Archive for Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Lawrence school district must seek city variance to finish construction of LHS scoreboard

August 3, 2011


A Chesty Lion stands proud in an unfinished stack of bricks along 19th Street, and whether the mascot gets to remain on its perch is set to be decided this evening at City Hall.

The Lawrence school district and its contractor, B.A. Green Construction Inc., are seeking permission to finish construction of its new scoreboard enclosure at the north end of the football stadium at Lawrence High School, 1901 La.

The district has permission to build the brick enclosure, but not to put up any signs — including the Lion logo already installed — facing 19th Street.

A request for a variance that would allow sign installation is up for approval tonight by the Lawrence Sign Code Board of Appeals, which meets at 6:30 at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets.

At least two neighbors oppose the request, and their neighborhood association continues to be frustrated by the district’s handling of ongoing construction issues at the athletics complex — a project that already has spurred neighborhood complaints and a lawsuit regarding noise, lights, drainage, landscaping and other issues.

The sign snag simply adds to the list.

“It’s just a fact: There are people who have heartburn over this whole thing,” said Tom Harper, a member of the Centennial Neighborhood Association’s steering committee. “This is another example of the school district seeking another variance to get this sports complex in a residential neighborhood. There have been numerous statements about how they would do things, and they haven’t followed through with them.

“The lack of trust here is huge, because their follow-through hasn’t been good. … This is just another example of the heartburn of the whole thing.”

The district actually has a building permit for the enclosure, and B.A. Green only stopped after it became clear, once the Lion logo had been installed, that they’d also need a permit for signs.

Typically the city issues a building permit for a structure, then a contractor — typically a sign company — comes in to get a permit for signs. This time, however, a single contractor was doing the entire project, and city officials didn’t advise them that they’d also need a sign permit.

“It’s partly our fault,” said Scott McCullough, the city’s planning director. “They thought they had approval for the whole thing.”

Turns out the proposed signs — the Lion, plus the yet-to-be-installed words “LAWRENCE HIGH SCHOOL” across the top — are both too large and too far above the ground to comply with city code. That’s why the district and B.A. Green now must seek a variance.

The district also wants to install lights on the sign, so that folks walking up to the stadium or otherwise passing by the complex could see the name and logo at night. The signs would face 19th Street, which carries 14,000 vehicles a day.

“It’s not like a Dillons sign or anything,” said Tom Bracciano, the district’s division director for operations and maintenance. “It’s nothing garish. It’s ambient lighting. It’s no different than putting a security light on it.”

The enclosure project is being overseen by the district, using money donated by LHS Building on Traditions, a booster group working to add an arched entryway to the stadium, ticket booths and the scoreboard enclosure as part of a package of upgrades to the school’s sports complex.


Benjamin Roberts 6 years, 9 months ago

“It’s not like a Dillons sign or anything,” said Tom Bracciano, the district’s division director for operations and maintenance.

No, Dillons follows protocol and tries to work with their neighbors.

not_that_crazy 6 years, 9 months ago

NOT.....Ooops. I meant to post that under the next post. DUH. I am as annoying as the neighbors

angryyardgnome 6 years, 9 months ago

Are you serious? What will these whiny neighbors complain about next? Get a life and complain about something worth complaining about!!!!

Salvia 6 years, 9 months ago

According to city documents, "All appeal requests for variances shall be submitted to the Code Enforcement Manager, or his or her designee, a minimun of fifteen (15) working days prior to the meeting date of the board." The application for a variance was submitted on July 27, 2011; the meeting is scheduled for Aug 4. That is 7 days. Should probably not even be on the agenda.

Rick Aldrich 6 years, 9 months ago

Boo Hoo! What a bunch of Whiney no life IDIOTS! i've had 2 daughters graduate from Lawrence High. and my 3rd one starts her quest there in 2 weeks. I think it's great that the school is able to change and expand in such a positive manner. and as far as a neighborhood orginization. GET A JOB AND A LIFE! these kids are proud of their school so why can't you be. why don't all you members get in your cars and do some driving around and then you can complain about some real issues. BOO HOO! Sniff! Sniff! Sniff!

Rick Aldrich 6 years, 9 months ago

P.S. I live right across the street from the future Lion monument and i LOVE IT.

Legend 6 years, 9 months ago

For crying out loud, would the people in this neighborhood please get over themselves!!! My goodness, what possible harm is there in having a sign identifying the high school?? These "controversies" being brought forth by the Centennial folks is a waste of time and money ... Why?!?!

