Archive for Friday, April 6, 2012

City commission to consider ban on RV parking near South Park

April 6, 2012


Happy campers are beginning to make city officials less than happy.

Lawrence city commissioners on Tuesday will consider approving a new ordinance that will make it illegal for two long-term campers to set up make-shift living quarters in public parking spots in front of South Park.

"Mayor Mike"

Michael Tanner talks about how he got the nickname "Mayor Mike" and also about his new home, a shack built on a trailer that he pulls from his van. Enlarge video

“Massachusetts Street is not meant to be a mobile home park, for sure,” Mayor Bob Schumm said.

At their weekly meeting, commissioners will consider an ordinance that will make it illegal to park camping trailers, recreational vehicles and other similar vehicles of a certain size in the public parking places along several city streets that abut South Park. Specifically, the ordinance will prohibit camping-oriented vehicles in spots on: Massachusetts Street between 11th and South Park streets; South Park Street from Vermont to New Hampshire streets; and Vermont Street from South Park to 11th streets.

The ordinance would allow for a $50 fine each day. After a second offense, the city would be authorized to tow the vehicle.

Michael Tanner, a Lawrence street musician, has been camping in front of South Park in a wooden, home-made trailer since mid-2011, he estimated. At least one other individual regularly uses a parking spot as a camping spot.

City code currently allows the longer-term parking of vehicles in non-residential areas, as long as the vehicles are moved from the parking spots at least every 48 hours.

Tanner said he complies with that requirement and resents the city for trying to disrupt his living arrangements.

“They want me to lose everything I own so I have to lay in that (homeless) shelter and sleep in slop,” Tanner said. “They don’t like it when somebody like me pulls themselves out of the gutter.”

Tanner does have an acrimonious history with Lawrence City Hall. Most notably, Tanner was responsible for building a homeless camp on city property near the Kansas River, just north of the Santa Fe Depot. The city razed those structures in 2008, and Tanner has said repeatedly that he has never forgiven the city for those actions.

City officials, though, said they have had several complaints in recent weeks about Tanner and the other man who are living next to the park and playground area. Schumm said he thinks there are potential health concerns by allowing the activity, such as the potential for inappropriate disposal of sewage.

In a November Journal-World article, Tanner said he used city facilities — such as the nearby Community Building — for showers and other basic services.

Schumm said he has asked city staff members to research whether there are other areas people could legally park their campers in the city. Schumm said if there are not, the individuals could rent space in a mobile home park or campground area.

“The city streets don’t owe them a long-term camping spot,” Schumm said.

Commissioners will meet at 6:35 p.m. on Tuesday at City Hall.


consumer1 2 years ago

Probably sooner than later, this guys van is going to break down. Since he has no visible income, his van will need to be towed. Then he is going to have to live in, What did he call it? the slop at the shelter? He is a very angry man.


oneeye_wilbur 2 years ago

the commission under the direction of the new/old once again mayor would receive more credibility if the commission started with downtown to clean it instead of worrying about two old crapped out vehicles on mass. heck there are cars all over town.

Mr. Schumm, start with the parking lot that you want to soon give away to Fritzels or the highest backdoor offer.

you see, those electrical transformers are fire hazards with the trash around them inside of chain link fence, and then the trees in the parking lots all need to have limbs raised, if the city staff can't get it done, bring Westar in , they will butcher them just mighty fine to open up sight lines in the parking lot(s).

All this fuss about neighborhoods and what goes on and what should go on, well the Downtown Lawrence neighborhood which has been heavily subsidizied for years by the taxpayers is no showplace.

Those two vehicles on Mass only contribute to the ambience as the Chamber likes to promote Lawrence as quaint and rustic.


Jayhawk1958 2 years ago

I'm tired of the homeless taking advantage of this community. Our city is TOO NICE to people they shouldn't be nice to. Their is a KOA campground available. If you can't afford it then too bad and move on. You can't allow human feces in public areas.


Alceste 2 years ago

Alceste believes it will be just great if those whom this new city rule/regulation/ordinance impacts shall elect to park their thingys out in the neighborhoods of west Lawrence (AKA: East Topeka)....and in front of the homes of college football coaches, athletic directors, basketball coaches. and other very well heeled members of the "community". Let the rich folk deal with parking matters/concerns/issues/problems for a change.

Too, the residents of the "RVs" in question may well find they're in much more serene and comfortable residential neighborhoods instead of the crime laden sectors of town.....such as "downtown" Lawrence. Heck, let 'em park out front of Bob Schumm's house!


