property owner" and an "investment property owner." I hate slumlords, I deal with one next door. I am a property owner, I take pride in my house and my neighborhood. I have represented "investment property owners" in their ridiculous battle against the ousted individuals. I can't in good conscience call anyone who has invested six figures into restoring a house slated for demolition in Oread a slumlord and I don't think you can either. You really should tuck that stupid in before you trip on it.

benanhalt 5 years, 5 months ago

The ONA always seemed to me like it was made up of a bunch of people who just wanted to play dream house with other people's property. In their stupid little newspaper that would come around and just add to the garbage I have to clear from my porch, they never talked about addressing any of the concerns of the real residents of the neighborhood. E.g. I never saw stories about how students or renters could challenge landlords regarding issues they might have. I never saw stories about what resources were available for property owners who wanted to make improvements and how to access those resources. The only thing I remember seeing was chiding about people who didn't live up to the standards set by a small minority of busy bodies whose top priorities seemed to be worrying about who had sofas on their front porch and whose sewer clean-outs were a few inches too tall.

I think most of the residents of this neighborhood would be happy to see improvements. But you know you catch more flies with honey, and maybe an association that reaches out to the people that live here and addresses their concerns rather than lording over by a few minority interests with overly delicate sensibilities would receive more support from the community and end up getting better results. We hear people complaining about party houses and noise, etc. but those problems exist with the ONA that was. It's not like they were effective in preventing those problems. Instead all they did was create a bunch of ill will by trying to employ punitive measures.

I guess what I'm saying is that despite the bad name that community organizing seems to have gotten of late, there is apparently an art to it. And it seems like the ONA sucked at it.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 5 months ago

The plot was bad and the dialogue not much better, but the soundtrack was great thanks to Igby.

scaramouchepart2 5 years, 5 months ago

The problem is once the new board gets their congregate living definition they will disappear back to Johnson County and where ever else they came from.

scaramouchepart2 5 years, 5 months ago

The problem is once the new board gets their congregate living definition they will disappear back to Johnson County and where ever else they came from.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

It's one thing to be disappointed with or even pissed off at the departed board members-- it's quite another thing to assume that the incoming board has anything like "neighborhood" issues in mind as they take control of the now ironically named "neighborhood" association.

Zachary Stoltenberg 5 years, 5 months ago

The title "boarding house" is just a classification in the building code. It's an occupancy type. Different uses have different occupancies per square foot and require different things under the code. It doesn't have anything to do with whether or not they serve meals or some of the idiotic statements I have heard (and read here). Walmart is considered "mercantile" but you and I would call it retail. You can call it congregate living or whatever you want, it's another stupid waste of time and taxpayer dollars pushed by the ousted board.

Amy Albright 5 years, 5 months ago

I never post on this thing because the level of commentary is so often beyond ridiculous, but the nasty personal attacks on this particular thread made it impossible for me to stay silent. I've known the Kennedys for more than twenty years, and I've never known anyone who could rival their selfless community involvement and commitment to helping others. The comments suggesting that they have any agenda other than keeping students safe and preserving the diversity and history of the Oread neighborhood only shows the ignorance and lack of involvement on the part of those people making such comments. The list of things Lawrence has and continues to benefit from as a direct result of the Kennedys is long and continues to grow. A more decent pair of folks could not be found, and the comments by some on this thread makes my heart hurt.

If I were a parent of a college student, I would be relieved of much worry to know that my kids lived in a neighborhood with people like the Kennedys. To have families mixed in with student housing makes nothing but good sense.

While I don't know the other board members as well (most not at all), I can assure everyone that Christy would not be a part of any group with a personal agenda to hurt the neighborhood or any individual for profit or otherwise. The Oread neighborhood has suffered a terrible loss from what has happened. The people with personal agendas now have control and I hope the old neighborhood can survive it without too much irreversible damage.

—Amy Albright

scaramouchepart2 5 years, 5 months ago

zstoltenberg; You comments about Congregate living show that I hit the nail on the head.

benanhalt 5 years, 5 months ago

«The people with personal agendas now have control...»

The people in control always have personal agendas. And while I have no illusions that the new boss will be any better if not worse than the old boss, you'll forgive me if I get a little tired of the sanctimonious bleating of those who want to tell the members of the community what to do... for their own best interests, of course.

christy kennedy 5 years, 5 months ago

ckennedy: You participated in an organization that went out of it's way to make certain that any resident who didn't agree with the same old people who were always on the ONA Board and who continually worried first about their own residences, not the neighborhood itself, were, in some fashion, silenced.

pogp, To you and everybody else with a vague and nasty complaint I call BULLSH*T. I have asked and asked and have not gotten one single explanation of residents being silenced or otherwise harmed by ONA board members. You and others have charged us with all kinds of behavior flaws without giving a single instance of substance to back your claims.

To all of you with complaints about past board members: DID YOU EVER COME TO A MEETING TO DISCUSS YOUR ISSUE, PROBLEM, COMPLAINT??? My recollection is that any time anyone came to a meeting they were treated just like anybody else in the room and were part of a discussion. I stood up for Mr. Wheel owner when others were less inclined because I am good friends with a landlord who has suffered similar issues.

