Archive for Tuesday, April 10, 2012

City votes in favor of banning camping trailers, large vehicles from spots near South Park

Michael Tanner, a Lawrence man who lives in a shack built upon a trailer that is pulled by van, explains his opposition to a city ordinance that would prohibit the parking of large vehicles like his along Massachusetts Street by South Park on Monday, April 9, 2012. On Tuesday, city commissioners passed the ordinance with a 5-0 vote.

Michael Tanner, a Lawrence man who lives in a shack built upon a trailer that is pulled by van, explains his opposition to a city ordinance that would prohibit the parking of large vehicles like his along Massachusetts Street by South Park on Monday, April 9, 2012. On Tuesday, city commissioners passed the ordinance with a 5-0 vote.

April 10, 2012


An ordinance to ban camping trailers and other large vehicles from parking on public streets near South Park won unanimous approval from Lawrence city commissioners Tuesday night, despite accusations the city was unfairly targeting a pair of long-term campers.

“This is a public safety issue in my mind,” said City Commissioner Mike Amyx. “Staff should be commended for coming up with a solution.”

City commissioners were told by their assistant city attorney that the city had received complaints about two large, camperlike vehicles that are routinely parked on the west side of Massachusetts Street near South Park. Specifically, residents had raised concerns about the large vehicles blocking the lines of sight for pedestrians trying to use a nearby crosswalk.

But Michael Tanner, one of two individuals who routinely parks a camper along South Park, said the commission’s motives were much more about removing individuals they found objectionable.

“City workers should just be doing their jobs and not worrying about us and our pursuit of freedom,” said Tanner, who is a street musician who frequently performs downtown.

Tanner accused city workers and officials of harassing him while he slept in his homemade camper by driving by and honking their horns or directing sprinklers in the park to spray his camper on the street.

City commissioners, as they must with all ordinances, are required to approve the ordinance on “second reading” at an upcoming meeting before the law will take effect. Tanner asked commissioners to hold another public hearing on the ordinance at next week’s meeting before giving final approval to the parking prohibition. Tanner was late to Tuesday’s meeting, and he did not make his comments to commissioners until after they already had voted on the issue.

Commissioners did hear from one resident who said her concerns went beyond the two vehicles blocking the view of pedestrians.

“I always wonder what is in that bucket,” said Jane Pennington, who referred to a bucket that routinely hangs off the back of one of the two campers. “I think the impression those vehicles gives to visitors driving through our community does not win us any favors.”

The ordinance, once given final approval, would 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.

In other news, commissioners:

• Received a presentation on the U.S. 40 and K-10 Area Transportation Plan. The plan recommended both traffic signals and turn lanes be added to the Sixth Street and SLT intersections. Spokesmen with the Kansas Department of Transportation and with the private consulting firm hired to conduct the study, BG Consultants, said traffic during peak afternoon hours was beginning to stack up on the entrance ramps and threatened to stretch onto the freeway.

Mike Moriarty, a KDOT manager, said he anticipated the department would seek funding for the traffic signals and the turn lanes in the next two years. The project is estimated to have a construction cost of $1.5 million.

• Unanimously agreed to start the process to rezone property at the northwest corner of Sixth Street and the South Lawrence Trafficway for a possible youth fieldhouse/recreation center.

The city’s planning staff is recommending commercial zoning for the 146 acres at the corner, about 50 of which would be used for the recreation center. Tuesday’s action allows the rezoning request to be heard by the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission in May.


rachelind 5 years ago

I'm just... I'm just so proud of our city! Such.. an.. effective group of folks!

(Sorry, I got a little choked up there!)

Noweigh 5 years ago

Thanks to the commission for exercising some basic common sense!

JackMcKee 5 years ago

Jane Pennington? I had no idea she was still in Lawrence.

Anyway, this guy just needs to learn that living in a community isn't all about what HE wants and desires. It's called acting like a big boy.

deec 5 years ago

"this guy just needs to learn that living in a community isn't all about what HE wants and desires." Unless your name is Compton, Fritzel, or the like.

JackMcKee 5 years ago

What do Compton and Fritzel have to do with this story?

ModerateOne 5 years ago

Jack: Compton and Fritzel are exactly like Tanner. They pay millions in local taxes to fund our police, fire, library, etc. and provide hundreds of jobs to hard working people, just like Tanner.

deec 5 years ago

Well one of them owns an eyesore that is probably also a public safety hazard right downtown, for starters. But he won't fix it up unless the city pays him some development... money. The city is clearly run at the whim of the developers mentioned and their friends. I thought that was clear from my concise two sentence post.

irvan moore 5 years ago

i watched the meeting on tv, the campers and their friend didn't really help their cause a lot by speaking

collective82 5 years ago

Do you know if thats posted anywhere?