BruceWayne 2 years ago

Ban soggy fries...and fake barbecue. But always no matter what SHOUT PEACE.


jaybird79 2 years ago

Schumm has his office given to him and whats the first thing he does? Directs an ordinance change at 2 individuals within a mile of his crappy fry joint. He's not going to use that position to further his own interests, no way! Look out Schumm, I'm gonna throw you back in that porta john at Clinton for not paying for your coke.


Dummash 2 years ago

The county would not let me live in an rv on my property while building a home. Why should this guy get to live parkside?


abit_pssd 2 years ago

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


Rick Aldrich 2 years ago

But why ? Their so beautiful.


FalseHopeNoChange 2 years ago

This sounds like an "opportunity" for Larryville Menials. "Bucket Brigades" could be formed by selecting those Liberaltines strong enough to lft a full bucket properly. No "bending" at the waist allowed.


irvan moore 2 years ago

i noticed it was gone a little while ago when i went down mass


scopi_guy 2 years ago

Just wondering if the vehicle and trailer have tags registered in DG county with taxes/tags currently paid (would have to have a physical address to register it to, though...but could have a PO box I guess) and if so, how could it pass the State inspection needed to get it registered if it's "home made"? I've never seen it myself, but have read it's a home made self-described shack on wheels being towed by a van. When I see traditional trailers on the highway being towed by a vehicle, both the vehicle and the trailer have tags. When I was a kid, we had a fishing boat we'd tow behind the truck on a frame and it had a tag and working tail/turn lights.

I'm all for doing your own thing as long as you're not hurting anyone and you're within the law, but this seems to be pushing things a bit. I'd feel the same way if someone was doing the same thing with a brand new beautiful expensive 'store bought' trailer.


Deb Engstrom 2 years ago

Seems like people have too much time on their hands if this is a problem for them. Leave them alone! There's plenty of room on my street if they have to move,though. It will keep the students from parking in front of my house and vomiting on my yard.


del888 2 years ago

I say let 'em stay, but enforce a $500 PER DAY camping fee.


Mollie New Leaf 2 years ago

“They want me to lose everything I own so I have to lay in that (homeless) shelter and sleep in slop,” Tanner said. “They don’t like it when somebody like me pulls themselves out of the gutter.”

I agree with the guy who said this guy is a drama queen. They're not taking your crap trailer, they're making you move it. Stop whining and move. I'm surprised it's been allowed to go on this long!

And jealous? HA! Hardly. That's a false dilemma. Being "jealous" of his crap shack has nothing to do with why we want it removed from the park.


Gotalife 2 years ago

This is FANTASTIC news!! The ordinance can't come too soon. Deec...seriously, "jealous"....LOL. Yes, everyone is jealous of living in a crap mobile, with a pee can by the back door.


deec 2 years ago

Y'all sure are worried about this guy living without owing rent. Jealous?


OldEnuf2BYurDad 2 years ago

“They don’t like it when somebody like me pulls themselves out of the gutter.”

Really? To be honest, he IS living in the gutter. And he IS homeless. That's not a mailing address. He doesn't have home delivery of mail. He's a homeless guy who lives in the gutter with slightly more style than others have lived in the gutter, but he's not the picture of "overcoming".

He's NOT being evicted. He has many other miles and miles of road where he can park his home. He's not going to be sleeping in a snow bank because he can't park on the 1200 block of Mass.

He's a squatter and a drama queen.


shleppy 2 years ago

if these guys were a little less conspicuous this would not be an issue. when u park a giant crappy rv on mass. people are gonna start sniffin around.


matthew2600 2 years ago

"Tanner said he used city facilities." So he hates the city, is offended by everything they've done to him but is also willing to take advantage of things the city offers? Good thing the rest of us have normal jobs and pay our taxes so he can use those facilities.


cheeseburger 2 years ago

The incoming mayor is already scoring points with me. This should have been dealt with long ago, but of course Past Mayor Cramwell was too busy with his own special agenda to be concerned about what was best for the city as a whole.


geekin_topekan 2 years ago

"Schumm said if there are not, the individuals could rent space in a mobile home park or campground area. “The city streets don’t owe them a long-term camping spot,” Schumm said. ++++ Geez, next thing you know you'll make him buy health insurance!


geekin_topekan 2 years ago

It aint camping when its all you have in the world.


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