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Archive for Monday, February 14, 2011

Judge rules against Lawrence homeless shelter; move away from downtown up in the air

February 14, 2011, 5:12 p.m. Updated February 14, 2011, 5:42 p.m.

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The Lawrence Community Shelter’s efforts to relocate to an industrial park near the Douglas County Jail have been dealt a legal setback.

Douglas County District Judge Sally Pokorny on Monday afternoon dismissed a lawsuit that shelter officials had hoped would clear the way for the shelter to move from downtown to a vacant warehouse at 3701 Franklin Park Circle.

At issue in the case was whether long-standing, private covenants prohibited a homeless shelter from operating in the industrial park. Pokorny did not rule directly on that issue, but rather said the shelter did not have the proper legal standing to bring the case forward.

The ruling left unclear what would happen to the shelter’s plans to move from 10th and Kentucky streets in downtown. Shelter Director Loring Henderson declined to comment on the ruling or the next steps for the shelter, since he had not yet seen the decision issued by the court.

Steve Glass — a Lawrence businessman and member of the industrial park’s board of trustees who have argued the covenants prevent a homeless shelter — said he hoped the shelter would re-open its search for a location.

“I think there are probably other locations that would work for them,” Glass said. “But the reality is they perhaps need to change their approach a little bit about how they run the shelter, and their approach in how they are trying to find a location.”

Shelter leaders filed the lawsuit in an effort to clear up any question about whether the shelter could locate in the vacant warehouse. The business park’s board of trustees have argued the covenants allow only business, industrial and governmental uses to locate in the park. They contend, among other issues, that the shelter is prohibited because it is a residential use.

Pokorny did not decide that key issue. Instead, the judge said that because the shelter had not yet completed the $2 million purchase of the building — and doesn’t yet have all of its bank financing finalized — the lawsuit was premature.

“This court agrees with LCS it would be helpful and convenient to know how the court would rule if and when LCS is in a position to purchase the property, however, this court is not in the business of issuing advisory opinions,” Pokorny wrote.

If the shelter is unable to move to the new location, questions about the shelter’s future in downtown also are likely to arise. The shelter’s special use permit that allows it to operate downtown is set to expire this spring. When city commissioners last renewed the permit — over the objection of neighbors — they did so with the expectation that the shelter would be well on its way to a new location when the permit came back up for renewal. Whether city commissioners will be willing to issue another long-term permit for the shelter at the northeast corner of 10th and Kentucky street location is uncertain.

Comments

oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 2 months ago

The Planning Commission should not continue "conditional use permits". The city commission should not approve any. The Historic Resources commission is to discuss the "temporary" loafing shed at the north of the shelter. It needs to be removed. All this talk about historic this and historic that. how does then the aluminum carport become historic, if even temporary..

Mr. Henderson has had far enough time to develop a program but instead is glamoring for a bigger mousetrap. The commissioners sadly have been caught in the original trap and don[' know how to get out;. Just say NO>

Henderson has created more than a local problem, but rather a multi county problem. Why isn't he working with officials in Leavenworth, Jefferson, Shawnee, Franklin, Wyandotte and Johnson county to create a multi county shelter?

Why isn't Henderson required to live on site each time a "conditional use" permit is issued?

Will the shelter eventually create a situation very much like the incident that killed Harry Puckett?

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oldbaldguy 3 years, 2 months ago

Courts cannot make advisory opinions. The legal staff for the shelter screwed the pooch. I agree with Bingo, look at how City Missions runs its program. The popular impression of the Lawrence shelter, is it is a drop in for drunks and junkies. Maynot be true but preception is reality. How did Lawrence get in this positon in the first place? Olathe or Overland Park appear not to have this issue.

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Healthcare_Moocher 3 years, 2 months ago

125 new beds for vagrents, 150 new computers for vagrents, 15 or so new busses, free passes to boost ridership for vagrents. 15 new cops for vagrents. Money for the housing authority, bert nash, medical, dental, daycare.. you name it. Why would anyone want to work anymore?

We should make them plant money trees for their keep!

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northtown 3 years, 2 months ago

The golf course would be a good place-They-whoever could donatr it for a tax write off-But they still fit in better DOWNTOWN!!!!IS there iaany vacrancy laws in Lawrence-Oh forgot-the new jail we the tax payers buildt is full-New one in garnett that could take a few-arrest them and pass them out across the state!!!!! And when drnk or stoned you are on your own!!!!If they afford that ,they can afford some kind of shack to live in...Give it to them and they will abuse it-wait for the new library,then you will see.Think it is bad and smells now--Way to go Lawrence-such a wonderfull place!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Jean1183 3 years, 2 months ago

I agree with geekin_topekan, implement the "new" rules NOW at the current shelter location. If it will make such a big difference then maybe so many wouldn't be opposed when a different location IS found.

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consumer1 3 years, 2 months ago

Or, just let them be drunk and disorderly, abusive and threatening to people they meet without any consequences what so ever, after all, it's not their fault they are drunk everynight. Let's just keep enabling bad behavior.

