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Archive for Friday, August 24, 2012

Ninth, N.H. project won’t be opposed

This view of the southeast corner of Ninth and New Hampshire, foreground center, looks to the northwest from the second floor of the Lawrence Arts Center. At right is the alley between New Hampshire Street at left and Rhode Island Street, not visible, to right. The City Commission was presented an appeal Tuesday night, related to a controversial multistory hotel/retail building at the southeast corner of Ninth and New Hampshire streets. The city’s Historic Resources Commission had rejected the project, ruling that it would negatively affect the historic neighborhood immediately east of the site.

This view of the southeast corner of Ninth and New Hampshire, foreground center, looks to the northwest from the second floor of the Lawrence Arts Center. At right is the alley between New Hampshire Street at left and Rhode Island Street, not visible, to right. The City Commission was presented an appeal Tuesday night, related to a controversial multistory hotel/retail building at the southeast corner of Ninth and New Hampshire streets. The city’s Historic Resources Commission had rejected the project, ruling that it would negatively affect the historic neighborhood immediately east of the site.

August 24, 2012

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A multi-story hotel and retail building proposed for the center of Downtown Lawrence won’t have to fight a battle in court after all.

The attorney for a group of neighbors opposed to the plans for the hotel/retail building on the southeast corner of Ninth and New Hampshire streets said his clients won’t file a lawsuit appealing a previous decision by the Lawrence City Commission to approve the building.

Lawrence attorney Ron Schneider, though, said his clients still don’t like the plans for the project, which they have argued will encroach upon a historic neighborhood that is just east of the Ninth and New Hampshire intersection.

“But the reality is the project is going forward as approved,” Schneider said. “We could spend a lot of time and money appealing, but we do not know if we would be successful.”

A lawsuit was considered possible because the City Commission approved the plans for the approximately 80-room Marriott extended-stay hotel even though the city’s Historic Resources Commission had rejected the plans.

Schneider said his clients decided against an appeal after entering discussions with the development group, which is led by Lawrence businessmen Doug Compton and Mike Treanor.

Schneider said Compton and his development group have agreed to a deal that will monitor the properties of Schneider’s clients for any damage before, during or immediately after construction of the hotel. The deal spells out how any damages would be handled. The deal, however, does not make any modifications to the design of the hotel/retail building.

“The resolution we have come to with Doug Compton and his companies protect my clients’ interests, and Doug Compton and his companies have been very accommodating,” Schneider said.

Dan Watkins, a Lawrence attorney representing the development group, said he believes the project could begin construction this fall.

Comments

jafs 1 year, 7 months ago

Did anybody else notice the odd nature of the "deal" struck with Compton?

Any damage that is done to neighbors' property is of course his responsibility - I wonder why the neighbors were so willing to drop their opposition because he said he'd take care of it.

I suppose perhaps they prefer not to have to take him to court and engage in a lengthy process to get him to do what he's supposed to do.

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CWGOKU 1 year, 7 months ago

I'll give it an up, but it won't be a thumb

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Keith Richards 1 year, 7 months ago

Bozo would complain if Compton or Fritzel would request even a single penny in subsidies to put this on the corner of 9th.

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toe 1 year, 7 months ago

Hotel competition downtown is perfect. Perhaps the added pressure of choice will move the Eldridge to pick up their phone when it is ringing.

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pizzapete 1 year, 7 months ago

This piece of property is one of the most valuable vacant commercial properties in our city. It's outrageous to think that it was going to sit vacant for another 20 or 30 years without a tax abatement. We the taxpayers of Lawrence have already propped up the value of this property by financing the neighboring parking garage and arts center. This property was bought to be developed and would have been developed with or without the tax give away. The tax abatement isn't just the the icing and cherry on the cake, but the waitress forgetting to put the cake and all the drinks on the bill.

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timebomb66 1 year, 7 months ago

Ill wager that they will plant some really pretty trees and have a bicycle rack made of locally produced organic mild steel.

