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Agenda for Nov. 20 Lawrence City Commission meeting

November 16, 2012



City commissioners will discuss how to resolve a dispute centering on whether Varsity House at 1043 Indiana St. was properly moved to make way for an apartment complex at the site. Lawrence developer Thomas Fritzel has offered to “raise and/or guarantee pledges” of $50,000 for historic preservation efforts in the community to resolve the dispute.


Commissioners previously have said they do not think Fritzel followed the terms of a city agreement that called for the old home to be moved from one part of the site to another. Fritzel moved the home by dismantling it into many pieces, and the structure is being rebuilt with large amounts of new material. In a letter to commissioner, Fritzel said he doesn’t think he violated the agreement, but rather said dismantling the house was “the only way to ensure the structural integrity and longevity of the Varsity House. Fritzel said the $50,000 donation would be made in 2013 to the Douglas County Community Foundation to further historic preservation in the community. But he said he wants himself and local preservationist and Oread resident Carol von Tersch to have authority to determine what specific project the donated money should be spent on.


• Recognition of the City of Lawrence obtaining a Class 7 in the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System.  

Consent agenda

• Approve claims.

• Bid and purchase items:

a. Set bid date of Dec. 4 for 23rd Street and O’Connell Road Intersection, Geometric and Traffic Signal Improvements.  

b. Set bid date of Dec. 4 for 2013 Crack Sealing Program.  

c. Set bid date of Dec. 11 for 2012 Crosswalk Marking Project.  

d. Award the bid for a deck mower to Heritage Tractor for $15,936.52.     

e. Approve as sole source purchase, the purchase and installation of three Motorola MW 810 Mobile Data Computers for the Animal Control Division of the Lawrence Police Department, to Topeka FM for $18,650.70.  

• Adopt on first reading an ordinance establishing the parking lot adjoining 700 New Hampshire St. as two-hour parking for the duration of the lease agreement between the City of Lawrence and Lawrence Store No. 203, L.L.C.  

• Adopt on second and final reading, ordinances:

a. Adopting the 2013 Wholesale Water Rates.

b. For text amendments to the city's land development code to change the truck stop use from permitted to permitted with a special use permit in the IG (General Industrial) District and to change the recycle processing center use from permitted to permitted with a special use permit in the IL (Limited Industrial) District.  

• Accept dedication of easements and right-of-way for a Final Plat for Lincoln Subdivision an 8-lot residential subdivision located in the 700 Block of Lincoln Street (east of Lyon Park on the north side of Lincoln Street).

• Receive Census 2010 analysis, authorize staff to proceed with Census Count Question Resolution appeal process and authorize Mayor to execute related documents.  

• Authorize staff to develop a Scope of Services with Airport Development Group for the Airport Pavement Maintenance and Repair.  

• Authorize endorsement of the Lawrence Arts Center National Endowment of the Arts grant application and approve grant writing support in the amount of $2,000, and approve the Lawrence Arts Center request for support for a Final Friday’s coordinator in the amount of $3,600 for the next year.  

• Approve funding for 2012 longevity payments.  

• Receive city manager’s report.

Regular agenda

• Conduct public hearing regarding exterior yard conditions at 331 Johnson Avenue and consider adopting a resolution declaring the exterior to be in violation of the City’s Environmental Code and ordering the property owner to remove all violations within a specified period of time. Should the owner fail to comply, the city would contract for the removal of the exterior yard violations.

• Receive update on multi-dwelling project, including the Varsity House, 1043 Indiana St.  

• Receive and consider approving these recommendations concerning the library project:

a. Approve bid packages up to $5,274,345 for the Vermont Street parking garage and utility/site improvements. City staff does not recommend accepting the bid alternate for the additional 72 parking spaces at this time ($834,806 bid versus the $1million estimate), but recommend considering this at a future City Commission meeting along with a revised special assessment benefit district.  

b.) Approve recommendation from the Public Art for the Library Expansion Project Selection Committee of the team of Dierk Van Keppel and John Shreve to complete the art for the library project within the budget of $75,000, and authorize contract negotiations.  

• Receive presentation of 2012/2013 snow operation and preparations.   


minimadoff 5 years, 6 months ago

Schumm has to polish up Fritzel's public image so it's easier for them to hold hands in public while they fleece the taxpayers over the recreation center. It's incredible how the city and KU are covering for this sleaze bag. The Varsity House apartments will be used by KU Athletic's for housing the football team has soon as they are finished. The slap on the wrist of a $50,000 donation offered by Fritzel is nothing compared to the rental income of 50 plus units. It's not clear in the letter who is paying the so called donation. If the city was being operated on the up and up it would level a fine of $150,000 - $200,000 dollars for blatant site plan violations had insist they be paid by Thomas Fritzel not unknown donors. If the commissioners approve this scam they should be made to pay $50,000 each personally.

Terry Sexton 5 years, 6 months ago

The Varsity House was a dump for years & wasn't worth all this brouhaha to begin with. Even if it was worth it, all this angry fussin' ain't gonna change it back. It's different now, so take the fifty large & move on.

Keith 5 years, 6 months ago

The donated funds will be used to install artificial turf historically.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

"But he said he wants himself and local preservationist and Oread resident Carol von Tersch to have authority to determine what specific project the donated money should be spent on."

Wow, it the city goes for this.....

homergoodtimes 5 years, 6 months ago

10/23/2012 Journal World, Varsity House Mayor Schumm "I would not have voted in favor of this project if I thought what we were going to get was a replica of the Varsity House".

Mike Aymx: who helped broker the deal that called for the old house to be moved on the site so Fritzel could build 52 apartments. "I've been had on this deal"

"He bamboozled the commission into thinking there was an amicable compromise" Lawrence historical preservation architect Stan Hernly, said of Fritzel "We have all been played as fools"

Act two of this "Fools play"

Fritzel's shame is not to pay the non-deductible fine to the city (city funds) for his violation of site plan agreements now.... while city has control of the project thru certificate of occupancy...

But to agree to raise funds for his fine thru tax deductible donations for historical preservation. And to direct where those (city funds) go... some time in 2013 long after the apartments are occupied....

A city commission that does not reject the amount of fine and method and timing of payment and counter with a realistic solution is not representing this community.

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