And any of you with complaints, insults, and generally ignorant claims: Where have you been for all the years the ONA has had open meetings? I mean really. You've just been stewing away in silence just waiting for an army of developers and landlords to run us out of office?

Do you think for one minute you'll be better off with a group of people enthusiastically and admittedly concerned with their specific properties and little else?

Good luck with that.

dwendel 5 years, 5 months ago

zstoltenberg (anonymous) says...

Sorry dwendel, your wrong. Boarding houses are required to have "on site" parking. They can't count the spaces on the street. Please re-direct your rant accordingly. Thanks!

Sorry zstoltenberg, but I know that new boarding houses are required to have some off-street parking, as are newly constructed apartments. But, old properties that never had off-street parking (i.e. many in the neighborhood) are not. Furthermore, the new "boarding houses" are not required to have as many spots as rental rooms. I belive the small house that was just blown out to 8 person occupancy just down the street has I'm pretty sure 4 parking spots. The other four cars park on the street. The house next door to me has about 5 people living in it and has one off-street parking spot.

Furthermore, there are major KU dormitories and study halls in the neighborhood that don't provide any where near the parking that their tenants use. If what you imply is true (i.e. that all rentals in Oread have adequate off-street parking), then why are the streets contstantly jammed with parked cars? What is your experience in the Oread? Also, it's "you're" wrong, not "your" wrong (3rd grade spelling class at my neighborhood school). Please direct your ignorance accordingly. Thanks!

christy kennedy 5 years, 5 months ago

" . . . In their stupid little newspaper that would come around and just add to the garbage I have to clear from my porch, they never talked about addressing any of the concerns of the real residents of the neighborhood."

benanhalt, Oh for god's sake. A community organization that tries to communicate with the community? No! What next? That people drop trash on the ground is hardly the fault of ONA board members who PERSONALLY CLEAN UP AFTER EVERYONE IN THE ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOOD once a year. Yard by yard, gutter by gutter, through the alleys, picking up tons of trash.

And again, I'll say if one more time. How the hell do you know what was or wasn't addressed if you never came to a meeting and without a crystal ball were we supposed to divine somehow what the "concerns of real residents" are? You make me sick. Get involved and participate. Bring your issues and opinions. Go to a damn meeting. Or stop complaining.

And as for "I never saw stories about what resources were available for property owners who wanted to make improvements and how to access those resources" I have two suggestions. 1. Ask, and 2. Read. Resources and people with a lot of good information have always been available and have always answered questions. Again, if you're sitting in a chair in your house pissed because we didn't provide you information, well what do you want? Door to door "do you have any questions?"

Good god. I'm done.

Sunny Parker 5 years, 5 months ago

This entire thing just cracks me up! Bunch of busy body women trying to dictate to an entire neighborhood!

You go guys...take over the neighborhood and keep rehab'ing those homes! They look beautiful.

If the busy body women cared enough, they would buy up those large homes, spend their own money into rehab and selling them to 'families'!

Sunny Parker 5 years, 5 months ago

By the way....Is there by chance a video of that meeting last night? I would love to watch it! heehee

Zachary Stoltenberg 5 years, 5 months ago

dwendel (anonymous) says...

"Sorry zstoltenberg, but I know that new boarding houses are required to have some off-street parking, as are newly constructed apartments. But, old properties that never had off-street parking (i.e. many in the neighborhood) are not."

Again, you're wrong. To be granted that designation "boarding house" they do have to meet an on site parking requirement. The proposed changes the ousted board was pushing would have only applied to new construction or remodels anyway so your point is moot.

"Furthermore, the new "boarding houses" are not required to have as many spots as rental rooms. I belive the small house that was just blown out to 8 person occupancy just down the street has I'm pretty sure 4 parking spots. The other four cars park on the street. The house next door to me has about 5 people living in it and has one off-street parking spot."

I know that house, it used to be a dump, slated for demolition. Now it's beautiful. And it has six off street parking spaces as required by the current city code (8 bedrooms, 1 spot per 1.5 bedrooms). So will the one next door. That requirement actually exxceeds any other type of classification. That's why you see so many duplexes and triplexes. Only one parking spot required per unit. I also happen to know that the 8 people who live in the house you mention only have 5 cars, not that uncommon for college kids. By the way, the board that was just ousted recently sought a change to the code to relax that parking requirement. Without a doubt, parking is a problem. Now that there is a giant hotel at the top of the hill with an exemption to the parking requirement and six bars and a resturaunt, I'm sure your parking troubles are just beginning. By the way, the ousted board was in full support of that that gem of community development as well.

"Furthermore, there are major KU dormitories and study halls in the neighborhood that don't provide any where near the parking that their tenants use. If what you imply is true (i.e. that all rentals in Oread have adequate off-street parking), then why are the streets contstantly jammed with parked cars?"

I think you just answered your own question. Those streets aren't jammed at 4:00 in the afternoon. Not on the weekends either. It's the students stupid. You could eliminate every boarding house in Oread and those streets would still be packed.

"What is your experience in the Oread?" I lived in the neighborhood for 6 years. I love the neighborhood, but will never live there again. I won't be neighbors with people like you. ;)

Also, it's "you're" wrong, not "your" wrong (3rd grade spelling class at my neighborhood school). Please direct your ignorance accordingly. Thanks!

