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Archive for Friday, September 7, 2012

Property owners want answers on extra tax for more parking

The parking garage to be built south of the renovated Lawrence Public Library is shown in this architect’s rendering. The garage will hold 250 cars. Its design incorporates a space to hang banners.

The parking garage to be built south of the renovated Lawrence Public Library is shown in this architect’s rendering. The garage will hold 250 cars. Its design incorporates a space to hang banners.

September 7, 2012

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City officials are going to have to provide some extra information before downtown property owners will consent to an extra tax to fund more parking near the expanding Lawrence Public Library.

“There is no question that we need more parking in downtown,” said Mike Riling, a downtown attorney and member of the Downtown Lawrence Inc. board. “But the question is how much will this plan help to improve parking in downtown?”

In early July, City Hall officials proposed creating a special benefit district that would charge a new assessment to downtown property owners to fund a $1.2 million project to add another level of parking to a garage planned to be built next to the Lawrence Public Library at Seventh and Vermont streets.

Under the plan, the extra level of parking would add 72 additional spaces to the garage — which is scheduled to have about 250 spaces if the city does not proceed with the extra level of parking.

But to pay for the project, downtown property owners would have an extra assessment added to their property tax bills for the next 10 years.

As currently proposed, property owners along much of Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and parts of Kentucky streets would pay 47 cents for every square foot of land they own in the downtown district. For a typical 25-foot-wide retail lot on Massachusetts Street, that would amount to about $140 a year for 10 years.

Thus far, the proposal hasn’t generated many strong opinions either way in downtown.

“I’ve heard favorable comments and I’ve also heard from people who say this isn’t the time they’re interested in paying additional taxes,” said City Manager David Corliss. “My point continues to be that we get so few opportunities to add downtown parking.”

Several downtown leaders said they expect business owners will start speaking out on the proposal once the city holds a series of informational meetings about the project.

The city has scheduled two meetings with downtown property owners at 7:30 a.m. Sept. 18 and Sept. 20 at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H.

“I think people will want to know who the city thinks will be using these new spaces,” Riling said. “Will it alleviate some of the overall issues with downtown parking or will it really just be a library thing?”

Other downtown merchants said that may be tough to figure out.

“It is really not an either or thing,” said Jim Bateman, an owner of The Yarn Barn. “If extra people are coming to the library, they are coming to downtown. They will be parking somewhere in downtown.”

City Commissioner Aron Cromwell said the city needs to be prepared for the impact larger crowds at the library will have on downtown.

“If you look back at the trends of library use over the last five years, it already has had tremendous growth,” Cromwell said. “Once we put a new shine on the library, that trend is really going to go up. It will skyrocket. Everybody in the community is going to want to see the new library.”

Construction work on the $19 million library expansion and parking garage is expected to begin before the end of the year.

A Lawrence Public Library patron walks from the library to her car in the library parking lot. Currently the city is planning to build a 250-space parking garage at the same time it expands the Lawrence Public Library. The city included funding for the garage in the $18 million bond issue approved by voters.

A Lawrence Public Library patron walks from the library to her car in the library parking lot. Currently the city is planning to build a 250-space parking garage at the same time it expands the Lawrence Public Library. The city included funding for the garage in the $18 million bond issue approved by voters.

City officials likely will need to decide by the end of September whether to add another level of parking to the proposed garage.

Downtown property owners do have the option of trying to gather enough signatures to file a protest petition to stop the special assessment. To do so, more than half the district will have to object to the proposal.

City commissioners said feedback from property owners and downtown merchants will be important in deciding whether to move forward.

“I’m still weighing the pros and cons of it,” City Commissioner Mike Dever said. “My gut tells me that if we’re going to add more parking, doing it while we already are going to be in the middle of a construction project is a good time to do it. But we have to make sure we have buy in from the stakeholders.”

