Lawrence City Commission to consider rezoning request for first small homes development; neighborhood opposes the project

photo by: City of Lawrence

Example plans provided by Tenants to Homeowners in a marked-up application for affordable housing funds show a new small home development near Bullene Avenue and 19th Street.

Lawrence city leaders will soon consider two requests related to the city’s first proposed development of small homes.

The city already allows the 3,000-square-foot single-family lots the project requires, but the proposed site requires a rezoning from industrial uses to that zoning type as well as an amendment to the comprehensive plan. As part of its meeting Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission will consider both requests, as well as a letter of opposition from the neighborhood.

As the Journal-World previously reported, Tenants to Homeowners is partnering with private developers on the first-of-its-kind housing development, called the Burroughs Creek Trail Addition. The project calls for building 12 to 13 small homes on a 1.6-acre site near Bullene Avenue and 19th Street. Seven of those homes will be designated as affordable housing and managed by Tenants to Homeowners. The commission recently voted to award $125,000 from the city’s affordable housing trust to help fund the affordable housing component of the project.

In its opposition letter to the commission, the Brook Creek Neighborhood Association states that the development crowds houses into an excessively dense cluster of 3,000-square-foot lots. The letter states the neighborhood does not want to become the guinea pig of the first use of the zoning type, which it says will result in reduced food garden space, more stormwater runoff, overparked streets, more dogs, more noise, scarce outside storage, twice the crime and twice the trash carts.

In addition, the letter states that Brook Creek already has an undue proportion of low-income housing and instead calls for equitable distribution of affordable housing in other neighborhoods. A protest petition was also submitted, but city staff said in a memo to the commission that the petition does not have enough signatures to be considered valid.

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

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