"Furthermore" Auto-complete on an iPhone can be a *. "You're" still wrong.

Evan Ridenour 5 years, 5 months ago

"“If you have an area that is 100 percent students, it does get bananas because then you don’t have anybody to complain,” Hoffman said. “Somebody has to be able to say ‘guys, you can’t have a bonfire in the middle of the street.’’"

Back when I lived in the Oread area we had a bonfire in the street and it was awesome.

igby 5 years, 5 months ago

I can see that the fight has just begun!

Why can't everyone just mind their own business! Yea! Right!

It's really funny that the ONA thinks all these old houses are "their treasures"! ...and not the property owners. This just makes me want to slap the silly-ness right out of them !

Then, the ONA, they hooked up with the crooks that run the Kansas Historical Society, K*, K*and K*. I think you know the family; city, state and Federal. What a nest of corruption there. .....and the city planning office who works for the law firm of "Dewy Cheatem and Howell". Money talks and Hawk s*t walks! Makes you wonder why we even have a government by the people and for the people, with so much special interest running the show.

http://popup.lala.com/popup/5116370699300767051

It's even funnier that their goal and fantasy is that if someone that lived 150 years ago came back to life, that they would see the district has not changed and still looked the same.

I bet they would miss all the soot and smog from the coal chimneys! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48cTUn...

All the noisy parties? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Muci-...

I'd rather live here than in the burb with all the houses that look the same!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKoyaAjfybI

youarewhatyoueat 5 years, 5 months ago

Perhaps if city ordinances were enforced throughout the town this would cease to be an issue. I've been to other college towns where city ordinances are strictly followed which seemed to allow for a happy medium. The kids got to party, but they had to keep it out of the public places, unless they are in a public establishment meant for partying (re: bars). Drink drivers are harshly punished. I've heard of people getting put on house arrest for their 2nd offense in Lincoln, for example.

The attitude "it's a college town, duh" is more of a poor excuse. Why should laws only be enforced for certain parts of town? Why is dispatch's response to an illegally parked car blocking in a car in a driveway "It's a game day, there's nothing we can do"? WTF?

I am college aged and disgusted by much of the disregard for those who prefer to keep it low-key, whether they are old, young, family, student or not. I have encountered far fewer problems related to my generation over here, but when pedestrians and bikers are getting mowed over by drunks with little consequence, and it's somehow okay to toss beer bottles everywhere, pee on people's houses, torch couches, ffs, it reminds me a bit of Lord Of The Flies. "But what do you expect, it's a college town." Somehow, other college towns get by without these problems on a large scale just fine--except they might not be listed as a top 10 party school. Awww, what a shame.

youarewhatyoueat 5 years, 5 months ago

"over here" is East Lawrence, as a side note.

benanhalt 5 years, 5 months ago

ckennedy, I'm sorry I was probably a little bit overly snarky. I'm kind of a jerk like that.

Admittedly I'm not very engaged. But you know what? We're not all happy little joiners in your neighborhood. So you all got voted out of your own club? Honestly, it doesn't really matter to me one way or the other. But if you all can't get enough people interested in what you are doing to come out and vote for you, then that seems like it's down to you. You were engaged in a political process, and now you are sad that it turned out to be political.

You asked, «How the hell do you know what was or wasn't addressed if you never came to a meeting and without a crystal ball were we supposed to divine somehow what the "concerns of real residents" are?» It just seems like to me that if you were really engaging people then maybe some of them would have shown up to support you. I offered my (as I said, snarky) opinion about my perceptions of the ONA. And judging by the other comments, others' perceptions are not much different. If those perceptions are out of line, then maybe you should think about why there is a disconnect. And you can lament people not showing up to meetings to give you the opportunity to sell your initiatives all you want, but that doesn't change the fact that the odds of any sizable portion of the community actually doing so are about as good as the odds that college students will start drinking responsibly and listening to music at sub-ear-damaging levels.

«Yard by yard, gutter by gutter, through the alleys, picking up tons of trash.»

You know what? That's really commendable and I thank you. But how has anything changed? People who want to do that for the community still can. You can still have meetings and invite whoever you want. So I don't see the problem.

«if you're sitting in a chair in your house pissed because we didn't provide you information, well what do you want? Door to door "do you have any questions?"»

I'm not pissed. I was merely suggesting that the fact that the previous board was ousted might have something to do with their performance and perception by the public. And you do realize that most people who rely on votes for their positions do in fact engage in some door-to-door activity?

lllwll 5 years, 5 months ago

I would like to know what is Boston_Corbett's beef with Paulette2.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

"I was merely suggesting that the fact that the previous board was ousted might have something to do with their performance and perception by the public."

No, it's mostly that the majority of the neighborhood isn't paying attention at all. But the movers and shakers, slumlords, bar owners and developers have much to be gained or lost by what happens in the neighborhood, although their concern is strictly with what happens on their narrow strips of property. So it was worth their while to find the couple of dozen people it took to take control of the "neighborhood" organization. If you think the previous board only served narrow, agenda-driven interests, you ain't seen nothin yet.

scaramouchepart2 5 years, 5 months ago

It is sad that so many think this is about a few people who worked hard for the neighborhood getting their dues.

