Residents protest West Lawrence hotel
Lawrence city commissioners got the message loud and clear Tuesday night: There are plenty of West Lawrence residents who don’t want a hotel in their backyards.
About 30 residents of the West Lawrence Neighborhood Association came to the City Commission’s weekly meeting Tuesday to protest a change in city code that would open the door for a hotel to be built in the industrial-business park near Bob Billings Parkway and Wakarusa Drive.
No hotel actually has submitted any plans — nor shown any interest — to build a hotel in the area. But members of the city’s planning staff proposed a code change that would allow hotels in the city’s Industrial Business Park zoning district anyway. Staff members proposed the change because the city recently approved a change that allows a hotel to be built in the zoning district near the Hallmark Cards plant along the Kansas Turnpike. Staff members said while they were making that change, they wanted to determine if hotels made sense in other types of zoning districts.
Neighbors came out in force to say a hotel did not make sense for the Bob Billings and Wakarusa area. Neighbors said a hotel would be too close to residential uses, and likely would create noise, light and traffic problems.
Commissioners on a 5-0 vote sided with neighbors. Several commissioners said a small-scale, extended stay hotel may make sense in the area someday, but they wanted to see a specific plan before opening the door to general hotel development.
Industrial rezoning decision postponed
Debate over a piece of proposed industrial property along the Kansas Turnpike northwest of Lawrence will have to wait for a week.
Commissioners postponed discussion on a request to rezone 51 acres at the southwest corner of N 1800 Road and E 1000 Road from suburban home residential to general industrial.
The property is just east of the Lecompton interchange on the Kansas Turnpike. A development group led by Lawrence businessmen Steve and Duane Schwada are seeking the rezoning so they can begin marketing the property as a potential site for industrial projects that need easy access to the turnpike. Several neighbors in the area have objected to the proposal, saying the area is too far from the rest of the city to accommodate such a use.
Commissioners will consider the request at their 6:35 p.m. meeting on Jan. 25.
City advances ‘Let’s Move’ program
Commissioners approved a request to move forward with the application for Lawrence to become a “Let’s Move” community.
The federal program focuses on efforts to decrease childhood obesity. The program doesn’t cost anything for a community to join but does require cities to work to make improvements in four areas: helping parents make healthy family choices; improving the health of schools; increasing physical activity opportunities; and making healthy food affordable and accessible.
City staff members said several local organization already are working on those issues and that by joining the Let’s Move program they would have access to branding and marketing materials.
Commissioners unanimously agreed to move forward with the application.