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Letters to the Editor

Enforcing codes

October 21, 2010

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To the editor:

As the city codes are now enforced, it is apparently easy to cheat and fill rental houses with many more occupants than allowed by city codes. Codes in single-family zoned neighborhoods are intended to protect affordable housing stock for families and neighbors from disruptive renters. No more than three unrelated individuals are allowed to live in a house in this zoning area. In multi-family neighborhoods, codes are intended to protect density and the livability of an area. No more than four unrelated individuals may live in a house in this zoning area.

Many landlords rent to more persons than allowed. Renting a home to six or eight people naturally brings in a much higher rent — $500 (a common individual rent) times 6 or 8 equals $3,000 to $4,000 a month. While the money is good for the landlord, there is often a negative impact on the neighborhood. Restoration of older homes becomes even more difficult as home prices are driven up by the money they can generate versus the physical condition of the home.

City codes, just like laws, are made to create order, civility and planning for healthy communities. Rule breakers create problems for everyone. There is always a process to change codes if they are unfair. Presently there is only a rental inspection program in single-family zoned neighborhoods. I hope that the city will seriously look into more effective ways to enforce their present blight codes and consider future rental inspections in multi-family zoned neighborhoods. City code enforcement officers cannot do their jobs without meaningful enforcement tools.

Candice Davis,

Lawrence

Comments

Richard Heckler 4 years, 2 months ago

"City code enforcement officers cannot do their jobs without meaningful enforcement tools."

Nor can the inspection process be performed properly without enough inspectors which also compounds the problem as we speak.

flyin_squirrel 4 years, 2 months ago

Merrill, City needs more taxes for new inspectors, but without new businesses we will get no more taxes. Wake up and quit speaking out both sides of your mouth. You cannot continue to voice displeasure in all new businesses (Lowes), and expect more services out of the city!

christy kennedy 4 years, 2 months ago

A carefully constructed rental registration program, like successful programs in other cities, should pay for itself. Reasonable annual fees per unit would likely be spread out/passed on to tenants. And the tenants would reap the benefits of code enforcement (yeah, repairs do cost money), improved safety etc.

flyin_squirrel 4 years, 2 months ago

"Reasonable annual fees per unit would likely be spread out/passed on to tenants."

Interesting statement considering Candy is complaining about high priced rents, and we would be passing on more payments to the tenants.

hail2oldku 4 years, 2 months ago

Candy is complaining about high priced properties because they are worth more as split up rentals than as single family properties.

Michael Capra 4 years, 2 months ago

candice shame on you!!! didnt you break the code by not having the proper license to have a office in your home where you run your biz.Yes you did so how can you point the finger

JustNoticed 4 years, 2 months ago

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justforfun 4 years, 2 months ago

How bout this, Candice just shut up!! Most are tired of your complaining and give you no merit so just stop!

christy kennedy 4 years, 2 months ago

Wow. Do you have an actual thought to contribute on the subject?

ignati5 4 years, 2 months ago

Keep the faith, Candice! If anyone needs to "shut up," it would be cranks like the one who sent this comment.

hipper_than_hip 4 years, 2 months ago

The inspectors only do what Scott McCullough tells them to do; you want change, then get rid of McCullough.

flyin_squirrel 4 years, 2 months ago

Candy,

Restoration of older homes is not going to happen unless the rents can cover the cost. And if you only have 3 unrelated people living in a house, the rents will support a $150,000 house. Once you buy the property, you would have less than $20,000 for renovations (and that is if you could get a house for $130K). $20k wouldn't even cover bringing the electrical and plumbing up to code.

What Candy and her other merry women (Kyle you fall into this category as well) fail to realize is the long term implications of their actions. Their actions have made it cost prohibitive for anyone to renovate a house, so they are encouraging blight. Their long term goal is to make the Oread a "family neighborhood", which the chances of that ever happening are less than KU winning the National Title in football this year. And since houses will not be renovated by investors, investors will buy blocks of rundown by neglect houses and turn them into apartments (see Varsity House).

