A former Lawrence-Douglas County planning commissioner on Tuesday became the first declared candidate for this spring’s Lawrence City Commission race.
Hugh Carter said he wanted to get an early jump on campaigning for the April 5 City Commission election, and he said a major campaign issue will be for city leaders to get an early start on attracting new development to the city.
“I think some projects proposed in Lawrence get bogged down because the neighbors feel like they have gotten surpassed,” said Carter, a financial adviser with Lawrence’s Wells Fargo Advisors. “I think we can work to change that.”
Carter said he wants the city to become more proactive in identifying new locations — particularly infill locations — for development, and then work with property owners to fully plan and approve the areas. He said that would then allow the property to be marketed to potential tenants without the fear of a protracted City Hall battle.
“It really would be a real 180 on how we do things,” Carter said.
Carter said he particularly wants to use the approach to redevelop the former Farmland Industries site, which the city recently acquired.
Carter was appointed to the planning commission in 2007, and served on the key advisory board until last week when he resigned to focus on the campaign.
Carter, 44, is the son of former Lawrence Mayor Ed Carter, who served as mayor in the 1980-81 term. Carter grew up in Lawrence but left the area for about 20 years shortly after he finished high school. He lived in nine different cities as part of a career in hotel management, and moved back to Lawrence in 2006.
“We could have moved to a lot of different places, but we chose to come back here for a lot of reasons, and now I just want to become even more involved in the community,” Carter said.
Three commissioners — Rob Chestnut, Mike Dever and Lance Johnson — have seats that will be up for re-election. None of the incumbents have yet announced whether they plan to seek re-election.
The filing deadline for candidates to enter the race is noon Jan. 25.