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Letters to the Editor

Letter: No heart

March 27, 2014

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To the editor:

What is wrong with us? When my mother was in her 90s, we respected her decision to stay in her home with her memories. She knew where everything was, and took care of her home very well. We knew that if she were forced to move she would become disoriented. The move would shorten her life and her quality of life.

In Lawrence, we ridicule an old woman for wanting to stay in her home. We cannot comprehend why she would not want to make lots of money by selling. The developer even made access to her home more difficult. Why didn’t the city protect her rights? Why didn’t the developer try to make her life better. Is everything always about the almighty dollar? I think Lawrence has lost its heart. The future for seniors in our fair city does not look good.

Comments

Fred Mertz 6 months, 1 week ago

Good letter.

The city worships at the feet of developers. The rest of us do not matter.

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John Graham 6 months, 1 week ago

The developer did try to make her life better by offering her hundreds of thousands of dollars more than what her property is worth. She could have afforded to move to a new house or retirement community that would have provided her a better quality of housing than she currently has. She chose to decline the offer. It is not the city's job to make her housing situation better. It is the city's job to protect her property boundaries which they have. She never had great access to the property that is why she used someone else's property to access hers. There is no reason to believe that arrangement would have continued indefinitely. If the property had sold to someone who turned it into a single family home, the new owner could easily have denied her use of their property to access her home just as this project has done. The previous owners were stupid to allow her to use their property as any slip and fall on her part would have been an liability issue for that owner. That area has been zoned for houses as well as multiple-unit apartments for many decades so there was no underhanded zoning change. All Lawrence seniors should be as lucky as her as to have a developer want to buy their property at a grossly inflated price. Most would have welcomed a chance to suddenly sell their home for hundreds of thousands of dollars more than their house is worth. Because for most seniors in Lawrence and everywhere in the US those hundreds of thousands of "free" dollars would mean a better quality of retirement living. She made her decision so no one should feel sorry for her or blame the city for her situation.

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Richard Heckler 6 months ago

"The developer did try to make her life better by offering her hundreds of thousands of dollars more than what her property is worth."

You missed the point.

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John Graham 6 months ago

Richard, No I did not. But I am sure you will explain how the developer is a tea party member or this is all the blame of ALEC like everything else in your world.

It is not the developers responsibility to do anything more than what they did. In fact they did more than they had to. The developer could have simply explained to her that her property would be difficult to sell once the complex was built. Thus he could have offered her only half of her current value. Instead the developer offered her hundreds of thousands of dollars more than what her property is worth. She chose to decline the offer. The developer was actually much nicer than many would have been. Many would have squeezed her into accepting the low ball figure. So quit complaining about the developer. The developer tried, she declined end of story. Her property is intact. She has no one to blame for her current situation but herself. People complaining about the developer are really just wanting everyone to pity her because of her age. She is old enough to know what she wants to do with her property. She didn't want to sell which is her right, no one is taking her home away from her. She didn't sell so she gets what she gets it is her choice. No one has done her wrong.

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John Graham 6 months ago

Richard you missed the point. The woman was using another property owners land to access her home. That other property owner may have been trying to be nice but he was being stupid. By allowing her to use his land to access her home legal issues can arise. There is the possible claim of adverse possession where she could make a claim that since she has been using a portion of his land for an extended period of time as if it is hers, she can claim that portion of land is actually now hers. Basically "squatter's rights". She might not win a court case but the other property owner would have to defend himself in court and could tie his land up in a court battle for some time. Also if the other land owner is allowing her to routinely use a portion of his property to access her property then he has a liability issue if she has any sort of accident on his property. The fact that the new complex will not allow her to use their land to access her property is not the new complex owners issue. If she doesn't like the street access to her property that is her problem to fix or it is a reason to move, that is not a problem for the developer to fix. But I am sure Richard you have some theory how the Koch brothers are behind this.

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6 months ago

No one is ridiculing this woman. I think she needs to have the court appoint a family member who can look after her best interest. Frankly, I think she should move into a facility where she would be taken care of, there are some very nice ones in Lawrence that she could now afford. She would have her own living area and privacy but have meals prepared for her and have the option of participating in communal activities. Of course the family member would be closely monitored as to how the money is spent.

I think it would be best not to inject our personal experiences into how we try to understand this situation. Sometimes people can fight change only to realize later that it was for the best, that they are happier, and wonder what all the fuss was about.

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