John Hamm 5 years ago

Well this is typical Lawrence. I own a Motor Home - don't drive an automobile. This area is one of the few in this God forsaken Liberal town where I can actually park my vehicle. Now it's going to be illegal for me to park there. Pray tell great Liberals where am I supposed to park to shop downtown? Reactionary Idiots!

Joe Hyde 5 years ago

A good public parking lot sits on the north side of the Kaw River, at North 2nd & Locust St. From there it's a short walk south across either bridge for shopping downtown.

Motor homes come in a variety of sizes and lengths, which sometimes complicates things. You should check with a patrolman or a meter reader person, or call the city, to make sure of the rules for parking there. But that lot is close to downtown.

50YearResident 5 years ago

Take the "T".........It needs some riders. Are you living out of the motor home?

history 5 years ago

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

Gotalife 5 years ago

OnlyBonly, what a totally ridiculous thing to say.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

This will just turn into a game of whack-a-mole. I'm sure there are lots of places to park these vehicles that won't be covered by this ordinance. Will it be in front of your house?

Patricia Davis 5 years ago

I agree that the ordinance should cover all city parks and public areas. If someone wants to live free in a mobile home find some place else to park that thing and bucket yourself.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

They can park on any city street, as long as they move periodically. Making that illegal could lead to all kinds of problems with selective enforcement.

Jayhawk1958 5 years ago

The parking lot at Wal-Mart is available for free. They just want to be downtown where they can conduct their business such as pan-handling.

pace 5 years ago

I am not a fan of Wal-mart, but I would not declare their parking lot 'available for free' what a crock. They maintain it, patrol it, and it is for their customers. The tables in cafes aren't to bring your dinner to and have a family sit down. The lack of understanding about private property is amazing in your post.

pace 5 years ago

good clarification. I especially appreciate their courtesy to the truckers.

Dan Blomgren 5 years ago

“Staff should be commended for coming up with a solution.”

Maybe we should applaud them for tying their shoes in the morning too! Give me a break.

guppypunkhead 5 years ago

Definitely think this should be banned. For those crying about Lawrence hating people who live in campers- there are thousands of miles of streets in Lawrence THAT YOU CAN STILL PARK ON. Just not the ones right in front of the park.

Also, is that really the best photo of Mr. Tanner that the LJ World could come up with??

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

"there are thousands of miles of streets in Lawrence that you can still park on."

Yep, and it could be in front of your house. Are you OK with that?

pea 5 years ago

Hey! How about YOUR house?!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

I wasn't requesting that he park in front of either your or my house. Just noting that that's where he may move.

asixbury 5 years ago

Why would I care? If it's not blocking access to my driveway or taking my spot, who gives a damn. If the guy isn't harming anyone, leave him be.

I agree it shouldn't be parked along parks, though, since parents might be a little wary letting their kids play there. Not that the men are going to do anything, but it still makes a parent paranoid.

pea 5 years ago

YES! Give him your address! You do it, now!

asixbury 5 years ago

I live south of Clinton Parkway. Good luck parking that big trailer on those curvy roads. If he can manage, go right ahead.

jafs 5 years ago

I do wonder if they'll enforce this ordinance on other vehicles, like band buses, etc.

If not, there's bound to be a problem.

Keith 5 years ago

Band buses don't typically park in the South Park area, so it won't concern them.

jafs 5 years ago

I seem to recall seeing large buses of that nature in that area, especially when marching bands from out of town come to visit.

Regardless, my question is whether they'll be enforcing this on all vehicles that match the description or not.

SWJayhawk13 5 years ago

"Specifically, the ordinance will prohibit camping-oriented vehicles"

Sounds to me like they're just looking for RVs and campers, not marching band buses. My guess is they'll only be enforcing it on "camping-oriented vehicles"

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

There's a lot of school buses out there that've been converted to campers. Who's to determine the difference?

Armored_One 5 years ago

Uhmm, if it has been converted, then obviously it is not what it started out as and is now something else.

Kind of like the missle silos that are being converted into multi-million dollar condos for the rich and paranoid. They aren't missle silos anymore.

jafs 5 years ago

And other similar vehicles of the same size.

Jayhawk1958 5 years ago

Michael Tanner. The poster child of Lawrence.

Russell Fryberger 5 years ago

Yay. Tell them to park at Wal-Mart like all the other nomads we have trying to avoid paying taxes.

history 5 years ago

OK, here is a million dollar Idea. How about an RV park. I believe there is one in North Lawrence and one at Cliton Lake. You pay a fee and you can stay there as long as you would like. RV camper park !!

And no, I would not want them parking in front of my house or yours for that matter !

Sheila Hooper White 5 years ago

He actually was already kicked out of Clinton State Park. That's why he started parking it downtown.