Comments

q_ball2kand1 2 years ago

Underground of the riverside mall parking garage is empty all the time. Top floor and basement of the 10th and New Hampshire parking garage is empty all the time Numerous other lots in downtown Lawrence, particularly 38.972919,-95.237732, 38.968476,-95.233956, and 38.965989,-95.237567, are often, by my observation, less than half full. So Mr. Riling, I'd say we have plenty of parking downtown. What we could benefit from is better instant communication to drivers about where parking is available

Or Long term Ideas Trolleys, one running Mass from 6th to 19th. Another making a loop of 6th, New Hampshire, 11th, and Vermont. Make some parking on Vermont and New Hampshire angular like Mass St. instead of parallel to the road.

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q_ball2kand1 2 years ago

The formatting in the comment preview lies!

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pizzapete 2 years ago

I like your idea of letting people know where and when parking is available. Maybe the city could put a digital display outside the garage indicating how many spaces are currently available in the lot? I know the KC airport has a system similar to that for their parking lots. I think it might draw more cars into the garage if drivers knew exactly how many spaces are available there at any given time.

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lunacydetector 2 years ago

the additional parking will ONLY benefit the government, be it local or federal. to the north, the new city library and the u.s. post office; to the west, the lawrence swimming pool; to the east, the lawrence chamber of commerce; and to the south, the douglas county senior center.

hardly anyone parks and walks. this parking garage is only for the benefit of the government, just like the public parking garage for all the city vehicles on new hampshire - with the recently constructed apartment building being the exception.

just say 'no' to more taxes.

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Stuart Sweeney 2 years ago

At almost 17,000 dollars for each space it would take alot to recoup the expense. Is the justification for this really there?

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jafs 2 years ago

140x10=1400

Not 14,000

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down_the_river 2 years ago

$1,200,000 buys 72 parking spaces, that's the nearly $17,000 per space that is mentioned. The $1,400 is what a typical storefront would be charged over 10 years.

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jafs 2 years ago

Ah - thanks. My bad.

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KS 2 years ago

Who is designing these buildings? They rank right up there with UGLY! This garage will be dated by the time it opens.

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kernal 2 years ago

That design is already dated. Come on Lawrence architects; if you can't do better than this and the proposed rec building, perhaps we need to consult with architects outside of Lawrence.

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Tomato 2 years ago

It's so ugly. Given that Downtown is supposed to be the jewel of Lawrence, how is it not a priority to make new/renovated building fit with the general look of the area?

Instead they're spending 18M on this monstrosity, so that everybody can be awed by its hideousness.

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lunacydetector 2 years ago

its design needs to correlate with the old southwestern bell/at&t cell tower across the street.

probably from the same architectural firm.

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leftylucky 2 years ago

How come the taxpayers are subsidizing the property taxes on the vacant lot on Vermont that our mayor owns. How does he justify his agricultural use in the middle of town. 30 dollars year, we could all use a tax like that.

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lunacydetector 2 years ago

why is the us bank building behemoth only worth $2.7 million, when compton's apartment building on new hampshire is worth $7.8 million dollars?

smells greasy

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Liberty275 2 years ago

Just figure out how much the extra bit will cost with interest and maintenance/insurance for a decade, divide that by the number of downtown addresses - divide that number by 10 and send each downtown business an annual bill for that portion of the improvement. If they don't pay the tax. put a lien on the business.

It won't cost the businesses as they will just pass the taxation down to the retail customer. If you can afford to shop downtown, you can afford to pay for the parking.

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patkindle 2 years ago

hey it is just pennies a day..... just like the mt bus, homeless shelter, rec center etc...... and it is all about the kids....... plus if you dont pay taxes, it wont affect you anyway...... so just rob from the rich and give to the poor..... hope and change you know...... woo woo, bring it on....... and we wonder why noting downtown makes it but bars and places to eat .......

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JackMcKee 2 years ago

Cramwell is sure going to leave his mark on Lawrence. If you know what I mean.

