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Archive for Friday, January 21, 2011

Town Talk: Question about Quiznos future; trash service streak continues; Corliss to be evaluated; Oread issues upcoming

January 21, 2011

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News and notes from around town:

• Fans of Quiznos toasted sandwiches are perhaps wondering what is going on with the restaurant on South Iowa Street. The Quiznos in the Tower Plaza shopping area at 2540 Iowa has been closed for several days. A sign in the window said the store would reopen on Jan. 17, but it did not. Several notes from UPS and beverage distributors are stuck on the window, which makes it clear they’re not sure what’s going on either.

The landlord for the Tower Plaza development said he expects the store to reopen soon. But he said he’s been told the store will reopen as corporately owned rather than franchise-owned store. The landlord said that’s the same situation that has happened with the Quiznos store on West Sixth Street. I’ve got a call into Quiznos’ corporate offices in Denver. I’ll let you know what I find out.

• Among all the weather-related cancellations yesterday, one caught my eye. Kansas City-based Deffenbaugh Industries suspended on Thursday trash services in several of the communities it serves. That included canceling curbside recycling pickups in Lawrence for the day. That caused me to wonder when was the last time the city of Lawrence suspended its trash service because of weather. I’ve been here 19 years and couldn’t remember a time. Officials in the sanitation department did some checking for me, and couldn’t find a record of when the last time trash service was canceled because of weather. But they’re confident in saying that there hasn’t been a weather-related cancellation in at least 35 years.

I bring this up for two reasons. One, I rode on the back of a trash truck for a day last year, and it was plenty tough without snow. The second reason is the future of the city’s trash system will be up for discussion at City Hall in the coming months. One issue that has been brought up is privatization of the system. Commissioners at their Feb. 8 meeting are expected to discuss creating a new task force that will study several options for how to change the trash system in the future.

• City commissioners on Monday will get together to evaluate City Manager David Corliss. Commissioners will meet in executive session from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at City Hall. Corliss is the city’s top executive and is one of only two city employees whom commissioners are directly responsible for overseeing. (The city auditor is the other.) Corliss is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the city. But on a broader level, a big part of his job is implementing the goals that are set by the City Commission.

In case you have forgotten, here’s a list of the city’s goals and the city manager’s take on progress that has been made:

• Economic development: Promote economic development efforts to “provide varied work and business opportunities.” Progress: new economic development policy; TIFF and TDD successes at The Oread and at Bauer Farms; successful launch of the new incubator on West Campus and its related facility at Bob Billings and Wakarusa; acquisition of the former Farmland Industries Fertilizer plant.

• Planned growth: Encourage growth that protects “our environment, neighborhoods and cultural features.” Progress: Adoption of the International Codes; enactment of traditional neighborhood design code; adoption of several sector plans.

• Community building: Create social capital and celebrate our heritage. Progress: Designation of the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area; the 2008 Get Downtown event; efforts to preserve the Santa Fe Depot in East Lawrence.

• Environmental issues: “Integrate the environment into our decisions as we work towards a sustainable city.” Progress: Voter support of transit system; hiring of sustainability coordinator; increased use of alternative fuels for transit vehicles.

• Neighborhood quality: “Improve the livability of all Lawrence neighborhoods.” Progress: Additional resources devoted to street maintenance; sidewalk “gap” programs implemented; additional resources for fire and police departments; Burroughs Creek Trail completed in eastern Lawrence; brick street project completed along New York Street; Clinton Parkway multi-use path replaced in western Lawrence.

• Transportation: “Improve access for all citizens.” Progress: Increased coordination with the KU transit system; Second and Locust Street intersection improvements; various street and transit improvements related to the sales tax approved by voters in 2008.

• Downtown development: “Enhance the vitality of downtown while maintaining it as a unique community treasure.” Progress: Resources dedicated to downtown infrastructure; community events focused on downtown.”

• Service delivery: “Provide excellent city services consistent with resources available.” Progress: Increased staffing of police department and new equipment for the fire department; infrastructure improvements.

I've paraphrased some of the goals and progress reports If you want to see the full document, it is here.

• If you are interested in Oread neighborhood issues, mark your calendar for Tuesday night. The City Commission will consider changes to the city’s multifamily zoning code and also to the regulations governing boarding houses. The zoning code change would allow greater density in the city’ RM 32 zoning district. The boarding house issue would change some parking standards, and also would remove the requirement for some boarding houses to get a special use permit from the city. Instead, the houses would be allowed as part of the zoning code. Both the RM 32 zoning and boarding houses have been major issues in the Oread neighborhood.

• Several of the boarding house issues were part of a shake-up in the composition of the Oread Neighborhood Association’s board of directors last year. The neighborhood, which is predominately rental, now has several of the larger landlords in the area on its board. That left some longtime board members and residents upset. It appears some residents still are. Candice Davis, a longtime Oread resident and former board member, recently sent a letter to the city’s Community Development Advisory Committee cautioning it to take any statements from the Oread Neighborhood Association with a grain of salt.

