Archive for Sunday, September 2, 2012

Wrong order

September 2, 2012

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The Lawrence City Commission’s plan to consider on Tuesday whether to rezone 146 acres at the northwest corner of Sixth Street and the South Lawrence Trafficway seems like it’s putting the cart before the horse.

Commissioners are scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether to rezone that property to allow commercial and retail uses at the site. About 50 acres of the site have been targeted for the development of a new complex that will include a large recreation center and new Kansas University track and field facilities. The rest of the site, city officials say, needs to be zoned commercial to accommodate other uses such as hotels, restaurants and retail stores that are expected to accompany the recreation complex development.

The plan is for a development group led by Duane Schwada to donate land for the sports complex and for another group led by Thomas Fritzel to build the recreation center and enter into a multimillion-dollar, 20-year lease-purchase agreement with the city. But none of the proposed contracts that would facilitate those plans has been made public, and, as of Friday, they were not part of the agenda for Tuesday’s commission meeting. The public also has received no details about the city’s agreement with KU related to the track and field facilities.

Rezoning this property before nailing down other details seems like the wrong order. There are a couple of ways commissioners could deal with this situation. They still could add contracts or other documents to this Tuesday’s agenda, but that would be a shame because it would give the public so little time to absorb the details before they are acted upon. If the rezoning is approved on Tuesday, it won’t become official until the ordinance gets a second reading, which might occur as early as next week. But commissioners could approve the rezoning on first reading but delay second-reading approval until the development agreements are ready for consideration.

In any event, it’s unwise to complete the rezoning on this property before final agreements on the recreation complex are in place. Even if those plans are on track and all the involved parties currently are on the same page, things happen. The city doesn’t want to rezone that property and then have the recreation complex fall through. That’s why the city’s normal procedure for such major projects is to have a full development plan in place before approving rezoning.

This is a big project with a lot of pieces. City officials need to make sure those pieces all work together before taking any major action on the complex.

Comments

Richard Heckler 2 years, 8 months ago

Make no mistake about it this is more PLAY.

Do the Pros Outweigh The Cons? - Analysis in Understandable Language The answer appears to be no. http://www.lawrencesmartgrowth.blogspot.com/

Let's not forget taxpayers on the hook for the USD 497 share of PLAY at more than $20 million which was approved by the previous school board..... not the taxpayers. I am not interested in spending more on PLAY which thus far includes new football and soccer facilities plus new locker rooms and concession stands.... new score boards.

The LPD is requesting a facility at about $40 million.

The sewage treatment plant at $50-$90 million

The 31st street expansion at who knows how many millions of $$$$.

Who knows how many more millions will be spent at the Farmland site?

If the SLT moves forward that will be a $200-$300 million tax dollar waste and no one knows who will be paying for this. Local taxpayers may get hit to help pay for part or all of it. I believe 90 million has already been spent on the existing two lane speedway.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 8 months ago

Obviously local politicians get itchy to spend these sales tax dollars. How can commissioners help reduce the local tax load or spend responsibly?

IF a more fiscal responsible use of the 1994 sale tax cannot applied in such a manner that favors the greater majority of the taxpayers instead of the few perhaps it is time to consider repealing all or a portion of the sales tax in an effort to reduce the local sales tax.

Or use the sales tax money to reduce property taxes thereby eliminating the need to increase the mill levy.

Or build an actual rec center with two full size courts and a walking track in Northwest Lawrence on the 37 acres the city now owns next to Free State High School which is a bit more centrally located. It does not need $6 million or more $$$$ for new infrastructure. This is far more consistent with the promised use of the 1994 voter approved sales tax money.

Perhaps add a second full sized court at Holcomb and East Lawrence rec centers. This provides adequate,equitable and conveniently located space throughout the Lawrence tax dollar area.

No matter what contribute 10%-15% of the 1994 sales tax dollars for a community project known as rehabilitation of our local elementary schools. Excellent use of tax dollars thus preventing a need for a bond issue or tax increase. Smart economics.

Remember Gov Sam Brownback is projected to remove 10%-15% of state tax dollars from our local cookie jars.

Taxpayers cannot afford the Schwada-Fritzell plan.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 8 months ago

But if Compton were proposing the exact same project, you'd be behind it 110%.

2 years, 8 months ago

i think my brain just imploded because i am agreeing with larrynative

Lawrence Morgan 2 years, 8 months ago

I agree with merrill and LarryNative completely.

She has some great ideas.

"Or build an actual rec center with two full size courts and a walking track in Northwest Lawrence on the 37 acres the city now owns next to Free State High School which is a bit more centrally located. It does not need $6 million or more $$$$ for new infrastructure. This is far more consistent with the promised use of the 1994 voter approved sales tax money.

Perhaps add a second full sized court at Holcomb and East Lawrence rec centers. This provides adequate,equitable and conveniently located space throughout the Lawrence tax dollar area."

This is the kind of thing that most people need instead of what the developers want to do!

somebodynew 2 years, 8 months ago

While I agree with the comments about the money, I think you should care about the rezoning. To me, that is the ONLY part of this the developer really cares about. Once that land is re-zoned (and the City pays for all the infastructure), I could see this whole deal falling apart. But the developer will then have what he wanted all along and it will have been fast-tracked without all the steps he would normally have to take. And LarryNative, IF the developer were using his own money, it wouldn't be bad, but he is not. We will be paying for this.

JackMcKee 2 years, 8 months ago

Bill Self supports it. He's donated considerable amounts of his own time and money. It benefits everyone. KU and Lawrence. This is a project that will grow the economy, bring in new jobs and improve the entire community.

I'm going to assume the LTE (along with Merrill) represents a certain nutty leftist element in Lawrence that thinks the M-T and library parking garage are fantastic. Two projects that truly have zero economic benefit . It reminds me of the Wal Mart, Lowes, Home Depot idiocy that we've experienced over the last 10 years.

Keith 2 years, 8 months ago

City government, like state and national government, often do things that have zero economic, but positive social benefit. For economic benefit, we have private business. If this proposal is so wonderful, and will have such a positive economic benefit, let private industry build it and reap the profits.

JackMcKee 2 years, 8 months ago

Most of the benefits will accrue to the community as a whole, not to individual investors, so your analogy is particularly terrible.

Keith 2 years, 8 months ago

Please detail just how the city will recover the millions it will spend on this boondoggle.

bornon7 2 years, 8 months ago

No, he hasn't. Prove what time and money he has contributed....

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 8 months ago

Schumm has indicated that there will be no vote on this at the next commission meeting.

Looks to me that the commission is getting lots of pushback against this thing, and they're struggling mightily to create a narrative that will allow them to say they looked at all the alternatives, but there is just no "viable" alternative to the one that's been on the table, so they have no choice but to bring out the rubber stamp.

JackMcKee 2 years, 8 months ago

Just can't take the truth can you Bozo.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 8 months ago

What truth is that? (and be careful how you phrase it-- admin clearly didn't like your last post so much.)

bornon7 2 years, 8 months ago

Please quit using Jeff Bridges' photo for your user photo. I LIKE Jeff Bridges. You might be violating a copy right of some kind....?!

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