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blindrabbit 1 year, 7 months ago

merrell: Methinks you intended NorthEast corner of 9th and New Hampshire not NorthWest corner of 9th and Mass. on your earlier post.

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friendlyjhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

HAHAHA Of course it won't be opposed!

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1 year, 7 months ago

The problem, as I see it, with TIF and tax abatement is that both of those result in a net tax loss for the community.

TIF in most cases does not go to the city to repay the cost of infrastructure improvements, but rather to the developer to reimburse them for a portion, if not all, of the development costs. This makes the developments a low-risk proposition for the developers and possibly a high-risk proposition for the community. The concern with this is that the city does not require businesses with a TIF to notify the public that part of their bill is the result of TIF

A tax abatement simply writes off the property taxes for a length of time resulting in a net loss for the community as there is no reimbursement for infrastructure improvements. Again, this is as I understand it.

I'm not sure I agree with either of those propositions.

Regarding a TABOR;. even at local level this would be a nightmare. Just the simple logistics of properly explaining the proposed spending and then having the city vote on it. Nothing would get accomplished. Additionally, the AFP (read that as Koch shill organization) supports a TABOR. That, in and of itself, is reason enough for me to oppose a TABOR.

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 7 months ago

About local development Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston joins us to talk about his new book, "Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (And Stick You with the Bill)." Johnston reveals how government subsidies and new regulations have quietly funneled money from the local poor and the local middle class to the rich politically connected.

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/18/free_lunch_how_the_wealthiest_americans

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/01182008/transcript.html

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LeBo 1 year, 7 months ago

TIF/tax abatement is an ineffective economic tool is this economy. How about a homeowners tax abatement?

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Sharon Nottingham 1 year, 7 months ago

When it comes to multi million dollar incentives from taxpayers, then it should be on a ballot.

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Melanie Birge 1 year, 7 months ago

How many New local job's will it bring with it?

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Flap Doodle 1 year, 7 months ago

The whining and moaning will last for decades....

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 7 months ago

Maybe it's time to alter how final decisions are made at city hall? How about a Local Taxpayers Bill of Rights.

Perhaps it's time to create an active group of taxpayers to design an ordinance that places more final decisions in the hands of the voters. Yes a Local Taxpayers Bill of Rights for we the people who pay the bills.

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 anyone else were a city commissioner.

Let’s place the voting taxpayers aka the largest group of stakeholders in Lawrence,Kansas in the position of deciding how they would like to have tax dollars spent. A Local Taxpayers Bill of Rights would be appropriate.

Taxpayers want more opportunity to approve tax incentives and projects such as the the monster field house tax dollar boon doggle.

Taxpayers want more opportunity to approve projects that involve tax dollars across the board. After all we taxpayers are the source for corporate welfare. Why shouldn't we have the opportunity to decide how reckless or how fiscally responsible our tax dollars should be expended?

Put this question on the upcoming ballot. Let's vote in a Local Taxpayers Bill of Rights.

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 7 months ago

It could have been built without the $12 million tax dollar subsidy. This way the owners have guaranteed themselves a profit. In fact the $400,000 from the county is a profit before breaking ground. After observing how the developers convinced government to fork over $12 million tax dollars I'm sure this group is brilliant enough to make plenty of money without taxpayers investing one thin dime. Yes off this same game plan.

Yes infill is good but do taxpayers need to get duped each time a developer wants to do "infill"? Why should we? Do taxpayers want to get duped one more time on the upcoming project at the northwest corner of 9th and Mass?

Not to mention altering the quality of life for the neighbors most immediate to the project.

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bwoody 1 year, 7 months ago

I think you mean vertically.

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bwoody 1 year, 7 months ago

I think you mean verticaly.

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wats211 1 year, 7 months ago

Flannery was right..growth must be made laterally.....amd what can i say...Joe is a favorite...and shop WEAVERS...and SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES!!!!! ...and that growth will help all businesses downtown...so lets get behind this ..its stupid not to ...DUH!!!!!!!!!

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