Archive for Thursday, January 20, 2011

Town Talk: Will city have snow shoveling inspectors out on the weekend?; Eudora trying to make development news; retail sales numbers down

January 20, 2011, 10:58 a.m. Updated January 20, 2011, 11:24 a.m.


News and notes from around town:

• Expect an interesting ruling on snow shoveling to come out of Lawrence City Hall today. The city’s snow shoveling ordinance requires snow and ice to be removed from public sidewalks within 48 hours following the end of a winter event. For this snowstorm, that means by 8 a.m. on Saturday. That brings up the question of whether the city will have inspectors working on Saturday to determine if sidewalks have been shoveled. The city certainly pays a lot of overtime to city employees to clear the streets of snow, but it may be a different matter when it comes to inspecting sidewalks. Or perhaps the city will just say, “Maybe we will, maybe we won’t.” That would force sidewalk scofflaws to ask themselves just how lucky they feel.

UPDATE: The city has confirmed that it won’t have inspectors out this weekend to determine whether sidewalks have been shoveled by 8 a.m. Saturday. Instead, the city will begin inspections on Monday, even though that is about 48 hours longer than the ordinance allows sidewalks to be covered. The city also noted that Mother Nature may make the issue moot. If significant snowfall occurs between now and Saturday, the ordinance would give residents an additional 48 hours to clear the sidewalks anyway. One note, though, the city doesn’t consider snow flurries to be significant snowfall.

• The city of Eudora and the Eudora school district are trying to catch the attention of Lawrence developers and others. They have what may be a pretty enticing carrot: 15 acres of property along a busy Kansas Highway 10 interchange. The city and school district are seeking proposals to redevelop the site of the former Nottingham Elementary and the district’s former football stadium, which are located on Eudora’s Church Street interchange on K-10.

The city and school district hope that a successful retail development can be located on the site. Eudora City Administrator John Harrenstein said a study found Eudora is losing at least $7 million of retail sales a year to other communities. He said if a development could capture $4 million to $5 million of those lost sales, it would be a great boost to the Eudora economy. But the city and the school district will be open to proposals other than retail development.

“I think the city and the school district both understand the market will dictate what goes on that piece of property,” Harrenstein said. “We want to leave it to the experts to tell us what will be successful on that spot.”

The property — adjacent to the city’s new recreation center and across the street from the city’s grocery store, Dairy Queen, Kwik Shop and other commercial businesses — is located on what is generally considered the busiest corner in Eudora. But Harrenstein said he thinks the right type of development could also attract commuters off K-10.

The city is seeking proposals by March 15. Then the school district, which owns the property, will have to decide if an acceptable purchase price has been proposed. At that point, city leaders will have to determine if the project meets planning guidelines, and also deal with any incentives requests that may come with the proposal.

“We haven’t identified any specific incentives, but we understand in this economic environment developers likely will be requesting them,” Harrenstein said. “The city council is open to discussing them.”

• Put 2010 down as another year of decline for the Lawrence retail industry, at least according to sales tax statistics. The city recently received its December sales tax payment, and the numbers are down for both the month and the year. The numbers indicate retail sales in Lawrence were down by about 1.2 percent in 2010. The December report — which actually measures sales made from late October to mid November — show sales during that holiday shopping period were down by 2.2 percent. The January report, which should be out in a few weeks, will measure the critical late November to mid-December shopping season, and should give a glimpse at what type of holiday season retailers had.

For those of you who care about the technical details, here are the numbers: The city collected $20.21 million in sales taxes generated from the countywide and citywide 1 percent sales taxes in 2010. In 2009, the total was $20.55 million. The city also collected about $6.6 million from the infrastructure and transit sales taxes that voters approved in 2009. But those totals weren’t included in the 2010 vs 2009 comparison that I did because the transit and infrastructure taxes weren’t collected for a full year in 2009.


MarcoPogo 7 years, 5 months ago

Why would the city need to send out inspectors when Obamarocks can phone in all of the locations that are in violation of the ordinance?

MarcoPogo 7 years, 5 months ago

If you're going to bash the intelligence of others, please remove unneeded apostrophes.

jehovah_bob 7 years, 5 months ago

Anyone with the name Obamarocks will command some authority in Lawrence, therefore Obamarocks provides his/her own verification. And I heard he/she will be out on Saturday doing inspections, the city will offer trade in Dunkin' Donuts.

lionheart72661 7 years, 5 months ago

All I know is here in Lawrence i live on a busy street that when i shovel the sidewalk the road plow comes by and covers it back up so no sense in shoveling there. From what I understand in regards to that those of us that live in these areas are exempt from this law. City covers it city needs to clean it! Right?

gccs14r 7 years, 5 months ago

Let us know how that works out for you. When that happened to me, I just went out and re-shoveled before the new stuff had a chance to clump together and stick.

tonytman 7 years, 5 months ago

who sould get the fine when we find a city sidwalk not sholved in 48 hours the person who calls it in you need to check yourself before you check me and yes if i thank that if the city snow plow covers your shoveled sidewalk they need to fix it. I have to pay property tax and you want to fine me for my property how about a worning or two before you fine me

irvan moore 7 years, 5 months ago

they did a great job cleaning the lot and sidewalks at the library, to bad Flanders closed it today because of the weather. what a wimp.

kernal 7 years, 5 months ago

It's also possible that he was going to be too short of staff today due to the schools being closed and residential streets not plowed as of this morning.

Terry Sexton 7 years, 5 months ago

I don't think the library should be closed today. That's not right. It's not snowing anymore. Grrr & grumble.

puddleglum 7 years, 5 months ago

and still the armpit of douglas county!

dyke1986 7 years, 5 months ago

I got up at 5 am so i could get my driveway and sidewalk done before work. just got done and about to back out of my driveway. I notice a ROAD grader coming around the corner. I thought to myself this isnt going to be good. I was correct , he went by my drive and left a drift about three feet high and two feet wide!! So i had to go back and get the shovel and dig out a path so i could go to work. Could we leave the road graders parked and maybe use something like a SNOWplow? When he was done the street looked good! Nobody in the neighborhood could get out of their driveway to use the street, but the street looked good.

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