Archive for Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lawrence city commission to look at plan for Oread Neighborhood

City commission will vote tomorrow on a new Oread neighborhood plan, which could change how the area is developed and used commercially.

September 21, 2010


The future of the Oread Neighborhood will take center stage at Lawrence City Hall this evening.

At their weekly meeting, commissioners will deal with a pair of issues that could open the door to future redevelopment of the neighborhood that abuts downtown and Kansas University.

Commissioners will consider a new Oread Neighborhood Plan that spells out how dense development can be in certain areas of the neighborhood and creates general neighborhood goals.

Commissioners also will consider a rezoning request that will turn the area around two longtime Oread bars — The Hawk and The Wheel — into a mixed-use district that could house other types of businesses in the future.

The neighborhood plan has been in the works for more than a year and created several questions from commissioners when it was presented to them in April.

More questions are expected when commissioners meet today. The plan contains a general goal of encouraging more owner-occupied housing in the neighborhood. But some commissioners have questioned whether that’s the best strategy, given the neighborhood’s close proximity to campus and the growing demand for student housing.

“I think we should be focusing on the quality of the housing and not be so concerned with whether it is owner-occupied or rental,” said Commissioner Lance Johnson. “I don’t want to see blight or run-down structures. I want to see a clean, safe neighborhood. But I think you can accomplish that whether it is rental or owner-occupied.”

The plan also calls for the expansion of the city’s rental registration program. Currently, only rentals that are in single-family zoning districts are part of the city’s rental registration program. The plan doesn’t specify how the rental registration program should be expanded, but a previous proposal called for registration and inspections of all rental units at least 50 years old.

Commissioners, though, previously have balked at that idea, citing concerns about startup costs.

On the rezoning issue, neighbors have started to ask questions there too.

Up for approval is an ordinance that would rezone property at 502 W. 14th, 414 W. 14th, 1346 Ohio, 1340-1342 Ohio and 507 W. 14th from multi-family residential to mixed use.

The rezonings would allow for a variety of residential and commercial uses in the future. But owners of the property previously have said they have no immediate plans to redevelop the property. Instead, the zoning is being sought by owners of The Hawk and The Wheel in order to remove the grandfathered status of those two businesses.

The current zoning for the properties does not allow either bar, but both have been allowed to continue operating under a grandfather provision. But if the businesses were destroyed, they would not have a legal right rebuild under the current zoning. The proposed zoning would allow them to rebuild.

Commissioners meet at 6:35 p.m. today at City Hall.


Kookamooka 7 years, 8 months ago

Demand for student housing? Is he kidding?

Richard Heckler 7 years, 8 months ago

Vacancies are abound. There has been a glut of apartments and residential rentals for about 15 years now. Tons of empty dwellings in Lawrence,Kansas.

Is special interest Lance out of touch? Does he live in Lawrence? Has he paid those delinquent back taxes yet?

Blight comes from land lords generally speaking..... sometimes commissioners and or their close friends are those very landlords. This make positive change difficult.

Mixed use/business should be written quite specifically for the protection of property values and neighbors.

Neighborhoods best be keeping a close eye on this discussion. What happens in Oread could open unwanted doors. Way too may property Owner/Managers simply do not give a damn.

Tune in tonight on TV. Play close attention.

Zachary Stoltenberg 7 years, 8 months ago

Merril, now you are flat out lying. The new apartments built by Walmart? 98% full. In facts, most all complexes in town are over 95% full. With the new restrictions on lending coupled with the inflated real estate values in Lawrence, few can qualify to purchase a home. There is more need now than ever for rental housing, especially affordable rental. When I moved a few months ago I checked almost every management and complex in town, average rent on a two bedroom unit was $900, some as high as $1200 a month. The good people of Lawrence are smart and investors wouldn't be building rental units if there wasn't anyone to lease them. Stop the deception and lies, thy don't further your argument.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 8 months ago

When we moved to Lawrence finding a rental after August was a challenge.

More than 20 years later vacancies are all over town any day of the week both in single family dwellings and apartments/condos. It's a glut.

"With the new restrictions on lending coupled with the inflated real estate values in Lawrence, few can qualify to purchase a home. There is more need now than ever for rental housing, especially affordable rental." ---- Not necessarily. Jobs in Lawrence are simply not plentiful. if people cannot afford to qualify for inflated housing prices how can anyone afford to live in Lawrence and pay "student housing rental rates" aka inflated plus commute?

Lawrence taxpayers cannot afford to expand our tax dollar hole bedroom community.

Matt Schwartz 7 years, 8 months ago

so if the rezoning does go through, how long until there is an 'electrical fire' in the hawk or wheel?

stopit 7 years, 8 months ago

Get ready for them to tear the buildings down. Build an underground parking. First floor retail stores and 2 to 10th floor of apartments.

jafs 7 years, 8 months ago

Why do you need to know their names and addresses?

Are you planning to personally confront them in some way?

flyin_squirrel 7 years, 8 months ago

Would do no good to have a fire, because all the Hawk and Wheel could do is rebuilt what they currently have. For them to make any changes, it would require them to meet all new code improvements, which wouldn't be possible with the current parking situation. Only thing that would change is they would go from grandfathered properties to legal conforming properties.

Prairielander 7 years, 8 months ago

I believe that the KU dorms are at only 80% capacity this fall. How long before the the University decides that all Freshman have to live in dorms.

Frosh class = aprox 5,000 students x 20% = 1,000 fewer students living off campus.

hipper_than_hip 7 years, 8 months ago

Regarding rental inspections, why not inspect all rental property in Lawrence regardless of age?

jafs 7 years, 8 months ago

That's a very good question.

I think the usual answer is that it would be too expensive, but I'm not sure I buy that.

Ricky_Vaughn 7 years, 8 months ago

I'm not surprised. This city cares more about catering to KU than its property-owning, tax-paying residents. I'd be pretty upset if I had owned property there for decades as I'm sure many have.

My guess is that eventually they'll throw everyone out of that neighborhood citing "blight" or some other lame reason and build a shopping area similar to the Oread (all in one building) and high end apartments.

Lindsey Buscher 7 years, 8 months ago

Stop yer bitching...Lawrence without KU = Eudora. If that's what you want then effin move to Eudora.

GUMnNUTS 7 years, 8 months ago

I find it hard to believe that anyone would want to have more student housing in their neighborhood. I live in the Oread area and I am constantly picking up plastic cups, empty beer cans and my favorite, broken glass after one of the many parties from the renters down the street. It is pretty easy to identify the rental properties within the Oread because of the general decay of them, yards never mowed, litter, trash piled up on the porch, the last coat of paint went on twenty years ago, rotting porches the list goes on and on. Until we require ALL landlords in the area to keep their property from turning into blight, we should keep building more apartments so the students can enjoy each others mess and we can save what is left of a once beautiful neighborhood.

GUMnNUTS 7 years, 8 months ago

We moved into the Oread neighborhood in the early 90's and see a slow expansion of the landlord slum housing every year.

slvrntrt 7 years, 8 months ago

I can't imagine what some of those party houses look like on the inside, and how people can even stand living in them.

We live in East Lawrence and still have to deal with this stuff. A few weeks ago some random guy passed out on our porch and we had to call the police to get rid of him! Maybe if the streets were better lit, there wouldn't be as much drunken nonsense. KU has a serious alcohol problem, and it affects the entire city.

irvan moore 7 years, 8 months ago

i used to own a house in the Oread neighborhood in the late eighties and early 90s, didn't like the noise and crowding in the neighborhood, i sold my house and moved. the neighborhood is what it is, moving into an area and thinking it should change into what you want it to be is unrealistic

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