Lawrence city commissioners to consider revised development plan for apartment complex on 6th Street

photo by: Rochelle Valverde/Journal-World

Lawrence City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St., is pictured on Jan. 31, 2023.

Lawrence city commissioners at their Tuesday meeting will consider a revised development plan for an apartment complex on Sixth Street.

Specifically, they will consider a revision that would allow for the removal of an access gate on the southern side of the property at 5555 W. Sixth St., the address of Alvadora Apartments. The gate provides access to Stonecreek Drive from the property, and the applicant is requesting that it be removed due to its poor condition.

According to the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting, the original preliminary development plan for the property was approved in February 2007, then referred to as “Aberdeen on 6th.” One condition in the original plan was that it be revised to show the restricted gate providing access to Stonecreek Drive due to concerns raised by the neighborhood regarding cut-through traffic.

The agenda notes that an additional access point to Sixth Street has since been constructed on Branchwood Drive; that work was completed in 2018.

“The justification for removing the gate is that with the now two access points to West Sixth Street, cut-through traffic in the neighborhood to the south of the property would be minimal,” a report from city staff reads. “The gate is also in poor condition and the property owner would like to remove it as it is currently a blight.”

According to the staff report, there was “substantial” public comment about managing traffic via the original access point. That’s what led to the inclusion of the existing gate, which was intended to allow only emergency services to enter and exit the property.

This time around, there’s one comment from a pair of residents of the neighboring Stoneridge East Subdivision included with Tuesday’s agenda, which notes that they’ll be directly impacted by the change. The neighbors say the gate in question has been closed the majority of the time they’ve lived in the neighborhood, which has caused minimal traffic through the area. During the few weeks when the gate was opened, the neighbors say traffic “significantly increased and many of the vehicles driving through the neighborhood did not observe the posted speed limits.”

In other business, commissioners will:

• As part of the meeting’s consent agenda, consider approving a pair of amendments to the city’s Land Development Code that would streamline the administrative review and processing time for some projects.

The Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission approved the amendments unanimously in February. One of them would affect the minor site planning process, which is used to verify that a proposed use is permitted by zoning, whether adequate parking is available on a site, or to review minor site modifications on a site with an existing approved site plan. That process typically takes two to three weeks to complete, according to Tuesday’s agenda.

The other amendment would affect projects undergoing a facade alteration or renovation. Under the current code, those projects currently require a standard site plan application be submitted to complete a review under the “community design manual,” which lays out design standards for commercial and industrial properties. The agenda notes that this type of review takes longer to complete, from 20 days at a minimum up to six weeks.

The Lawrence City Commission will convene at 5 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St., then immediately recess for two executive sessions, one slated for approximately 30 minutes and the other for approximately 25 minutes. A live stream of the meeting can be viewed via Zoom or the city’s YouTube channel.


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