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Archive for Tuesday, August 21, 2012

City helps resolve dispute over rural resident’s target practice

August 21, 2012

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For a dispute that centered on a man shooting a gun, this one ended without much drama.

Lawrence city commissioners on Tuesday stepped in to settle a dispute involving city residents who live next to a rural property owner who was frequently conducting target practice with a .22 rifle on his property.

A group of about 30 residents who live in the River Bend Court and the Sunchase Drive area in northern Lawrence had petitioned to have the rural home of Alan Cobb, 1742 E. 1350 Road, annexed into the city in order to make firing of a firearm illegal.

But commissioners instead received assurances from Cobb that he would stop firing on his property, and that the city would send a letter to the Douglas County Commission asking it to place an abatement on the property making it illegal to shoot there because of its proximity to multiple homes.

“I basically have given up my right in order to appease everybody because I’m not trying to start any trouble,” Cobb said.

Residents of the neighborhood said they would drop their request for annexation if the County Commission would take formal action to place an order on the property making it clear that target shooting wasn’t allowed.

A letter from the Douglas County Sheriff’s office indicated such an abatement could be placed on the property using a county nuisance ordinance that is on the books. The sheriff’s department notified Cobb of the nuisance law about a week ago, and the department said it appears Cobb has not conducted target practice on the property since then.

Neighbors in the area said they just wanted the shooting to stop.

“I have no problem with Mr. Cobb shooting a gun,” said John Barnett, a neighbor to the property. “But when I shoot a gun, I shoot it at a range or at a place where there is no one around. We’re not angry; we just want something resolved.”

The area where Cobb was shooting targets is a little less than 100 yards away from other residences, according to information from the sheriff’s department. Cobb was using hay bales as a backstop for the makeshift range, and the area also has a tree line that separates the houses.

Cobb said he wouldn’t object to any action the county took, as long as the county didn’t try to create a broader ordinance that made it illegal for other rural property owners to shoot targets on their land.

City commissioners said they had no intention of asking county commissioners to consider such an action.

“We just want to put the neighborhood at ease that there won’t be firearms out there,” Mayor Bob Schumm said.

Cobb said he wished his neighbors simply would have brought their concerns to his attention rather than trying to force him into the city limits against his will.

“Anybody from the neighborhood could have come up and talked to me, and we could have figured this out,” Cobb said. “I’m not unapproachable."

Recreation center debate postponed

Lawrence city commissioners went into a 45-minute executive session with city attorneys at their Tuesday evening meeting, and then emerged to announce they were delaying plans to debate a proposed recreation center for at least a week.

Commissioners announced that they were now scheduled to hear a rezoning request and other issues related to a proposed youth fieldhouse/recreation complex at Sixth Street and the South Lawrence Trafficway at their Sept. 4 meeting.

Previously commissioners had planned to hear the recreation center items at their Aug. 28 meeting. Commissioners did not provide any details about what they discussed in the executive session or why they decided to delay the recreation center items.

City OKs new fund transfer policy

Commissioners unanimously agreed to a new policy that spells out how the city can transfer funds by city ratepayers into the city’s general operating account.

In 2012, the city is scheduled to transfer more than $3 million from its water/sewer, trash and storm water utility funds into the city’s general operating fund. The transfer is meant to account for costs other city departments incur while assisting the various city utilities.

The new policy, among other items, allows the city to charge the city utilities an amount that is equal to what they would pay in property taxes if they were a private, for-profit utility.

Members of the Lawrence Home Builders Association and the Lawrence Board of Realtors objected to the policy. Both groups asked the city to do more detailed cost accounting to show how much other city departments are spending on matters related to the utility departments.

But commissioners said such an accounting process likely would be complicated and costly in itself. Instead, commissioners indicated they would have the city auditor periodically audit the amount of transfers being made from ratepayer funds to the city’s general fund.

$75,000 for library art project approved

Commissioners unanimously agreed to accept proposals for $75,000 worth of public art for the Lawrence Public Library expansion.

A city-appointed group is scheduled to review the proposals in early October.

Changes to development regulations to be studied

Commissioners unanimously agreed to ask the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission to consider a host of changes to development regulations.

One change would eliminate the requirement that a private consultant be hired to conduct a retail market study for projects that would add at least 50,000 square feet of new retail space to the city.

The other change would make it clear that the city could approve rezoning requests even if those requests don’t comply with Horizon 2020, the city and county’s comprehensive plan.