What this is about is the fact the the city is deciding on the deffinition of congregate living and whether some outsider who lives in Johnson County has the right to deface a historic neighborhood. Some of you think good. Well then live on the west side of town and let those who value character of a neighborhood protect a histoic neighborhood.

The city codes protect neighborhoods based on their human scale and footprint. This new board thinks if they run ONA they can get the city to support blown out building to over twice their size and as for parking the issue is about on street parking and this new board wants special favors from the city to give them special parking rules no other multi family dwelling units have. And despite what Z says there are morelulti family units than just apartment complexes.

As for th students who think they have been left out. Read the garbage newsletter and go to the meetings. The real board worked hard to try and make sure where you live in the ONA was safe even for the students who are to afraid to complain.

Several of the ousted board are landlords and their houses a kept up and safe.

scaramouchepart2 5 years, 5 months ago

3rd para. last sentence - more multi-family. Thank you.

Zachary Stoltenberg 5 years, 5 months ago

scaramouchepart2 (anonymous) says... " And despite what Z says there are more multi family units than just apartment complexes."

By the last figures released by the city, the Oread Neighborhood was 6% owner occupied. The city doesn't like to say that due to the federal requirements on the monies they receive, that's why the article states "about 1 in 10" instead of the actual numbers. The biggest problem is those 6% have very large mouths and think they know what's best for the other 94%. It's just that up until now, no one stood up to them. Looks like that's changing.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

Here's the future of Oread neighborhood, courtesy of the "vision" of the new board--

Increased condemnations of properties through demolition by neglect. Under new zoning regulations, after demolition, multiplex structures will replace the demolished single-family houses that had once occupied those lots. Property taxes throughout the area will go up, forcing the families still remaining there to move out, either because of the higher property taxes, or the reduced quality of life.

But the organizers of the ONA board takeover will be laughing all the way to the bank.

scaramouchepart2 5 years, 5 months ago

As for multi family units I mean types that have on street parking and the reason there is a set parking limit for on street parking and that is what the present board wants to have the city give them special favors on is the parking and the number of unrelated people living in one unit. There are boarding houses with up to 8 or more unrelated people living together. Special favors is all this board wants. That 6% are not out of towner land lords, part time residents and so forth, they are permant residents who live year round and know what is going on in their neighborhood becuase they are there to see it and the reason so many of the new board didn't know about all the past meetings is becuase they don't live in Lawrence.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

"The biggest problem is those 6% have very large mouths and think they know what's best for the other 94%."

With your arrival, they are not longer the loudest mouths on the block, are they, z?

Zachary Stoltenberg 5 years, 5 months ago

scaramouchepart2 and bozo, The biggest difference here is that I am criticizing the past actions of an ineffective and corrupted group of"community leaders" based on their record.

You too are criticizing the anticipated actions of motivated individuals that have stepped in to become more involved in a neighborhood they have an interest in improving.

scaramouche, you must really be thick. What part of the additional requirements that apply to boarding houses is too elusive for you to understand? The only reason we have a "four unrelated persons" law is because that was the first attempted assault at ridding the neighborhood of students. The boarding house classification is an expensive and long drawn out process, not a loophole.

Bozo, you better get used to hearing dissenting opinions. People in this town and this country are tired of being told what they should think and do. I'm taking ownership in my community and voicing my opinion. I would think that a "progressive" like you would embrace that.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

" People in this town and this country are tired of being told what they should think and do."

So glad you're here to tell us what we should really think and do.

Creep.

Zachary Stoltenberg 5 years, 5 months ago

The only thing I'm telling people to do is get involved. See how you lost every point of the article and have now descended into petty name-calling?

scaramouchepart2 5 years, 5 months ago

Z. Actually we already know what they have been coming to Lawrence for and if for one instance you can change what their real interest in the ONA neighborhood is by making some vague comment for their future plans, you can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all the people.... Action speaks louder than words and they have actions that can be followed and there is one and only one interest that brings this group to town. As for the unrelated it was to help residents protect their families and homes with the only recourse they had left. Talking to your noise, damaging neighbors didn't work. The assault came to the neighborhoods first. The way the new board wants the boarding house, congregate living, is to create a loop hole they want to invent.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

I wasn't namecalling, petty or otherwise-- merely accurate description, in my opinion-- just as I'm sure in your opinion, your calling me "stupid" in your first reference to me in this thread was merely "accurate description."

creep-- 1 informal a detestable person. • a person who behaves in an obsequious way in the hope of advancement.

scaramouchepart2 5 years, 5 months ago

Z By the way what corrupt actions based on what past records since no one reads the garbage newsletter. Please link me to those records.

Zachary Stoltenberg 5 years, 5 months ago

Bozo, this is not the first time you've forgotten to tuck in your stupid.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

scaramouchepart2--

Don't hold your breath waiting for a substantive answer.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

That's a cute little phrase, z-- did you make it up all by yourself? How many times do you have to use it a day? (because that's all you can think of.)