Sheila Hooper White 5 years ago

Not following rules and causing problems with the other campers.

the_realest_mccoy 5 years ago

So what, park your camper on Vermont on the other side of the park. Problem solved. Or just move it around the city. King George has been doing it for at least 25 years.

BiPolarWookie_w_PhD 5 years ago

It was my understanding that it was agreed upon by an International Convention that if a person lives in a van, this van must be located by the river?

bad_dog 5 years ago

Only applies if the owner/resident is a motivational speaker.

Beth Ennis 5 years ago

I have to agree with Jane. That bucket has always bothered me, and when I'm walking alone I can honestly say I get a little nervous when I walk past those trailers. I've seen them parked on Kentucky in front of one of the church's. The church probably doesn't care as long as it isn't on Sunday morning. Yep, lots of other places to park that are close to downtown.

livinginlawrence 5 years ago

Why do you get nervous, travelinggeek?

Have you had bad experiences in the past walking by such vehicles?

Judging by the picture provided above, Mr. Tanner might rightfully be presumed to be a bit GOOFY, but dangerous?

Jokes aside, Mr. Tanner and others who have been parking their campers along this stretch of road will obviously have to suck it up and deal with what the commissioners have decreed. As for OonlyBonly's issue with finding a place to park his/her motorhome, sounds like a personal problem. That is, unless someone held a gun to your head and forced you to obtain a vehicle for which parking spots are hard to come by.

history 5 years ago

My origional post was removed because I used the word Idiot !!!

@ staff, please consider that oonly bonly uses the same lanuage!

It is not the liberal's that have cause " bonly" to have to find a different parking area. It is a direct result of people taking advantage of common sense and abusing the system. My sincere appologies :) to " bonly" . I was merle stating a fact

somedude20 5 years ago

the staff does not give a spit. they will remove any post that they do not like or do not agree with and sometimes, they will remove a post without even reading it. pointing out that others do the same or worse only makes you a target. the spider man will web you up. greetings mr parker

Alex Parker 5 years ago

history's post was removed because of personal attack - calling another user an idiot. That is a violation of the terms of service.

Kyle Chandler 5 years ago

I love watching our 'community leaders' (what a JOKE) pick on homeless guys living IN a camper parked next to a park by downtown.

Is it me or would they rather these guys live on the sidewalk? Then what? Im dying to hear all of your 'genius' replies. Try turning off your Faux News fear campaign...if you are so afraid for your precious children and what their precious eyes might see try educating them about the realities of this world. They might actually respect your honesty. For those of you who think its just such an eyesore....Turn your SUV back around and get your buns back to the westside, theres a nice clean Dillons and a Chipotle west of Iowa where you belong.

jafs 5 years ago

That's funny.

You end with "mind your own business" but start with trying to control other people's lives.

Patricia Davis 5 years ago

I think that is the best definition of a republican I've seen in a long time.

Brady Swenson 5 years ago

Way to sterotype there! You should consider what would certainly be a very bright future in Fox News broadcasting, or maybe you don't have the face for it, in which case you should probably just keep blathering away here on the LJ World comments section.

Budgets_Smudgets 5 years ago

When buckets are outlawed, only outlaws will use buckets.

vvgogh 5 years ago

As a visitor to Lawrence I have to comment. Lawrence is a beautiful town and the campers lining the edge of town was very odd. Not too inviting to "tourists". We love visiting downtown when we are in Lawrence but it seems like loitering characters are getting "more scary or outlandish" and may need some additional assistance in the form of a shelter or suitable counseling or help of some sort. I do not know how other cities deal with these issues but the possibility of modeling other cities that may have successful policies could be researched ( It is obvious that people who station themselves around downtown need assistance in some aspect of their lives. There are no quick and easy solutions for any community.

asixbury 5 years ago

hehe. I always enjoyed seeing the guy dressed in leather warrior-gear with a fake sword walking downtown every afternoon. I haven't seen him lately though...

Armored_One 5 years ago

Uhmm, his sword was not fake, which led to local police informing him to either no longer carry it within town limits or find a new city to carry it in.

jafs 5 years ago

So the "right to bear arms" doesn't include swords?

asixbury 5 years ago

Did not know that. That is probably why I haven't seen him lately.

Vinny1 5 years ago

Its about time the City of Lawrence does something about the mass of homeless people here. The community needs to stop supporting these folks. They are a public nuisance and need to be gone.

pace 5 years ago

If you feel that way, work for more jobs. Vote Democrat.

Mangino_saurus 5 years ago

I hear there may be some lots for rent at Riverview Trailer Park..

Boston_Corbett 5 years ago

The commission took up that item and passed it in about 5 minutes flat. Mr. Tanner wasn't smart enough to show up on time on this issue so important to him, supposedly. That says a lot right there. The item was first up on the agenda. No secret conspiracy to consider the topic at an odd time or when he wasn't present.

