Letters to the Editor

Downtown trash

August 30, 2011


To the editor:

I have written on the deterioration of downtown’s buildings and infrastructure in previous letters, so my views on this subject won’t be repeated here.

In recent times, however, I have noticed some efforts at improving said infrastructure as well as the replacement of mulches in all of the planters between Sixth and 11th streets. I’ve also noticed (hard to miss!) the rising structure behind the bank on Ninth and Massachusetts, which inspires questions about developers’ financial contributions to the overall care and maintenance of downtown’s buildings, streets and sidewalks.

Is there a requirement for those who put up new buildings to contribute a certain percent of the cost of the structures to an “infrastructure pool”? It seems to me that the privilege of buildings new in an area already stressed by increasingly transient businesses should pay for that privilege by some kind of tax (or donation?) that would benefit the entire central business district.

And to the City Commission/planning department: Please place two more trash receptacles per block on each side of the street between Sixth and 11th. (The style that includes built-in ashtrays would be best.) The more convenient the container is to the pedestrian/smoker, the cleaner our sidewalks will be.


ksrush 6 years, 9 months ago

This is Douglas County, home to some of the strictest most assanine building codes known to mankind. The only thing that eclipses the stranglehold of the building codes is the local yokles who enforce them ( Barney Fife - with a #2 pencil of course ). Why is it so hard to attract business to Larryville ?

Number_1_Grandma 6 years, 9 months ago

Isn't Lawrence using 'codes' that other towns use? My understanding is its "International code". If so, what's the problem? If this is just Lawrence "codes" I would agree with you then. Let us know.

bklonnie 6 years, 9 months ago

Lawrence adopted the IECC 2006 in 2008. They are a lot stricter than the previously adopted set of codes. However, code enforcement is quite lacking in this town, especially in regards to residential construction.

ljwhirled 6 years, 9 months ago

Downtown businesses do pay for this upkeep through property taxes.

As a result of city beautification efforts and a focus on local business, the buildings downtown are significantly more valuable than a similarly sized building in other areas (like 23rd and Louisiana).

Taxes on buildings downtown have more than doubled in the last 10 years due to increasing property values.

If you want to keep downtown lively, driving up city fees is not the way to go

I would, however, support a use-it-or-lose-it tax on unoccupied buildings that escalates over time. This would force developers to either do something with the building (The Masonic Temple is a great example) or pay a stiff "unoccupancy" tax.

Mr. Compton needs to either refurbish the Masonic Temple or sell it to someone who will.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 9 months ago

Empty buildings are a tax increase on the community. Empty buildings neither provide employment nor sales tax dollar revenue = a drag on the economy.

BTW most building regulations were approved by special interests aka the Chamber of Commerce and real estate industry. How? They occupy the city/county planning commission and the city commission. As a side note they also seem to occupy the school board. Notice how all seem to mismanage tax dollars.

How do business people necessarily make the best politicians? Where is the hard evidence?

Richard Heckler 6 years, 9 months ago

My only complaint about the new building at 9th and New Hampshire is that the project was allowed to proceed before parking space was discussed.

Next thing we know developers decided it was the taxpayers duty to provide parking for their profit venture which I disagree. Then city government decided they had to approve it... not sure why. There are times when those 110 spaces are filled.

  1. With all new building construction how about the planning and city commissions make damn sure parking is in the site plan and not on the back of taxpayers.

  2. The letter writer has a valid point. In the KCMO downtown metro I see what appear to be city workers with brooms,dust pans,blowers and a occasional vac sweeper cleaning the walkways. Even at 43rd and main. Of course in the plaza.

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