Zachary Stoltenberg 5 years, 5 months ago

What I mean is, in reading your many comments, I assume you intelligence but give you the benefit of the doubt. Every now and then you confirm it for me. You forget and let your stupid show. As for scara, we aren't even talking about the same people. You are ranting about out of town slum lords and I'm talking about engaged investors. You keep trying to make them one in the same and any response is futile. You're like the little old ladies that talk in circles at the meetings. You say great things that no one can argue against, they just don't apply to the situation. Then you think you won. You didn't win, it's jus impossible to craft a logical response to am illogical argument.

scaramouchepart2 5 years, 5 months ago

Z. Check your city commission and planning commission records and see how many of the never attended an ONA meeting before showed up last night from out fo town like the new President. I don't need to win anything. The truth is there is only one reason this group took over the ONA and that is to stop the ONA from getting a definition of congregate living past that helps the community and not a small group of boarding house investors. Unlike you I can find records that verify the truth, It would take a day or two, but they are there for the asking.

. I never said slum lords. They are not slum lords, yet.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

You know, z, if you want to convince me of my pervasive stupidity, you should probably learn to form grammatical sentences.

Zachary Stoltenberg 5 years, 5 months ago

Scara, I don't need the records. I've been to the meetings. Not all of them but enough to see what was going on. I think you will be surprised. Pretty sure the congregate living thing will still pass. This wasn't a hostile takeover to stop pending proposals. I can get you the minutes in the morning but for now I'm off to bed. Feel free to argue with yourself.

scaramouchepart2 5 years, 5 months ago

Hi Z. Morning - of course the investor will not say at a neighborhood meeting "hey we're here to stop your definition of boarding house." especially when minutes are involved.

I said check the city meeting record to see how many of the out of town investors who never attended an ONA meeting before have been attending city meetings fighting for lesser parking and to be allowed 8 or more unrelated residents in their boarding house.

benanhalt 5 years, 5 months ago

«No, it's mostly that the majority of the neighborhood isn't paying attention at all.»

Maybe it is the case that the fox is now in the hen house, and the only thing standing between us and cataclysm was the noble ONA board. The least they could have done is warn us about it in their informative newsletter. Let's see what's inside the Fall 2009 issue:

1.) Oread Neighborhood Plan: Progress Report. Awesome. 2.) Story about community garden. 3.) Cheers and Chides. This is the column I remember. Really makes me want to be a member of your fun little club. 4.) Welcome Back Students. Now let us lecture you on how to be a good neighbor. 5.) Story about KU selling a house. I don't need a house so I didn't read it. 6.) Smarmy letter from some KU mucky mucky. Yawn. 7.) Ads. 8.) Pictures of the new castle/hotel. Yeah this wasn't covered enough in LJ-World. 9.) Story about the origins of Oktoberfest. That's nice since I don't have wikipedia or anything. 10.) Story about phys. ed. or something at CHS. 11.) More lecturing about demon alcohol. Plus guest lecture from the LPD. 12.) Some nice pictures. They would have looked better on picasa or flickr with like color... for free. 13.) Bio on the ONA secretary. Facebook. 14.) Some actual content appears on page 7 in the form of minutes. Interestingly, the page appears to be headed "Recycle This Newsletter!" 15.) Final page is asking me for money and showing me ads.

If there was actually anything going on in this neighborhood, the publishers of this newsletter apparently didn't want anyone to know about it. Sorry to dump all over your school newspaper, but I'm not exactly getting a sense of urgency from these pages. And sorry if I'm jumping to conclusions here, but reading a newsletter of this quality actually reduces my confidence that the organization that put it out is doing anything worthwhile. I'm sure it's fun and cute for the people involved but... these are the people holding back the hounds of hell from devouring all of mankind? Somehow that's not really coming through for me. And am I the only one discerning a giant middle finger aimed at the student population? And I'm not even a student! I wonder why they are not interested in what this newsletter's publishers have to say? If the price of not having my house bulldozed by cigar chomping slum lords is that I'm gonna have to read this thing, well bring on the bulldozer.

bozo, I've read others of your comments and you seem like a smart guy and I agree with most of what you say. So when you say that this new crop of neighborhood bigwigs are a bunch of nasty customers that does make me take pause. But that hardly makes the previous crew praiseworthy. I mean the fact that some random commenter has more opinion making power with me... well what can I say?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

So what is the agenda, z? I mean, you can't just show up out of the blue at a meeting like this and re-elect an entirely new board. This took a fairly significant amount of advance planning and coordination. And that's not going to happen unless there is a firmly held agenda among those involved.

From your participation in this discussion, you're either part of the group that planned this, or you're at least a self-appointed spokesperson.

So what is the agenda? We all know that there is one. If you don't like the speculation about it you've seen up to now, let's hear your version.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

"So when you say that this new crop of neighborhood bigwigs are a bunch of nasty customers that does make me take pause. But that hardly makes the previous crew praiseworthy."

I haven't been a resident of Oread for several years, but I do know quite a few of the former board members. I can say with confidence that none of them had narrow, secret agendas. As with most neighborhood organizations, if you want to be involved, all you have to do is just show up-- this election of an entirely new slate of board members is ample evidence of that.

