Commissioner Courtney Shipley files for reelection to the Lawrence City Commission
photo by: contributed photo
Commissioner Courtney Shipley has filed for reelection to the Lawrence City Commission.
Shipley, who formerly served as chair of the Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods and as a member of the Board of Zoning Appeals and the Transient Guest Tax Grant Program Advisory Board, was elected to her first term on the commission in 2019. Shipley said she hoped to continue to move forward on various initiatives, including the implementation of the city’s strategic plan.
“I think it’s really important work,” Shipley said. “I also think we need to stay focused on the strategic plan and meeting our data-driven goals.”
The city’s strategic plan, which was developed by the commission, has five goal areas, focusing on strong and welcoming neighborhoods, arts and culture, the economy, infrastructure and public safety. Each goal has specific indicators that the city has been tracking.
Shipley said key issues in the upcoming term would be expanding the city in an efficient manner, continuing to support city infrastructure and services, including fire/medical service needs, all the while working to keep the city’s budget balanced. She said the commission would have some hard choices in that regard.
And as the city expands its boundaries, Shipley said the way in which the city develops and annexes new land will be really important — providing the opportunity for both increased efficiency and innovation.
“We need to be more efficient in the way that we’ve done that, with things like increasing density and building smarter neighborhoods,” Shipley said.
Shipley said that could include the concept of “15-minute neighborhoods,” which are laid out so that needs such as employers, food and schools are reachable by foot, bike or public transport within 15 minutes. She said she was optimistic regarding the ongoing update to the city’s development code, which governs where and how the city develops.
“I think there will be a real payoff in the changes,” she said. “We know our code has become kind of onerous for a lot of different groups — we’ve gotten feedback on that over the years.”
Shipley’s term on the commission is one of three expiring this year. The others are those of commissioners Amber Sellers and Brad Finkeldei, both of whom have also filed for reelection. Dustin Stumblingbear, Mike Dever and John Martin have also filed for election.
The filing deadline for the City Commission race is noon on June 1. Candidates will have an Aug. 1 primary, if needed, and the general election will be on Nov. 7. Primaries will be scheduled only if the number of candidates who file is more than two times the number of open seats.