Lawrence City Commission to consider benefit district boundaries for Queens Road

photo by: Nick Krug

Queens Road north of West Sixth Street is shown in this file photo from April 2017.

City leaders will soon take the first step in determining which property owners will be paying for the multimillion-dollar reconstruction of Queens Road.

As part of its meeting Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission will review three options for the formation of a benefit district for the project and will choose one of them to hold a public hearing on at a future meeting. The commission will also consider setting Oct. 2 as the date of that hearing.

As originally proposed, the benefit district would mostly include properties within approximately a quarter of a mile of Queens Road. However, two options to expand the district are also on the table, according to a city staff memo to the commission. One of them would add several hundred more residential properties to the district, all of which would see a one-time increase of a few thousand dollars on their property tax bills, the Journal-World previously reported.

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That option would widen the benefit district boundaries to include properties half a mile east and half a mile west of Queens Road. Most of the district would be within the city limits, but it would also include a 10-acre tract owned by Graycliff Holdings L.C. located on the west side of Queens Road that at this time is not within the city limits.

Two city-owned properties — the future police headquarters site at 5100 Overland Drive and a water tower site at Sixth Street and Stoneridge Drive, would also be within this proposed district, according to the memo.

A third option would add only those two city-owned properties to the district, and would not otherwise expand the boundaries beyond what was originally proposed, according to the memo.

The original version of the district would cost the city $350,000, while each of the expanded options would cost the city $704,000, according to the memo. The remaining costs of the $5.3 million project would be assessed to the residential and commercial property owners in the benefit district.

In May, Lawrence city commissioners said they were interested in increasing the number of properties that will pay a share of the $5.3 million reconstruction of Queens Road and addition of a traffic signal to the intersection of Queens Road and Sixth Street. The commission voted unanimously at that time to direct city staff to research whether the city could expand the boundary of the benefit district as a means to lower the cost assessed to each property.

The City Commission will convene at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St.


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