But the fact that, apparently, most of these new board members and those who voted them in had ever shown up before, or showed the slightest interest in the neighborhood organization begs the questions I posed to zstoltenberg in my previous post-- what is their agenda? And why did they need this "surprise attack" in order to advance it?

scaramouchepart2 5 years, 5 months ago

Ben; Do you think if the ONA knew a bunch of out of towners were going to do a hostile takeover that they themselves would not have been better prepared. It was a regular meeting. When an issue hits the fan in a neighborhood the neighborhood groups. Most of the time volunteers are very busy with life and family and make it when they can. As for the paper, you missed the part where you could contact the person who puts the paper together. I've done newsletters and we were always deperate for people to give us info for it. You even you said there was a welcome to the students.

benanhalt 5 years, 5 months ago

«I can say with confidence that none of them had narrow, secret agendas.»

Well, that's to their credit then.

«As with most neighborhood organizations, if you want to be involved, all you have to do is just show up»

Yeah, that's kind of a two way street is my point. Don't get me wrong, I'm not the type to join any kind of group. Admittedly that's a character flaw on my part. I'm allergic to group dynamics. But even I know part of running an organization that relies on community involvement is making your organization seem like something people might want to join. Doesn't really seem like there was much of that going on. If anything, the opposite.

scaramouchepart2 5 years, 5 months ago

If the new group really wanted to do some good and be a neighborhood group then I would support your comments. This group has one single agenda and that is to get the city to give them special favors by giving them special parking requirments and giving them the right to ignore the unrelated living together numbers. They want the rules changed just for them.

benanhalt 5 years, 5 months ago

«You even you said there was a welcome to the students.»

One that turned around and immediately started lecturing them on neighborly behavior.

Look, I know I'm a total jerk for standing out here on the sidelines taking potshots. God knows I don't go around picking up trash on a regular basis. I feel good about myself if I manage to get the recycling done before it takes over the house. And if you really want an unreliable curmudgeon to write pieces for you when he can be bothered to meet a deadline... pieces that would probably only serve to alienate what sympathetic readership you do have, then I might be your guy. But that being said, even I can see that a big "Welcome Back Students" page that after a single paragraph launches into "How to be a Good Neighbor" is really saying "Oh God, those Noisy, Dirty Brats are Back." Believe me, I feel ya. I hate 'em too, the noisy disrespectful ones. But I also know that there's no real dividing line between the worthless rats and the "future leaders of America". There's a lot of grey area there. Plenty of the "future leader" camp slide over into the worthless rat camp from time to time. And when the first thing you do after the perfunctory "Welcome Back" is drop a big ball of shame and recrimination (sort of like I've been doing) on the kids by basically saying they don't know how to be good neighbors... well that doesn't exactly lead to heightened levels of civic involvement. At least not the kind of civic involvement you're looking for.

And even though I'm probably the last person to give advice on effective organizing, did anyone ever consider setting up a Facebook group? I hear the kids are really into that. Then you could ask people what they would like to see happen in their neighborhood. I know, I know. In an ideal world everyone would come to meetings and give you nice bulleted, double spaced action lists. But this ain't the ideal world and maybe some of the effort that goes into making the newsletter, that I suspect mostly puts people off in it's current form, would be better spent asking instead of telling... (I can't believe I just wrote that. Someone shoot me.)

Oh and those blight safaris, or whatever you call them. Terrible idea. Most people are going to read that as, "we're going to come snoop around your house at all your failings so we can rat you out to the city." Frankly the if ONA's PR was a frat party, it would be the one with the couch burning in the middle of the street stinking everything up. Earlier one of the members disparaged the idea of going door-to-door asking how they could help people as being beyond the call of duty. Honestly, I think going door-to-door is always a bad idea, but it looks particularly bad to say that at the same time you are seemingly planning to go house-to-house looking for people's shortcomings.

This is like PR 101. You could glean as much from a cursory reading of, say, Nixonland.

Sunny Parker 5 years, 5 months ago

Show the proof that most of the investors are from 'out of town'. I beg to differ. 'most' of the investors live right here in Lawrence. Why does Marci, Candice, Kennedy, and Carol think they should be able to dictate to these people what they do with THEIR property? If you don't like it, buy the houses. Then you can dictate to yourself!

And please....explain something...why are you so jealous of the landlords in the Oread neighborhood? Is it because they have invested wisely and you have not?

Take from the earners and give to the poor. Whiners!

youarewhatyoueat 5 years, 5 months ago

Sunny,

We looked for a place to live this summer and hit up dozens of Oread properties. 913 was a prominent area code, and of the 785 area codes we called, most were large investment companies either based in Lawrence who single-handedly owned multiple properties, or similar companies based out of town with Lawrence offices. I see houses for sale currently in the Oread area with 913 area codes on the FOR SALE sign. Only one property that I've seen there was owned by a person who owned just a few properties, and that one was the only one that didn't seem to have severe structural, electrical or plumbing issues (which you can tell sometimes by just looking at water damage and electrical sockets).

By the way it looks like most keep up their properties, there is little to be jealous of. Nor would I want to be like someone who keeps crackhouse looking properties, charging high rents but letting repairs go, just to make a killing. That isn't a character trait I want to possess. People who do possess that trait are the same kinds people to blame for our current economic woes and display severe disregard for others in the name of ME FIRST. Then they raise their kids to be like that, too, rinse, and repeat.

svenway_park 5 years, 5 months ago

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moveforward 5 years, 5 months ago

the 'student getto' is a neighborhood unto its own. It has a real charm. For me... it is a bit of nostalgia. If you buy a home there and move in without knowing... shame on you. It is what it is... and it should grow and change naturally. You can not legislate neighborhoods effectively any more than you can legislate forests.