The League of Women Voters of Lawrence-Douglas County voiced objections to the proposed changes but were reassured by commissioners that Tuesday’s actions only started the process of studying the issues.

Action on downtown directory sign delayed

Commissioners delayed taking action on a request to allow a new downtown directory sign to be built at the northeast corner of Ninth and Massachusetts streets.

Commissioners expressed concern about the project after learning that the directory was designed to list only members of Downtown Lawrence Inc.

The directory is being proposed and would be maintained by Downtown Lawrence Inc.

But commissioners said that because the sign would be located on a public right-of-way, there needed to be more thought to how the sign could feasibly include all businesses in downtown.

Comments

LadyJ 1 year, 8 months ago

Four more posts by merrill, he is being persistent. He must be trying to send a message to the LJW, maybe that he will not let them control what he posts and where?

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 8 months ago

As I stated Chad has his own way of introducing a synopsis of city commission meetings which is more than talk about his chosen headline. And it might be his way of getting taxpayers attention. Most city commission meetings increase your taxes somehow so it might be best to read the entire synopsis.

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 8 months ago

For any group of politicians to believe that voters blindly trust politicians with their tax dollars is not real and hasn't been for at least 50 years. It would not matter who the commissioners are and would certainly be no different if I were a city commissioner. Or if any of the above posters were commissioners.

Let’s ask the voting taxpayers the largest group of stakeholders in Lawrence,Kansas what other projects they would like to have these tax dollars applied. Put this question on the upcoming ballot.

"Can the city approve this “Field House” without a public vote?" Yes they can.... Which could easily become $40 million or more. In essence this project is a tax increase and will expand the budget generously.

However there is nothing stopping them from putting this matter on the upcoming ballot which I believe is the ethical approach. Put this question on the upcoming ballot.

Politicians believe because they have the authority to spend tax dollars anyway they desire, no questions should be asked and voters should simply trust their motivations. I know very few taxpayers who accept this position.

Committing tax dollars to the "field house project" is on the August 28th city commission agenda which I believe is rushing it considering the amount of concern being voiced from just about every corner in Lawrence,Kansas.

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 8 months ago

One other Commission agenda item was the rec center

Do the pros outweigh the cons of the new proposed sports complex?

The answer appears to be no according to an analysis. Taxpayers are on the hook for the more than $20 million USD 497 sports project as we speak. http://www.lawrencesmartgrowth.blogspot.com/ ( Analysis)

It is time in my estimation to revisit this 1994 sales tax and ask voters how elected officials should be spending this money. Put this question on the upcoming ballot.

This 1994 sales tax is not dedicated to the park department in spite of the fact a large chunk has been funding park department projects.

Think of it this way.10% of this sales tax could be dedicated to rehab the library and operations thereafter. Thereby eliminating a tax increase. Let the voter decide.

Think of of this way 10% of this sales tax could build this community a nice Vo-Tech center. Let the voter decide.

Think of it this way 10% of this sales tax could be donated to USD 497 to rehab our elementary schools. Let the voter decide.

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 8 months ago

Chad has his own way of introducing a synopsis of the city commission meeting which is more than talk about target practice.

There is the Changes to development regulations which could put a lot of things in the backyards of country folk make no mistake about it. Could mean tax increases for the country folks = grab your wallets

$75,000 for library art project approved

City OKs new fund transfer policy = spending of tax dollars

Action on downtown directory sign delayed = more tax dollar spending

That's not all

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classclown 1 year, 8 months ago

MillyT

City helps resolve dispute over rural resident's target practice

We live in the country, and several years ago, a young man was target shooting towards the west (where there aren't any houses) towards a berm mound with a wooden target in front. We live a mile to the north and my father an I were standing in the yard talking. Three shots, that we know of, hit our house, and one went 5 feet from us at heart level. That one went through our double-car garage, through my front room and finally rested between a double-paned glass door. I believe that one would have been lethal. He thought he was doing the right thing, but the wooden target caused the bullets to ricochet in our direction.

August 22, 2012 at 8:56 a.m.

========================================

I'm sorry, but this doesn't pass the smell test. You're saying that these bullets traveled a full mile and punched through several walls of your house after already bouncing off of something else first?

These bullets were unable to go through a piece of wood only yards away yet had the energy to penetrate several walls of your house after such a journey?

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classclown 1 year, 8 months ago

MarcoPogo

"T-hole". Now you two can argue about what the "T" stands for. Dance for us, monkeys!