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clovis_sangrail 3 years, 2 months ago

Isn't Alvamar Country Club still up for sale? It's a perfect place. House them in tents along the fairway and around the parking lot. There's a kitchen already there for feeding them, plus locker and shower facilties.

Keep the gold course, pro shop and food service open, and they can even learn trades -- gold course maintenance, retail sales, and the exciting and fast-paced food and beverage industry.

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overplayedhistory 3 years, 2 months ago

$cr#w the homeless, make more money by stepping on whoever necessary along the way, then build a big fence to keep them out. It is their fault for not being ruthless.

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northtown 3 years, 2 months ago

Move into the arts center-has it not lost some funding?May make the difference-and a nice parking garage across the street for the overflow-Keep them downtown-Keeps Lawrence looking good.....Rock On Larryville!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a mess you have....

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demonfury 3 years, 2 months ago

Just another example of Loring Henderson trying to shove his agenda down our throats. This is what happens when you put the cart in front of the horse Loring, you end up going nowhere fast. Hopefully the special use permit renewal this spring will fail and the shelter will have to relocate out of Lawrence. Or if the renewal does come up, the commission is smart enough to mandate a chemical free environment. Although that probably won't happen either.

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Liberty275 3 years, 2 months ago

Relocate them to the library and send the overflow to merril's and bozo's houses.

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blindrabbit 3 years, 2 months ago

There are workable positive outcome shelters all over the U.S., including the one in Topeka. The Lawrence City Commission toured that (Topeka) facility several years ago, learned much but adopted none of those concepts. Lawrence continues to gloss over the homeless situation by providing little long-term positive outcomes for their homeless clients. Being a "liberal" (Progressive) myself, I am ticked by the way The City and Mr. Henderson at the Drop-in Shelter have avoided the corrective issues. The do-gooders in town continue to provide a easy route to continued bad performance. Where are the incentives!!! We don't need Mr. Stepanopolis to comment on something he knows little about!

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MacHeath 3 years, 2 months ago

Is that the same Steve Glass that I used to know? I mean, is he a native? used to remodel houses? kind of a A@@ hole?

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Richard Payton 3 years, 2 months ago

Don't blame the Po Judge. Every Korny law has rules.

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couldBmeorU 3 years, 2 months ago

I agree that we need to separate residents at the facility .And yes they are residents!No matter how they came to be at that address is not to be judged.I have lived in Lawrence for 20 years and have met many different people.When I first came to Lawrence the homeless(characters)were part of Lawrence.We now have People from an upper class clientele /residents that are embarrassed by their fellow Jayhawkers situations.We shut down the Salvation Army.We want to clean up downtown.What happened to the street musicians?We have to wait till a grand sidewalk sale to see all the different (characters}.Really do the homeless citizens embarrass you that much or do you fear them.Wow move to LA and try to find some hometown pride.I guess a arcade or a movie theater may attract the wrong people ,downtown.Personally Downtown sucks compared to 15 years ago.No Pride just dollars.Embrace your town People that is if your from Lawrence.If not close your eyes to the poverty that you choose to witness when YOU moved to our town.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 2 months ago

the judge did not rule against the shelter locating to the site

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bd 3 years, 2 months ago

lets see $2 million for the new building divided by 200 homeless is $10 grand a each, sound good to me.

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CHKNLTL 3 years, 2 months ago

if property owners of vacant real estate were able to obtain large tax credits from the city/fed govt. to house the homeless i bet the ho-hum tune of this worn out song would change to a song and dance for the rich ---tax write-offs, yay!

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geekin_topekan 3 years, 2 months ago

I see another "temporary" extension to the present site. Then another...

I must agree 100% that the so-called NEW rules that the shelter would operate under must be implemented now. Idle promises are pointless (just ask an indian) until they are put into effect.

If the new shelter is to be dry, then why not start it right now?

I see a detox facility coming out of todays ruling. One that is long overdue.

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naturenut 3 years, 2 months ago

I guess they assume if we have no homeless shelter, we will eliminate homelessness. How is it that the jail is not seen as residential?

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gbulldog 3 years, 2 months ago

Lawrence has the ability to be creative to alleviate homelessness. Of couse, the Liberals would be aghast if a systems could be developed to elimnate the need for "soup kitchen" and facilities to house the homeless. Many of the homeless, except the mental ill dumped on the streets by "do gooders" and State budget cuts, can become productive members the city of Lawrence. However the program would need to be voluntary (any one and their families who chose not to particiapate would be run out of town) and would be taught the skills to live and a decent plce to sleep as a famility, provide they worked either at the facility or out side. The work, would finance the place and pay expenses. It would also provide services for those willing to work outside the facility. If Lawrence could develop such a model, what a great sevice it would do for our nation.

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BigPrune 3 years, 2 months ago

what about buying one of our hotels? Georgia Stephenopolopolis could buy it.

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Heather Perry 3 years, 2 months ago

i agree with right wing...lets make vagrancy a felony. Problem solved.