Wake up Candy, Marcy, Carol, and Kyle, because before you know it you are going to be houses in a sea of apartment complexes.

christy kennedy 4 years, 2 months ago

. . . Their long term goal is to make the Oread a "family neighborhood"

Oh come on. It's a diverse neighborhood full of students and always will be. Nobody disputes that. Yes, there are very large structures in need of major renovations that aren't likely to be bought by a family—and they need to be handled differently than the bungalow next door.* That's the problem with the 3 or 4 persons rule, which makes very little sense in a neighborhood with very large houses, some divided and some not. The unrelated persons limit can't be applied fairly or with any common sense between any handful of houses on most blocks. And without inspection and enforcement it's all a huge gray area THAT'S NOT ADDRESSED YEAR AFTER YEAR, so some owners take good care of their properties and their tenants, but many others operate with blatant disregard of city codes and tenants, and neglect the structures and surroundings.

What Candy et. al, (and others of us who live here) want is for structures and yards of all shapes and sizes to be maintained and up to code so the Oread Neighborhood is a good and safe place to live. It would also be nice for some of the codes to be more realistic, and to be applied. This would benefit everyone who lives here.

*As for larger structures, codes must require adequate parking and accommodations for trash and anything else more tenants make more of, for the sake of the tenants and their neighbors.

Zachary Stoltenberg 4 years, 2 months ago

*As for larger structures, codes must require adequate parking and accommodations for trash and anything else more tenants make more of, for the sake of the tenants and their neighbors.

The boarding house provision that you squawk the loudest about is the ONLY type of development required to have on site parking, enclosed trash containers, fire sprinkler systems, screening of utilities, etc. The ONE type of building that meets all the complaints you fling is the type of project you throw the biggest fit about. Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah.

flyin_squirrel 4 years, 2 months ago

So like I said, your actions are going to cause investors to buy blocks of blighted houses, tear them down, and build apartment complexes with underground parking. You cannot fix up a large blighted house and meet the current parking requirements without a variance (which "the angry at life womens league" always opposes).

"What Candy et. al, want is for structures and yards of all shapes and sizes to be maintained and up to code" is not what you want. Over 90% of the nice/fixed up houses that meet code in the Oread are boarding houses. Obviously there are exceptions to every rule, but if you really cared about refurbishing old houses and not tearing them down due to blight, you would support more than 3 unrelated people living in houses.

cayenne1992 4 years, 2 months ago

"Their actions have made it cost prohibitive for anyone to renovate a house"

It may be cost prohibitive for some, but others maybe not. In fact it has happened, and I'd be amazed of all of those investors are losing money. If it's cost prohibitive for someone to renovate and bring a structure to current codes, then that particular person should invest elsewhere, where he/she can afford to, or don't invest in rental properties all together.

Michael Capra 4 years, 2 months ago

nice squirrel u hit the nail on the head with those tree huggers

JustNoticed 4 years, 2 months ago

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Zachary Stoltenberg 4 years, 2 months ago

My dad used to say it's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt. Listen to this piece of advice. The problem, Christie, is that even when an investor goes through the long and arduous process of developing a project that meets code, satisfies the concerns of the neighbors, and has approval of historic resources, you and your merry band of uninformed idiots still show up to protest. When you move your illegal business office out of a neighborhood that isn't zoned for it, then you will gain the right to criticize others. Until then, sit down, shut up, and refrain from speaking about issues you have little to no knowledge or understanding of. Your open mouth is costing other people lots of money and one of these days, you are going to be legally liable for the loss of income others have incurred due to your actions. You and Carol and Marcy all the other barking idiots can have a big cakewalk around every public meeting but sooner or later, all your words are going to catch up with you and it's going to cost you dearly.

cayenne1992 4 years, 2 months ago

"My dad used to say it's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."

Your dad didn't say that-c'mon, you read at all?

"you and your merry band of uninformed idiots still show up to protest"

What a lousy, stupid statement.

"Your open mouth is costing other people lots of money and one of these days, you are going to be legally liable for the loss of income others have incurred due to your actions."

How does a mouth cost money? You look like a clown the more you speak.

Zachary Stoltenberg 4 years, 2 months ago

You obviously never knew my dad so you can fling any wild accusation without fear. I'm not going to argue with you. And yes, actions do have consequences and you can be held accountable for statements you make. Christie and the three stooges can be held legally responsible for a loss of income so long as a defendant can show real damages and can prove that these individuals are responsible. Cayenne, take the advice.

cayenne1992 4 years, 2 months ago

"can prove that these individuals are responsible."

Responsible for what? Arguing for enforcement of codes? Wanting a safe place to live? Hardly things that cause loss of money. She hasn't personally restricted anyone from investing in Oread, nor does she have the power to. So if it's anyone who's causing some poor investor to lose money, I'd blame the city.