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ksjayhawk74 2 years ago

Any bets on how long it will take Doug Compton to attach a building to the new facility for a $0 parking garage for his property?

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ksjayhawk74 2 years ago

He might pay for the parking spaces but that's still a tremendous savings over actually providing his own parking facility. He paid nothing for being able to attach his building to it, putting elevators in it are only for his tenants. That is supposed to be a public parking facility that other property owners paid for. How happy do you think they are for paying for Doug Compton parking garage.

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Carol Bowen 2 years ago

I've had the same question. “There is no question that we need more parking in downtown,” said Mike Riling, a downtown attorney and member of the Downtown Lawrence Inc. board. “But the question is how much will this plan help to improve parking in downtown?”

The library parking lot is very full during the summer because of library patrons, the park, and the swimming pool. The downtown realtors have always had a hard time convincing their employees to park off Mass street and the free parking lots. So, who thinks that adding another floor to this parking ramp which would a healthy walk away will change where downtown customers and employees park? Provide parking and they will come?

There is a reason to build the ramp - to accommodate parking needs for the library and parks. Another floor would dwarf the library. That is beyond poor design. And, here's my biggie. I would like to see elected Lawrence officials do what they were expected to do instead of going off on a tangent that costs more money.

I suspect that people who voted for the library would be supportive of a modified improvement given the economy. These guys are headed in the opposite direction.

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mr_right_wing 2 years ago

Extra Tax? = Lawrence?

ANYONE SUPRISED??

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kernal 2 years ago

If the city keeps adding taxes, sooner or later it will be cheaper to shop elsewhere for the big ticket items.

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nut_case 2 years ago

"sooner or later" ?? I highly recommend you plug in and check out this thing called the 'interwebs' or something like that. You can find the exact same item, much cheaper and have it shipped directly to your door!

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Bigdog66046 2 years ago

The parking department should be updated. Start monitoring how long cars are parked on mass. Make it a 4 hour limit for being on a block. This will stop the employees that just keep going out and feeding the meter so they can park right in front of their business. I rarely go downtown, because of this. Alot of times i don't have the time to walk two block to eat lunch or carry packages that far. Until the business owners monitor their employees parking and make them walk, customers will continue to stay away! Give parking control a vehicle with the cameras on it. (not new technology anymore!) and then ticket anyone there over the 4 hour time limit and boot any cars that owe more than $300 in tickets. Would pay for itself in a short amount of time and solve the parking problem!!

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rousseau108 2 years ago

“If you look back at the trends of library use over the last five years, it already has had tremendous growth,” Cromwell said. “Once we put a new shine on the library, that trend is really going to go up. It will skyrocket. Everybody in the community is going to want to see the new library.”

Seriously? Can Cromwell actually believe this? Yeah, that new-fangled library technology will bring droves of people in their covered wagons from territories far and wide. "Everybody in the community is going to want to see the new library"--yeah, maybe just once so they can see what a colossal waste of their tax money looks like. After that, don't think so.

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Richard Heckler 2 years ago

Let's help rehab the public schools instead. Let's improve the quality of life for our young students and their parents.

All taxpayers are in on this. If they bill increased taxes to downtown it comes back on all of us no question about it. It's a tax increase on all shoppers across the board. People are moving away from Lawrence,Kansas so where is the dire need?

How does this increase in taxes improve the quality of life in Lawrence? Local profiteers are draining our pocketbooks and raising our taxes.

No one at city hall can truly justify the added expense. City government is handing out tax abatements to developers in $12 million $$$$ increments then wants to spend more on additional parking that taxpayers did not approve.

They want to spend upwards of $40-$50 million for the sports complex on the west side using east side tax dollars. This place is at least 10 miles from our home = about $7-$8 in gasoline = too many $$$$$$. A lot of east Lawrence is about this distance and some are yet further away.

How many different types of tax increases have been laid on the local taxpayers in the last 5 years? rates,admissions and user fees are also taxes.

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