“As you know,” Davis writes, “ the ONA was essentially hijacked last winter by a group of landlords who do not live in the neighborhood and have not shown an interest in the neighborhood in previous years. Their present interest seems to be their rental businesses.”

Davis goes on to say that several residents in the Oread Neighborhood are considering forming a “resident association” in the near future.

I put a call into one of the Oread Neighborhood board members to see if the board has any thoughts on the subject. I’ll let you know if I hear anything.

Comments

booklover2 3 years, 11 months ago

I enjoy and appreciate your information updates.

otto 3 years, 11 months ago

Chad --- Keep up the good work. I always enjoy reading your articles.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 11 months ago

Core-less to be evaluated......by Larry, Curly, Moe, Doufuss and Sleepy????????

What a crock! Talk about the blind, deaf, stupid and moribund leading , well, the blind, deaf, stupid, moribund, and yeah, core-less. The lame foxes guarding the sleeping hen house.

MarchSadness 3 years, 11 months ago

Town Talk is always good stuff! Keep it up!

JayhawkAlum03 3 years, 11 months ago

Any word on whether Schlotzkey's will ever reopen in a new location? When the old location closed, there was initially a note on the door mentioning a new location soon. Clearly, that hasn't panned out yet, but I still have a little hope that it will reappear some day.

DVLPER 3 years, 11 months ago

I agree, a schlotzkeys would be great!

Cindy Yulich 3 years, 11 months ago

This column is regularly full of great information, Chad. Keep it up!

mr_economy 3 years, 11 months ago

Chad,

Is there any way you could check on the story with Scarlet Orchid? I loved their food and actually have several Restaurant.com certificates I wanted to use there, but they seem to have completely disappeared. The building is gutted, there's no sign indicating what happened, and the phone number has been disconnected.

Scott Overfield 3 years, 11 months ago

Didn't realize that the Scarlet Orchid even closed, that's a bummer. Good food and atmosphere.

Stephanie Harris 3 years, 11 months ago

Mr. Econ: I also had several Restaurant.com certificates for them and I contacted Restaurant.com and they gave me a credit. It's really too bad that Scarlet Orchid is gone...it was my favorite.

irvan moore 3 years, 11 months ago

i can't imagine corliss not getting a good evaluation, he appears to do everything they tell him to do and doesn't question their judgement. on a positive side i think the city trash service is great, please don't sell us out to a private contractor who can raise our rates and cut our services.

monkeyhawk 3 years, 11 months ago

“As you know,” Davis writes, “ the ONA was essentially hijacked last winter by a group of landlords who do not live in the neighborhood and have not shown an interest in the neighborhood in previous years. Their present interest seems to be their rental businesses.”

Oh, Candy baby, don't be like that. Their equity is just as valid as yours, and it would be ludicrous if their interest was your well-being, rather than their own businesses.

Catalano 3 years, 11 months ago

Oh, monkeyhawk, darlin', you just said it..."their own BUSINESSES". Yep, those landlords are running BUSINESSES all right. And screwing the neighborhood six ways from Sunday every chance they get. They don't give a $h!t about people who actually own their property and live there...they're just absentee landlords who only care about how many zeroes they can get for rent each month. Maybe they could monitor their slumlord buddies who run properties into the ground and create blight for Oread. It would be ludicrous for property owners who actually live in Oread if their interest was in the well-being of the BUSINESS OWNERS instead of their own personal stake in the neighborhood.

flyin_squirrel 3 years, 11 months ago

Wow, Candy Davis is writing letters saying the ONA she was voted off should be taken with a grain of salt, and now wants to start her own association! From what I understand the ONA meeting have higher attendance now than they ever had, and there was another election where the turnover was minimal from the last "takeover" she described (and guess what, her district didn't vote for her to be their representative). I guess she doesn't like the fact her "tea parties for 2" that were called ONA meetings are now actually attended by much of the neighborhood.

Catalano 3 years, 11 months ago

"...much of the neighborhood"? You might want to revise that to "many non-resident property owners"? (Think BUSINESSES.) And when I lived in Oread and attended board meetings (no, I was never on the board) they were way more than "tea parties for 2" so I guess you were never there, huh?

flyin_squirrel 3 years, 11 months ago

"Think businesses", ok. The one business I can think of is the one Candy Davis runs out of her house. The one that was never registered with the city.

Or how about her rental properties...

And wasn't she the President of the ONA that wrote a letter of recommendation to the city on building the Oread Inn "Bar District/Hotel"? Lets see, a hotel/bar complex with an occupancy of over 1000 with 200 underground parking spaces that only valet parking gets to use. And she complains about the parking problem in the Oread from some boarding houses.

