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City to consider banning couches on porches
Here's some breaking news about some oftentimes broken pieces of furniture: City officials are looking to ban couches on porches in Lawrence neighborhoods.
I know it may sound simple enough to some, but the issue may soon open up a can of worms — which by the way, have been known to be found in porch couches.
At the request of the Lawrence fire department, city officials have drafted an ordinance that would ban couches and all other types of upholstered furniture from porches and patios. Lawn chairs and other types of furniture specifically made for the outdoors would continue to be legal.
I've got a call into the fire chief, but based on a memo, the department believes the couches represent a fire hazard.
In case you have forgotten, porch couches, which have been known to create forgetfulness, are quite popular in certain college neighborhoods in Lawrence. If you don't believe me, drive through the Oread neighborhood. Or take a walking tour, like I did yesterday afternoon, stopping to lie down and escape from the heat on comfy couches that allow you to enjoy the outdoors and sometimes even allows tiny creatures from the outdoors to crawl upon you. (I'm assuming that is why my wife blasted me with a water hose when I came home yesterday, but that may be a bad assumption.)
My Lawhorn's Lawrence column on Sunday will tell some tales from the seat of a porch couch. But I can give you a little preview of what most of the students I talked with thought about the city's idea:
"Screw that," Travis Morris, a KU junior said from his combination couch porch/feline bed.
A common question was why a couch on a porch is any more flammable than a couch inside a living room. The fire department's memo doesn't address that subject, but I did hear from KU students who conceded that it is more likely that people will use the porch couch as a place to smoke. Whether it is through lease agreements or just courtesy to other roommates, many students don't smoke inside their apartments anymore, I was told.
The fire department's memo also mentions that the location of porch couches often make it difficult for residents of a house to escape out of the home's main entrance, if and when one of the couches do catch on fire. Since 2007, 10 of the 463 building fires that have occurred in Lawrence have occurred on a deck or porch that included upholstered furniture, according to the department's memo.
Several college communities already have implemented similar bans, including Lincoln, Neb., Boulder, Colo., Ames, Iowa, and Columbia, Mo. (But, I assume they do allow the SEC tradition of sitting on the hood of your car. The one on blocks in the front yard, of course. Not the one you drive. That would be hickish.)
We'll see what city commissioners do with this ordinance. It tentatively is scheduled to be discussed at their Tuesday evening meeting. The agenda for that meeting comes out this afternoon, so we'll know then.
In the meantime, chill out, relax. I can tell you where some couches are.