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mr_right_wing 3 years, 2 months ago

There are homeless / panhandlers downtown, so it makes sense that the shelter is there. How in the world are 'homeless' supposed to get out to this new location? Hitchhike? I guess they could get themselves thrown in jail, then they'd be in just the right spot.

Not even the empty buses go out to that area...

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

"“This court agrees with LCS it would be helpful and convenient to know how the court would rule if and when LCS is in a position to purchase the property, however, this court is not in the business of issuing advisory opinions,” Pokorny wrote."

Sounds like a judge who'd rather have someone else make the hard decision.

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The_Original_Bob 3 years, 2 months ago

"Borders would be a good location. They could then just rename it to Boarders." Andini

Golf clap. Well done, sir.

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sierraclub 3 years, 2 months ago

10 miles west of Topeka is open. They can put the Baker Wetlands next to the shelter. The shelter can be in charge of the wetlands. Win win for everyone!!!

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Scott Morgan 3 years, 2 months ago

Been here many moons and still don't understand people who think a wet shelter in a college town doesn't attract the criminal homeless.

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conservative 3 years, 2 months ago

The shelters best hope for future acceptance is to oust henderson and put someone in charge that will follow through on how the community thinks the shelter should be run. Step 1 it needs to be a dry shelter. Step 2 it should be for lawrence citizens, the continuing of allowing people to stay at the shelter for up to 3 months with no ties to the community and no requirement of attending programs is a major sore spot. Step 3 come up with a system for getting people the skills and help they need to get away from the shelter and return to a situation that allows them to take care of themselves.

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greenworld 3 years, 2 months ago

Whats funny is somebody started a non-approved site back in the tree's years ago and the city came in and shut it down and ran everybody off. Just because people where living in tents next to the river it was deemed unsafe and not a regulated site. God cant people just leave well enough alone and realize that these people can make it with nothing living whereever without little supervision and fight out there own fights. They have been doing it for years and if they want to live outdoors like animals is there anything really wrong with that. If they need a leader, have them put Simon in charge.

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jcoozy1978 3 years, 2 months ago

Maybe put a homeless people crossing sign out next to the deer crossing signs out on K 10. Moving homeless people next to a highway is about the Dumbest idea ever. First thing you see when you come into town is homeless people dodging traffic trying to cross the highway. I agree with bartstop. Load them up and relocate them to topeka.

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macon47 3 years, 2 months ago

HENDERSON BETTER DO HIS HOME WORK NEXT TIME AND FIND SOME ONE THAT WANTS THE SHELTER INSTEAD OF CRAMMING IT DOWN SOMEONES THROATS get all the homeless lovers to come up with a location in thier back yard

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smitty 3 years, 2 months ago

How is this law suit financed by the shelter...... volunteer attorneys for the homeless....city funds?.....grants?,........donations?

A frivolous suit financed how?

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jhawkinsf 3 years, 2 months ago

What should be absolutely clear is that a certain percentage of the homeless population will try to transition into permanent housing, a certain percentage cannot transition (due to mental illness or some other reason) and a certain percentage has no desire to transition. It's the latter group that causes so much concern and gives a bad name to the others. Those most qualified to recognize which group is which frequently have the least incentive to make that distinction. Until the various groups are separated and treated appropriately, we will keep having problems. Each group needs to be identified and either helped with compassion when needed or tough love when that is needed.

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seeker_of_truth 3 years, 2 months ago

Steve Glass - LRM paving contractors. Nothing more needs to be said.

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greenworld 3 years, 2 months ago

Why hasnt there been like 3 or 4 suggested sites for the homeless shelter?? Is this all the better they can locate the homeless is to put them out off k10 by the jail. That's like a slap in the face if you ask me. Why couldnt they suggest under both bridges next to city hall, that seems a little bit more reasonable. (sarcasm) ......I just noticed that they sure in the hell havent proposed anything out west...hint hint- dont put them near the rich side of town. here's an idea, there is an empty strip mall just down from the strip club in N lawrence, no chance of renovating that into something. Its already there, probably just needs to be gutted and a few small improvements and that would work fine. Let me guess that wouldnt work as its still to close to downtown which is where there trying to move them from.

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irvan moore 3 years, 2 months ago

thanks judge, appreciate you standing up for the law and the citizens.

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Zachary Stoltenberg 3 years, 2 months ago

How about we take the money raised so far, and buy bus and train tickets for anyone who would like to re-locate to where they have family/friends who are willing to take them in. I know other cites have done this with much success! If they are homeless by choice rather than circumstance, no amount or type of assistance is going to change that. It may sound harsh, but make them uncomfortable so they re-evaluate that choice. Then see if they want a bus ticket...

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Norma Jeane Baker 3 years, 2 months ago

I believe that as long as they insist upon operating as a wet shelter they will meet resistance everywhere they try to go. Except maybe Topeka.

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Andini 3 years, 2 months ago

Borders would be a good location. They could then just rename it to Boarders.

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