I think Candy doesn't know which end she is speaking from...

pinecreek 3 years, 11 months ago

RE: Quiznos-- Thought that I'd read online this past week that Quiznos expanded too fast and Subway was killing them head to head, they are likely to pull back nearly 1000 stores nationwide this year. They also had layoffs at the Corporate HQ in Denver on Jan 11; will try to find that other story and post a link.

sr80 3 years, 11 months ago

i heard quiznos packed up and moved to bejing,they a better chance of success with 3 billon mouths to fill.

christy kennedy 3 years, 11 months ago

Thank you Candy, for all your hard work. And thank you Chad for all the info.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 11 months ago

"Don't you understand that ONA was nothing more than a ploy for the city and a guise to get lots of money for Swarts and crew to squander around town?"

And it was such a good ploy that you staged a coup so you could take over their protection rackets, right corn cob?

Alceste 3 years, 11 months ago

Actually, the protection aspect of our neighborhood is under my personal control.

Needless to say, business is booming.

Too, I am going to have to report on this letter Davis wrote in an unauthorized fashion no less to the gang over at Tri-Lateral and The Family. Dougie Coe is going to want to know about this.

While the protection business is an excellent business, even I have to purchase protection from Doug. He's a great guy.

WaxAndWane 3 years, 11 months ago

Quizno's is a franchise nightmare. There are numerous instances where Quizno's corporate makes it exceedingly difficult for franchise owners to succeed, even driving one of them to suicide. A few years ago they gave a "free" restaurant to a down-on-her-luck viewer of The Ellen Degeneres Show. But after the spotlight went down, they (corporate) took the restaurant back from her without explanation. Do a wikipedia search and read about the class action lawsuit Quizno's is currently facing. They are also the people that run Smashburger, which is why I won't eat there.

Bob Forer 3 years, 11 months ago

Thanks for the heads up. I read the Wikipedia article. Wow, what a bunch of %^$%#@s, nasty folks who own the company. I won't be eating at Quizno's anymore.

DeMontfort 3 years, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

canofwhoopassks 3 years, 11 months ago

Congratulations on the long streak Solid Waste, you guys work when a lot of people wont even get out of the house, it is amazing how well you take care of the customers is the city. Thank you for the dedication that you show us. I just wonder all the people that had wanted Deffenbaugh to work in the city, what are they thinking now, how much of that recycling got picked up on Thursday, Deffenbaugh we really see where your dedication is, only thing is, it is not with your customers.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 11 months ago

The boarding house issue is a city wide issue. Any zoning changes can impact all neighborhoods let's not kid ourselves.

Multiple family dwelling issues are city wide issues. Neighborhoods from all parts of Lawrence,Kansas do have issues with multiple family dwellings and will have with boarding houses.

Think of boarding houses as a multiple family dwelling with maybe 15 times as many tenants.

These developers are wanting to get away with .5 parking space per bedroom. Has anyone ever meant anyone who owned a half of a vehicle? In Lawrence,Kansas rental properties should provide 3 off street parking spaces per bedroom.......or perhaps two off street parking spaces at least. YES two off street parking spaces per bedroom.

My guess if an all points bulletin were put out to all neighborhoods asking for how many off street parking spaces rental property owners should provide per bedroom I feel confident TWO off street parking spaces per bedroom would be the consensus.

Property owners might come back with we cannot make money if we are forced to comply with logic. Perhaps the answer should be don't build! Lawrence is over saturated with rental properties which brings the question why do banks support over saturating a market?

flyin_squirrel 3 years, 11 months ago

Congrats Merrill on actually typing something, not copying and pasting.

But "Perhaps the answer should be don't build" shows how little you know about this situation. These are not houses that were built recently, but houses from the early 1900's that were originally built as boarding houses. And many of them are in disrepair due to neglect. So what do you suggest be done with 5000 square foot houses in the Oread? 1. Tear them down, and build apartments. Then it will be 1 car per bedroom. 2. Leave them as is, and let them fall apart or catch on fire. Most are split up into numerous apartments, sometimes up to 8. And no parking requirements are needed since they haven't been site planned. 3. Remodel them so they last for many more years, which brings them up to fire code. But all the lots in the Oread are 50 ft, so you could only have 5 parking spaces, which per your recommendation would mean it is a 5000 square foot 2 bedroom house (talk about a waste of resources...)

Forcing more parking spaces per bedroom is only going to increase the urban sprawl of Lawrence, which will increase roads, taxes, and infrastructure without any increase in jobs. Oh wait, I am starting to sound like Merrill....

George_Braziller 3 years, 11 months ago

I was at the Quizno store on 6th street a couple of weeks ago and was informed as soon as I walked in the door that the oven was broken and that a repair man had been called. It would be fixed by the end of the day.

Sandwich in a microwave? Nope. They don't have one because the ovens "never" have problems and corporate won't let them purchase one.

How about a glass of iced tea? Nope. That machine isn't working either.

They have to have a machine to make tea?

Sunny Parker 3 years, 11 months ago

If Candice and such don't like the way the rentals are being used, maybe she should buy each and every one and use them the way she see's fit.

SoccerGenius 3 years, 10 months ago

Lawrence is fortunate to have David Corliss as the city manager. He is a true professional and manages many responsibiilties with great insight. Keep up the good work Dave!

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