First, the lights on the ball parks can't be used because someone may be kept up past 9:00!! Then, no lights on the tennis courts because it may attract the criminal tennis element!! Now, this!!

dinoman 6 years, 9 months ago

just a thought its not about the subject of the sign it is the fact that the school district should be held to the same standards that all people are held to .. if my place of work tried to put up a sign or lights or what ever there is a due process that must be followed... that process is put in place to give time and a place for people to object to said item.. ie..... freedom of speech... Get REAL it is still AMERICA.. now my mom and brother graduated from there and i personally have no objections to a big lion professing the fact that it is a place of higher learning butttt.... there is a proper way to get what they want not just being a "sports bully" in the town.. again it is AMERICA so lets all be civil

optimist 6 years, 9 months ago

I agree. The High School should be held to the same over burdensome restrictions that we place on private business and private property owners. We are at least fortunate that the high school can’t just pick up and move to a less restrictive city. ; )

Linda Kucza 6 years, 9 months ago

As the article stated, there was a mistake/misunderstanding and now the district and the construction company are seeking to correct it. Most of us make mistakes...correcting them is what responsible people do. Why can't we be a bit more positive about the positive things in life. There are lots of negatives around. This isn't one of them!

irvan moore 6 years, 9 months ago

the sad part is that this variance like all the others will be granted because the school board is the 8000 pound gorilla in the community. my problem with the scoreboard is that it's at the wrong end of the field so taxpayers driving by can't see the score.

Salvia 6 years, 9 months ago

Number_1_Grandma has it correct. None of the objection, lawsuit, etc. would be going on IF CODES WERE FOLLOWED. It seems that things are started and then they go to ask for a variance. I hope the students and parents appreciate, respect and take care of the fields as they play sports.

Deb Engstrom 6 years, 9 months ago

I'm not surprised that this has become an issue. Believe it or not, there was a noise complaint called in during graduation practice last May!!!! It's just another instance of harrassment.

brutus 6 years, 9 months ago

Already had permits for a scoreboard enclosure to beautify and identify the field and stadium. It is not really a sign at all but someone whined to the city and they caved. Is the scoreboard better looking with this? Of course. This is just more petty whining from the neighbors. Has anyone thought that maybe the city has no jurisdiction anyway? The school district is a separate entity and the elected school board is the governing body. The city cannot tell Kansas University what to do and really has no legal right to the school district's affairs either. The whole complex is something the entire town can be proud of. Some people need to grow up and get over it. The stadium is here to stay.

brutus 6 years, 9 months ago

You are mistaken Granny. The school district IS a state agency. Except for the fire dept that gets it authority over the district straight from the State Fire Marshall and of course the police, the city has no legal authority over the school district.

Scott Morgan 6 years, 9 months ago

People living by a school and complaining. Ok folks, get a hold of two empty pillow cases and six bars of Lava soap. Place the soap inside the double wrapped pillow cases. When you're sure the complainers are asleep sneak............

melott 6 years, 9 months ago

There were numerous agreed to standards about landscaping, drainage, light levels, sound levels, third party use, third party use with amplified sound, which have been ignored by the school district. As an example, when any activity takes place over there, you can hear clearly every word the announcer says 3 blocks away. I assume they get get a thrill out of hearing their voice booming out. Anyway, this would seem to be a higher than necessary sound level. The sign thing I would guess is an attempt--admittedly too late and too little--to get them to pay attention to the law and to agreements they have made.

mom_of_three 6 years, 9 months ago

You can hear KU football games further away than that. I live in Prairie Park and could hear football games at Haskell when the wind and weather was right. I can even hear music from the county fairgrounds. To say that you can hear it three blocks away, that's just gonna happen. To say its against the agreement is BS.
Wonder what the neighbors are gonna do when the band starts evening rehearsals?

melott 6 years, 9 months ago

Then why is Haskell so loud? I assume the goal should be to have people in the stadium hear. In fact, it must be to force everyone to listen.

Boston_Corbett 6 years, 9 months ago

I hope the sign is immune from pipe-wrench damage.

Boston_Corbett 6 years, 9 months ago

I wonder how much dog poop there is around the softball backstop.

LHS56 6 years, 9 months ago

I understand the neighbor's complains. The fields were squeezed into spaces that were simply too small for the need. Easy for people not living next to the complex to say the neighbors are whinners. Ohhh....remember the lights on Kasold that "had to be removed" because they were shinning into the backs of Alvamar homes? Try having lighting for tennis courts about 20 feet from your home. Maybe the folks in Alvamar can explain to the School Board how invasive that is to the homeowner. As my handle indicates, I'm a LHS graduate and proud to be a Lion. However, I also respect the property rights of adjacent property owners. They have been told too many times "we will take care of that" and nothing has happened.

ferrislives 6 years, 9 months ago

I'd like to know how many of these complaining neighbors were living in their houses before 1954, the year LHS was built. You chose to live near a high school (once the only high school), and now you want to complain about any progress made with that school. You'd also complain if Free State was getting all of its perks while LHS was left high-and-dry. Shoot, it reminds me of the complainers who moved in near the FOP shooting range.

If you don't like it, move already!

del888 6 years, 9 months ago

My kids went to Free State and I say let LHS put up the signs. It's part of the school spirit. And if the neighbors don't like it, they can move.

droppinplates 6 years, 9 months ago

Very typical of Lawrence. Or maybe just an indication of what our society has become. Pathetic.

Boston_Corbett 6 years, 9 months ago

Do they need any baby blue paint? I think I know of a nearby supply. Delivery available by Volvo.

KU_Dude 6 years, 9 months ago

Will these signs be eco-architecturally green designed?

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