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Archive for Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Letter: Planning optional?

March 20, 2013

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To the editor:

Do Lawrence taxpayers want a helter skelter planning document as the plan for the future of this fine community?

On March 25, item TA-12-00206 will come before the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission: “Consider Text Amendments to the City of Lawrence Land Development Code, Chapter 20, various articles, to change the requirement that development projects be required to comply with Horizon 2020. Initiated by City Commission on 8/21/12.”

This is a concern for myself and I would think for all taxpayers as stakeholders. Every community needs development guidelines for sake of continuity and fiscally responsible management of our tax dollars.

The quality of life in our neighborhoods and the downtown business district are important factors as well. More than half all Americans live in areas where the air is unsafe to breathe. Is this what Lawrence wants for Lawrence?

Helter skelter development wastes tax dollars. It pulls tax dollars away from existing neighborhoods and spreads them out over new developments that increase demand on services. Taxpayers want to make sure we tie increased fees/taxes to when the demand is being generated — NOT cart before the horse.

Historically the revenues generated by new residential housing do not pay for the many services they require from a municipality. This leads to degradation of our older neighborhoods and, contrary to popular belief, leads to higher taxes.

Residential taxes on the east side of town should not be subsidizing development on the west side of town. East-side taxes should be revitalizing the east side, with extremely few exceptions.

Comments

Katara 1 year, 5 months ago

"Residential taxes on the east side of town should not be subsidizing development on the west side of town. East-side taxes should be revitalizing the east side, with extremely few exceptions."

Really?

Just more of the us v. them politics. You are no different than the current Kansas Republican Party.

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Carol Bowen 1 year, 5 months ago

Katana, He is correct. It's not political. It's chronological. Consider the following.

Neighborhood A - developed in 1942; property taxes paid for 90 years. Those taxes paid for maintenance and further development of roads and traffic controls, utilities, solid waste lines, and so on.

Neighborhood B - developed in 1962; property taxes paid for 50 years. Development paid for by Neighborhood A.

Neighborhood C -developed in 2012; property taxes paid for 0 years. Development paid for by Neighborhoods A and B.

Neighborhood A has been paying for development the longest. The issue arises because new development outpaces maintenance and updates.

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Katara 1 year, 5 months ago

Nope. He is putting this in terms of an us v. them conversation and you won't get much from that.

There are neighborhoods in west Lawrence that are just as old as some neighborhoods in east Lawrence so I guess they get to pay for both according to his logic (which is only based on directional location).

Additionally, Mr. Heckler must not have traveled east-bound on K-10 lately. Definitely new development going on the east side there (which will benefit east Lawrence as to put in the new development, maintenance and updates must be done further away). As some have found out, you can't just hook a sewer or a water line into the existing infrastructure and expect it to work efficiently or effectively.

Anyhow, Neighborhood A is due anytime to be revitalized by hipsters ('cause vintage is edgy) and there are now housing seminars aimed specifically at them, and the other neighborhoods will end up paying the maintenance and updates required then.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/joshbarro/2012/03/05/arlington-touts-housing-4-hipsters/

It is the neighborhood circle of life.

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Carol Bowen 1 year, 5 months ago

I am not sure what you consider east Lawrence. I thought I lived in south-central Lawrence, but was informed that I live in east Lawrence. From my frame of reference, east Lawrence is east of Mass. st. Some of the housing dates back to the civil war. They have not experienced much maintenance and updates, so far. Gentrification has been spotty. Surely, you can understand their impatience. They've been waiting for the neighborhood circle of life for a very long time.

Good points about development to the east. I have always thought that east side neighborhoods would be attractive for K.C. Commuters. On the other hand, do we really want to encourage a bedroom community? Bedroom communities are not self sustainable. I agree the Richard Heckler is an unabashed liberal, but if he did not share his views, we would be missing a part of the community.

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Katara 1 year, 5 months ago

I don't care whether or not he is a liberal.

We are and have been a bedroom community for decades now. There is nothing wrong with that.

You are aware that K-10 is east of Mass St.? Additionally Haskell and its neighborhoods would be surprised to learn they are south central Lawrence.

The houses that date back to the civil war usually are restricted in what type of maintenance and updates they can do. If you wish to own a piece of history, you really can't complain about not being updated. That is usually why folks own such homes. They wish to preserve them.

It makes sense that east side neighborhoods are attractive for KC commuters. There are other places beside KC that people commute to. Many folks on the west side of Lawrence commute to Topeka.

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deec 1 year, 4 months ago

Infrastructure has been woefully neglected in "Old Lawrence" for many decades. Many of the sewer and water lines are as antiquated as the housing stock. It has nothing to do with historic preservation of the houses.

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repaste 1 year, 4 months ago

Residential taxes will not sustain a city. K-10 is East of Mass., and continues West of Mass.

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 4 months ago

A good vote took place March 25th at the Planning Commission out of respect for predictability,out of respect for those many who spent many many hours developing Horizon 20/20 and out of respect for what the process is there for. In essence it was agreed upon to not change a process that is not broken.

Not only that some information came out of the meeting regarding the unfriendliness of Lawrence toward developers. It's a myth. According to a member of the Planning Commission who has been researching this issue Lawrence is considered quite a friendly community towards the building industry. This commissioner is an owner of residential and commercial properties who believes in Horizon 20/20 and believes Lawrence needs a planning document such as Horizon 20/20.

The Planning Commission voted unanimously to deny the request.

Lawrence,Kansas cannot be unfriendly toward the building industry which is documented by the fact none have left town in search of that elusive " more friendly " environment.

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 4 months ago

Do Lawrence taxpayers want a Laissez Faire planning document as the plan for the future of this fine community? I think not.

This is but one request to eliminate guidelines. Where or when will it stop? Is eliminating guidelines a precedent Taxpayers want on the books that can come back to haunt us at the next request?

This is a concern for myself and I would think for all taxpayers as stakeholders. Every community needs development guidelines with teeth in them for sake of continuity and fiscally responsible management of our tax dollars.

The quality of life in our neighborhoods and the downtown business district are important factors as well. Those two factors would also be at stake under any Laissez Faire policy. Let’s not pretend

Laissez Faire development wastes tax dollars. It pulls tax dollars away from neighborhood concerns and spreads them out into new development that may or may not be necessary anytime soon.

Taxpayers would likely prefer to have a clear cut guideline in place rather than leave the future of our fine city in the hands of who? This is not streamlining this is shirking responsibility

Failure to follow a clear and concise planning document might well promote degradation of our older neighborhoods, the family style downtown and contrary to popular belief lead to higher taxes.

Again this is but one request to eliminate guidelines. Where or when will it stop? Is eliminating guidelines a precedent Taxpayers want on the books that can come back to haunt us at the next request?

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