Yes there is high demand for cool old houses. Is it a shame that some have been chopped up into small apartment? Of course. Can they be salvaged? Yes.

One last questions... would you rather it be the way it is... or have some aggressive developer come in and buy a few blocks and build sterile apartments?

chucknoblet 5 years, 5 months ago

How dare those Oread board members be against disturbingly loud noise and people vomitting and urinating and littering all over their streets? Renters passing through should be able to trash the neighborhood as much as they want in the name of having a fun college experience. You owner-occupants have no right to want to be treated with consideration and decency. How dare you disturb the fun these Johnson County and other temporary occupants are having. Who cares about preserving the architectural integrity of century-old buildings and streets by limiting these good American profiteers from remodeling and adding on however they want? People don't come to Lawrence for the charm or beauty; they come to party and puke and park wherever they want. Selfish Oread homeowners. Now get off the board and make way for people who want to make money off your neighborhood.

hankscorpio74 5 years, 5 months ago

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beaujackson 5 years, 5 months ago

The Oread " problem" started in 1965 when "little old widows" living in large houses they couldn't afford to maintain in the (then Single family zoned ) Oread neighborhood convinced the city comm. to allow them to rent rooms to students. Oread gradually "morphed" into multi-family zoning with nearly century old student rental fire traps.

Families living in multi-family zoned neighborhoos, especially near KU, can expect exactly what is happening. The monkeys are running the zoo.

The only solution is for the city to pass an ordinance requiring all apartments in multi-family zoning adhere to the SAME REGULATIONS that apply to regular apartment buildings (eg. Meadowbrook).

If that were to happen, all rentals would be required to have off-street parking, & meet safety requirements they currently can ignore.

Many of these old fire traps would then be demolished and replaced with legitimate apartment buildings.

Of course, the "gravy-train" for slum lords would be over.

It will only happen after a couple of fatal fires.

Finally, the same problem is happening in Cordley, Schwegler, University, and Centennial neighborhoods, whose rental housing is now over 50%. And these are all single family zoned!

There is NO single family zoned neighborhood (except Old West Hills, which is protected by their homeowners association rules), that is protected from the problem of rental to unrelated renters.

Will the city comm. EVER wake up to the fact that most of central Lawrence, along with the schools, have been ruined by this lack of protecting single-family zoned neighborhoods from KU rentals?

One problem - most city commissioners have friends who ARE slumlords). Is it possible that the (over) $10,000,000.00 monthly rental income in these houses has an influence?

Go figure.

svenway_park 5 years, 5 months ago

Better get that blue paint off the Volvo, paulette. Or Marci will find out.

Sunny Parker 5 years, 5 months ago

haha 'geez...i drove by and saw a '913' phone number....'

So...that means the owner of the property is an out of town investor? That is kind of ridiculous thinking.

All landlords are not making a profit off of their rentals. Payment, insurance, taxes....some are barely breaking even. But if you all think you can do better then by all means start buying.

zackattackku 5 years, 5 months ago

To say that the landlords are out for profit is a reasonable statement as most are. My landlord makes money on the many houses he owns. That being said, he owns many historic homes that are well taken care of because he sees the value in these houses. Just as easily as they are converted to boarding houses, the process can be reversed with little impact on the integrity of the historic structure. My house is on the 1000 block of tennessee. I can see a house on the Kansas State Register and the Blood Mansion on the National Register. My house sits in the environs and is protected like most of these houses. I'm a student in architecture at KU and hope to go into Historic Preservation. Despite what many think, there are students that do care about this neighborhood and try to be good neighbors just as there are many that don't. There are many single occupant owners that don't care either. I'm proud to say my landlord does care and is taking care of our house. We respect our house and the landlord and he in turn respects us. Not all students are bad. I think it is a term of endearment to call this the student Ghetto. Students have been rooming in these houses since the beginnings of the University. Don't lump everyone into one group and make assumptions.

Incidentally, I did the research on my house and it was most likely built by either the Kennedy family or by Rich Huggard in 1867. It is a very old house and two years younger than KU (founded 1865). You would not know it from the exterior that it is pre 1900s but it is definitely pre 1900.

One question, does anyone know who owns that Lilac colored Victorian or the Blood Mansion or for that matter the blue Victorian across from my house? Those are beautiful houses and well taken care of.

Michael Capra 5 years, 5 months ago

glad to see all those fruit loops out of there all they did was drive around and take pics of trash and bother city hall and take up there time instead of going to the house and asking nicely for them to do something about it instead lets waste everyones time.Ill bet planning and zoneing threw a very large party

Michael Capra 5 years, 5 months ago

now we can get back to work fixing up the oread instead of trying to stop everything and everybody

George_Braziller 5 years, 5 months ago

If you don't live in the neighborhood you shouldn't even be allowed to be ON the board.

Michael Capra 5 years, 5 months ago

if they would have worked with people they wouldnt be crying over there fruit loops

youarewhatyoueat 5 years, 5 months ago

sunny...913=NOT LAWRENCE. Our area code is 785. Why would a local investor have a 913 area code?

nice side-stepping of the rest of my comment, by the way.