August 22, 2012 at 9:29 a.m

============================================

Terrible Terror Tinkle Tranny Tickle

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classclown 1 year, 8 months ago

Annex the property and move Ron Olin out there. Then the neighbors will have no say over any shooting that goes on as Mr. Olin is special. As a matter of fact, the neighbors might end up being cited as a nuisance for always complaining about him shooting.

1

nate cleveland 1 year, 8 months ago

The map clearly shows that there is no room to fire a gun safely. Regardless of his rights, the man should be considerate to other people that live in the area.

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hipper_than_hip 1 year, 8 months ago

"People who do inconsiderate and disrespectful things often aren't open to discussion."

Like petitioning to have your property annexed into the city without your consent?

1

Machiavelli_mania 1 year, 8 months ago

Move to W. Kansas,, gunman, where your nearest neighbor is no closer than half a mile away. Then you can shoot away!

Investing in farmland gets the best return.

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JackMcKee 1 year, 8 months ago

“Anybody from the neighborhood could have come up and talked to me, and we could have figured this out,” Cobb said. “I’m not unapproachable."

And your neighbors expect you to possess some minimal level of common sense and courtesy.

1

consumer1 1 year, 8 months ago

What you can also see in this picture, is the poor planning of a neighborhood, in terms of # of houses in a section. It is no wonder lawrence is experencing urban sprawl. Note the section to the east of the picture has over 26 houses in it. While the neighborhood at question has about 16. This is nice for the homeowners, but how does this play out in terms of sewage, infrastructure etc? If builder are continued to build with so few houses in a section, Lawrence will be in topeka wihthin a couple of years. also, this appears to not have a very good approach for emergency vehicles such as fire trucks.

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consumer1 1 year, 8 months ago

The pic does make this allot clearer. Thanks This is a common sense issue, not a gun or rights issue.

1

workinghard 1 year, 8 months ago

I'm confused, the article states "Cobb said he wished his neighbors simply would have brought their concerns to his attention rather than trying to force him into the city limits against his will." LJW commenter, labernat, posted "No one spoke to Mr. Cobb because he took to yelling at people that shooting a gun was his right, and that if anyone tried to stop him he would come after them." This last statement implies that somebody did speak to Mr. Cobb otherwise why would he be yelling about his right to shoot a gun? Is somebody not telling the truth?

3

backyardwino 1 year, 8 months ago

“We just want to put the neighborhood at ease that there won’t be firearms out there,” Mayor Bob Schumm said.

I'm as liberal as they come, but really? Whoa there, Schumm. Possession of a firearm and creating a nuisance with said firearm are two completely different things.

2

matahari 1 year, 8 months ago

oh, and but ron olin can fire off a gun and no ones' gonna do boo about it

1

Agnostick 1 year, 8 months ago

Rights come with RESPONSIBILITIES.

It sounds like Mr. Cobb was more concerned with his right(s), than the responsibilities that come with them.

User clawhorn posted a link to a good map of Cobb's property. Here's a Google Map version, satellite view:


View Larger Map

2

Pork_Ribs 1 year, 8 months ago

As a person who engages in this activity I can say that there is definitely not sufficient room on this property for a safe catch for the spent rounds. Even if the catch was set into the trees...I would not feel comfortable given the proximity of the back neighbors as well as the risk of wandering/playing children. If the shooting area does have an adequate catch area then the real issue is noise. I bought a suppressor (silencer) to be able to target shoot and not annoy surrounding residences. I live rurally and my nearest neighbor is over 1200 ft. The 'pop' of a .22 or 9mm can be heard for a great distance though. Much too loud for repeated rounds at a target. Solution: You can buy suppressors by setting up a revocable NFA gun trust through the state. This will allow you to purchase Class III weapons. It's $200 and a very smooth process if you have a squeaky clean record. I did, so I don't know what the hoops are if you have any non-violent ticks on your record. Anything violent...and there is no way. Easy way to have fun while being considerate to others.

3

RoeDapple 1 year, 8 months ago

When I built my home in '75 there were only two other homes within half mile of me, and nobody thought anything of it if I popped a few caps off the back deck. Now there are eleven houses within spitting distance so I either go to a more rural setting or to the gun range to shoot. Most of my neighbors are also weapons enthusiasts but I do respect those whose views are . . . not mine.