Zachary Stoltenberg 4 years, 2 months ago

When you continually protest at public meeting, cause delays in project approvals, attempt to circumvent the HRC and Development committee by making deals with developers to force through an overlay district. Any of these can case a potential investor to carry a vacant property longer than necessary, cost them lost rent, additional development costs, and additional construction costs and delays. Yes, these individuals are personally responsible for their actions now and in the past. And don't get Christy wrong, she and the three stooges made deals with the fritzels that the ONA would support the box of rocks on the hill if they would help them force through the overlay districts. It's not about developers and investors, it's flat out about students. If you don't like students, move out of Oread.

cayenne1992 4 years, 2 months ago

"When you continually protest at public meeting, cause delays in project approvals,"

If the City has delayed a building permit based on protests from neighbors, it is THE CITY who caused the property to sit vacant, not some random homeowner. Do Wal-Mart hold the neighbors responsible for delaying its construction on W. 6th? Wal-Mart couldn't

"Yes, these individuals are personally responsible for their actions now and in the past"

Of course they're responsible for their actions, but their actions haven't prevented anyone from building in Oread. There are words, but no actions by a person to prevent any investor from investing.

"she and the three stooges made deals with the fritzels that the ONA would support the box of rocks on the hill if they would help them force through the overlay districts."

Let's say you're right that they got support from a developer to do this, who ultimately allowed the overlay districts? hmmm, critical thinking on this one.

"It's not about developers and investors, it's flat out about students. If you don't like students, move out of Oread."

No, it's about money, and what investors are willing to do to make money. If they're allowed free reign, they'll do whatever makes them money. You're not that stupid are you?

christy kennedy 4 years, 2 months ago

Wow. I never knew I had this power! I wonder who I've cost money so far. Anybody? Maybe I should make a list.

Funny thing is, those who took over the ONA board thought the ONA had some sort of sway with the city but the sad reality is that even people working for the city don't always have the power or support to do their own jobs effectively or make much needed change.

And this hostile ranting against the idea of adequate parking, clean neighborhoods, and what I was suggesting (scrapping the 3 or 4 persons limit for a more common sense fit per structure) I don't quite understand.

christy kennedy 4 years, 2 months ago

You should have listened to your dad. Your remarks make very little sense and /or are flat out wrong, don't apply to individuals you're addressing as a group, and are threatening. If you're trying to be part of the discussion, try productive some content. I'll just ask you about one:

" . . . even when an investor goes through the long and arduous process of developing a project that meets code, satisfies the concerns of the neighbors, and has approval of historic resources, you and your merry band of uninformed idiots still show up to protest."

What are you talking about? Up to code, okay with the neighbors and HRC folks and we would protest? I think we're asking for things to be up to code and okay with the neighbors and HRC. Do you have an example?

Zachary Stoltenberg 4 years, 2 months ago

I have presented three proposals in the last two years that had the support and recommendation of the HRC, the ARC, and all had concessions made to ease neighbor concerns. These are new projects that exceed code requirements, go above and beyond to fit all necessary requests, but they are housing for students so complaint after complaint was raised by you and your ilk.

So, How exactly do you have approval to run an office (a commercial zoning) in a residential multi-family neighborhood. Was a permit pulled for the construction on the non-conforming structure? Who did you have to make a deal with to force it through, huh?

christy kennedy 4 years, 2 months ago

You're replying to me but your second paragraph doesn't apply to me at all so I don't know what you're talking about. As for your three proposals—I've not "protested at public meetings" and don't even know who you are. And are you saying something approved by the HRC was not approved for some other reason? Because of my ilk? Doubtful.

It took three years of meetings and going around and around with the city for me and my husband to be allowed to move a sidewalk and do some landscaping, so I feel your pain, but also believe you're placing blame for not being able to do your projects on people with no power to do so. Must be something else.

JustNoticed 4 years, 2 months ago

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christy kennedy 4 years, 2 months ago

Blight is blight and should be addressed whether the owner lives there or not.

beaujackson 4 years, 2 months ago

Lawrence "pretends" to enforce zoning ordinances.

The reality: its similar to Houston, where anything goes if you have the money.

Sunny Parker 4 years, 2 months ago

Candice....Move out west! KU was there before you were honey

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