Regarding profits...all landlords make some sort of profit. It is deplorable what they charge for the utter crap they provide. With the rents in the Oread, a landlord should be able to provide better living standards for tenants--without them having to wonder if they'd wake up to a massive sewage leak from the apartment upstairs or their house ablaze from a faulty elctric system. Have you ever been inside any of those apartments/houses?

youarewhatyoueat 5 years, 5 months ago

Regarding my profit comment--If there were no profits, they wouldn't rent the properties to begin with. Obviously,. there are. Hence your "jealousy" comment earlier, no?

igby 5 years, 5 months ago

If you own it, your a resident!

If you own several houses in several states then you can choose which or all.

Don't be nit-picking and grabbing for straws to defend your lost cause!

It makes you look stupid!

Also, don't argue with a stupid person because some people watching make not know which one is stupid-er!

Remember Al Gore, the Green Wizzard, in a bubble! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tJp2d...

Love sick Blues! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Xu71i...

igby 5 years, 5 months ago

Multi: I botched the K.......K.....and K........, it should of been Z.........,Z......... and Z.............., couldn't think of her and her husbands name at the time. City, State and Federal Historic Commissioners.

Call the Law Firm of Dewey, Cheatem and Howell, for any corruption based city development first! We own the planning commission, Historical Society and 3 0f 5 city commissioners!

ivalueamerica 5 years, 5 months ago

There are 2 issues getting confused here. The old guard needed to be cleaned out...as a former board member myself, I felt they had lost vision and connection to the core values of the association. they were on constant tangent mode.

However, absentee landlords are there to protect their personal financial interests, not the integrety of the neighborhood. If you do not live there, you should not be on the association.

workinghard 5 years, 5 months ago

Well, getting on their map at the ONA website to find the boundaries of the ONA was of no help. You go to google maps and it looks like it is mostly in East Lawrence. How about they list the boundaries or draw their own map for the website. Nobody told me our house in East Lawrence was in the Oread Neighborhood.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

What's your point, Pogo? The ONA, for all practical purposes, has ceased to exist, and has been replaced by the Oread Landlords Association-- why should the website of a now defunct organization continue to exist?

And why would the OLA even need a website-- all business will be conducted in private, and there will be no reason to relate those decisions to anyone but the city planning commissioners who are expected to re-zone per instructions.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

"You think the last Board and for that matter all the other prior "Boards" didn't conduct the real business "in private"?"

Possibly-- but that's not why the current board conducted their little putsch, now is it?

"The website belongs to the Association."

And it still does-- I'm sure as soon as they find a new webmaster, it'll be back up and running. But in the meantime, I'd guess that they prefer that it remain down until they can generate their own propaganda.

And no one has suggested that the election wasn't conducted according to the rules. Whoever shows up and pays their buck votes. The landlords and the tenants in their hire showed up with the most bucks, so they won. But that doesn't mean that it wasn't transformed into the Oread Landlords' Association in the process.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

OK, so they didn't pay a buck. What difference does it make? They still took it over, but only to promote their personal financial gain, not because they give a whit about the neighborhood.

"Now, just think what could happen if the new ONA decides to do away with the whole charade of being a 501(C)?"

Even if you don't like what they did, no one was making any profits from it. But its purpose has clearly changed.

svenway_park 5 years, 5 months ago

None of this would have happened if the City would have hired paulette2 for that job in City Planning.

Poor guy. Makes applications all over town. And nobody wants him. So he has to buy blue paint to make his points.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

"Burn the village to save the village is what Viet Nam taught us. It was a good lesson. "

Sadly, that seems to be the gist of your message.

igby 5 years, 5 months ago

The difference is, that now, a single family Victorian house owner is free from the Zealots of ONA's dictatorship and that's worth a lot of peace of mind. If you live here for 20 years, you really don't mind the student's discourse and the daily problems. It's expected. These ONA Zealots, have their little house all fixed up already. They dumped their trust fund, divorce settlement, and used money that was given to them to buy their little house.

All they really care about is how much they can get out of their property. It's a social icon to them.

A landlord that owns one of these large Victorian Houses, is faced with a daunting job. There's tough choices that have to be made regarding material and cost. I've been both and decided to keep the best built house as my home.

If you really love these houses, you don't care about what it's worth or even how much you spend on materials. Too start from scratch and build one of these houses today with equal craftsmanship would cost you well over a 2 million dollars. All the labor, material and thought from the past is priceless; to put a dollar value on that is impossible. To sell one of these houses is like losing the love of your life that will never be replaced.

Zachary Stoltenberg 5 years, 5 months ago

I think this whole website thing is a perfect illustration of how petty and political the past board is/was. This is why a change was in order. You can only burn so many bridges before you're stranded on your own little island of self righteousness.

pace 5 years, 5 months ago

Oread neighbors, if problems occur, call your neighborhood association to help. Are there stray animals, improper lighting, dirty alleys, litter problems? Noise problems, parking concerns, elderly homeowners in need of assistance, cracks in the sidewalk? Call the board members: they care.

ivalueamerica 5 years, 5 months ago

Can anyone post information as to how to contact the current board members so they can hear from the community?

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