8

MillyT 1 year, 8 months ago

We live in the country, and several years ago, a young man was target shooting towards the west (where there aren't any houses) towards a berm mound with a wooden target in front. We live a mile to the north and my father an I were standing in the yard talking. Three shots, that we know of, hit our house, and one went 5 feet from us at heart level. That one went through our double-car garage, through my front room and finally rested between a double-paned glass door. I believe that one would have been lethal. He thought he was doing the right thing, but the wooden target caused the bullets to ricochet in our direction. My children were in the house at the time and fortunately were in the basement, so they were safe, but it was a very scary time for us because we didn't know where they were coming from at first. My point is, even though this gentleman is on his property and thinks he's being careful, you cannot control the bullet once it leaves the chamber.

4

cjeter 1 year, 8 months ago

I used to live 3 houses from Mr Cobb, honestly I never would have guessed that property wasn't within city limits. Being an avid hunter and target shooter, I'd like to remind Mr Cobb of the 10 rules of gun safety:

  1. Always Keep The Muzzle Pointed In A Safe Direction
  2. Firearms Should Be Unloaded When Not Actually In Use
  3. Don't Rely On Your Gun's "Safety"
  4. Be Sure Of Your Target And What's Beyond It
  5. Use Correct Ammunition
  6. If Your Gun Fails To Fire When The Trigger Is Pulled, Handle With Care!
  7. Always Wear Eye And Ear Protection When Shooting
  8. Be Sure The Barrel Is Clear Of Obstructions Before Shooting
  9. Don't Alter Or Modify Your Gun, And Have Guns Serviced Regularly
  10. Learn The Mechanical And Handling Characteristics Of The Firearm You Are Using

You are clearly ignoring 1 and 4 and are lucky all you ended up with is people asking you to stop. That is obviously not a safe place to be shooting anything larger than a pellet gun.

4

Milton Bland 1 year, 8 months ago

“We just want to put the neighborhood at ease that there won’t be firearms out there,” Mayor Bob Schumm said.

That pretty much says it all. The city commission wouldn love to ban firearms, completely. Then it will be the county commission doing the same. Welcome to the most liberal spot in Kansas.

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FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 8 months ago

Welcome to complex, slightly nuanced Larryville.

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Peter Macfarlane 1 year, 8 months ago

You have heard the expression: "No man is an island." Well, guess what, that expression applies to whatever we do with the property we own and how what we do impacts others and their properties. Ownership implies responsibility for whatever happens on our watch. You are not a very good neighbor if what you are doing potentially harms others and their properties around you.

4

irvan moore 1 year, 8 months ago

i think one of the points the neighbors are missing is that it wasn't a residential neighborhood when mr. cobb bought the property and that it is them infringing on his rights, not him infringing on theirs

4

Charles L Bloss Jr 1 year, 8 months ago

I live in the county,, no houses around me. My neighbor shoots into the dam of a pond. Hearing the shots doesn't upset me because I know he is trustworthy and careful. If I wanted I could build a small range on the backside of a large hill on my property. I never heard such crap as the way the neighbors treated the landowner in this story. Instead of talking their concerns over with the shooter, they try to screw him using all sorts of laws. This was suggested to them by an employee of the government. There is too much power in the hands of government at all levels, micro managing our lives. Telling us what we can do on our own property, when we are hurting no one. If his neighbors were afraid to talk to the man in person, there is such a thing as a telephone, and the slow U.S. Mail.

4

labernat 1 year, 8 months ago

I live in the neighborhood that requested Mr. Cobb's property be annexed. No one spoke to Mr. Cobb because he took to yelling at people that shooting a gun was his right, and that if anyone tried to stop him he would come after them. Mr. Cobb also has several huge "no trespassing" signs on his property. No one wanted to confront him as we were all uncertain about what he would do if we did. No one took Mr. Cobb's rights away. We just made it illegal for him to shoot a gun in a residential neighborhood. He can still keep and shoot his guns. He just needs to shoot the guns where there are no people around. I don't think that is too much to ask.

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irvan moore 1 year, 8 months ago

not very neighborly neighbors

3

Flap Doodle 1 year, 8 months ago

Kinda like people who move next to an airport and complain about all the planes flying back and forth.

3

grammaddy 1 year, 8 months ago

Fear controlling the masses again.

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LogicMan 1 year, 8 months ago

Not a single neighbor talked with him first? That's uncivilized.

3

DRsmith 1 year, 8 months ago

Ah, America, home of the free....LOL.

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DillonBarnes 1 year, 8 months ago

Was he shooting towards the houses?

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