If Mr. Tanner really wants to express his "freedom to park" might I suggest he move to the Wild West where the cowboy spirit is still alive. That, or I bet he can find lots of available right-of-way in Waubunsee County, or about 80 other rural Kansas counties where there are far fewer ordinances and codes, and buckets may be more accepted.

Scott Tichenor 5 years ago

Guy missed his calling. Could easily get a job as a clown. Appears he's mastered the part already.

sad_lawrencian 5 years ago

In the enlarged photo above, is that a flask sticking out of his pocket?

irvan moore 5 years ago

hopefully protecting the park and its downtown environs won't drive these "free spirits" into our neighborhoods.

Richard Payton 5 years ago

I'm looking forward to the freedom to park tour by Tanner! It begins at 2203 Massachusetts St. the Pennington address and then moves to the 2312 Free State Lane Amyx address. Another tour schedule will be updated by MSN white pages search on other commissioners addresses unless you prefer to dream or make up additional tour routes feel free to travel in Lawrence.

Bill Moorhead 5 years ago

What took so long? I'm in town a few times a year and the infrequent times I laid eyes on these vehicles was enough to make me wonder about Lawrence government.

jafs 5 years ago

And I've lived here for many years, and didn't even notice them.

jafs 5 years ago

I go downtown a lot - mostly driving down to eat out.

I just tend to focus on what I'm doing, and where I'm going, which means that I didn't notice these vehicles at all.

We don't go to the park to hang out - if we did, I imagine I'd have seen them.

pace 5 years ago

It is a pity that the ordinance was passed. I understand why. It was a place for large vehicles to park for a while but parking a large vehicle permanently by the play grounds wasn't working.

ThePilgrim 5 years ago

"“I always wonder what is in that bucket,” The previous article in LJW, praising the guy with the guitar living in the camper (presumably Tanner) said that it was his chamber pot/bucket.

cozborn 5 years ago

why is every one being political about this. Its not about democrat, republican, liberal, conservative or any of that, ITS ABOUT A GROWN MAN defecating in a bucket and leaving it on the street, its pretty simple, no ones fault but his. He doesn't even try to hide that fact that he does it......

that being said, this ordinance really screws over vacationers who would like to visit south park, they should have just said no parking between certain hours, and those allowed hours are 25 cents for 15 mintues. he would have to move every night and would have to pay alot during the day.

juma 5 years ago

I attended both KU and CU in the late 60's early 70's. Boulder long ago went conservative and now, it seems, so has Lawrence. My how does one forget what made these places a little oasis of freedom in the constricting middle america. I agree that feces is a problem; so let us ban all the damn dogs that crap everywhere. Or how about this; you plant fake grass without a permit you tear it out. The Kommissioners should be ashamed!!!!

repete66211 5 years ago

If you think Lawrence is conservative, even in light of the passing of this law, you really need some perspective. I'm not for sanitizing downtown Lawrence a la Johnson County, but it's not the characters that make downtown, it's the businesses. And there's plenty of competition out there. When the paying customers who don't want to be haggled for spare change or inhale the lovely primitive odors of the hobos choose to spend their money somewhere else those businesses go away too.

Gotalife 5 years ago

Actually Juma, the commissioners should be applauded with a standing ovation of praise for ridding this disgusting spectacle, one that prevents safe street crossing for visitors to the area.

Gotalife 5 years ago

Is it just me or is there just a tad bit of irony in the picture that accompanies this article? Perfect hat selection!! Is that GOOFY? LOL

greenworld 5 years ago

I think the idea here is South Park is not a campground, never was and never will be. Its a park where kids and families go to play and have fun in the sun. Move those damn campers out to lone star or clinton or perry lake where they belong. Quit being confrontational and just move somewhere else.

Armored_One 5 years ago

The Land of the Free has never meant Land of Do Whatever You Freaking Want. Captain Goofy Hat decided he wanted to do whatever he freaking wanted to do and got told no he can't do whatever he wants.

Adults that throw temper tantrums should be accorded about as much attention and respect as the 5 year old in the grocery store demanding to be given a candy bar.

jafs 5 years ago

Since he was following all of the appropriate laws, your characterization seems off to me.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

"Adults that throw temper tantrums should be accorded about as much attention and respect as the 5 year old in the grocery store demanding to be given a candy bar."

I agree-- Rush and Beck are among the worst, but they get paid $millions for their temper tantrums.

somebodynew 5 years ago

+1 (even though I agree with Armored_One, that freedom does not equal doing whatever you freaking want.)

Flap Doodle 5 years ago

The dude in the photo looks all inflamed. He should get a popsicle and relax.

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