STOP the Lawrence Land Grab!
Taking back our community from the developers
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Lawrence, Kansas, City Commission Elections are coming up. If you live in the Lawrence City limits -- Please Vote ON April 7! A city commission that supports good planning could really undue the regressive direction planning has taken.
Currently three separate lawsuits have been filed challenging the legality of Lawrence/Douglas County actions attempting to island annex and rezone rural land in Douglas county. Recent county commission elections give us hope, as they have dramatically changed the makeup of the county commission. Upcoming elections of Lawrence City Commissioners, will be very important in terms of planning the course of development in Lawrence. Will our growth be sensible? Will it serve citizens and the broader community -- not just those with huge vested interests? Will it use taxpayer funds wisely and not invest heavily in infrastructure that benefits a few developers while depriving current infrastructure of adequate maintenance, and forcing property taxes up? We need YOU! Please read this site, educate others and get involved. This is our community -- let's take it back!
Tuesday Dec 9, 2008, the City Commission not only voted FOR profound changes to Horizon 2020, and FOR a special use permit so local schools can build duplicate and costly new sports facilities, that are opposed by their neighbors (while academics and arts budgets get cut...) commission members actually said that they wanted to push this through in a great hurry before their terms expire. Never before in the history of Douglas County has any commission acted so consistantly with disregard for proper procedure, and concerns of citizens -- on multiple issues simultaneously! We are now on track for eggregious urban sprawl, and devastating tax increases to cover unsustainable infrastructure expansion. While the economy falters and most individuals and businesses are trying to figure out how we can further tighten our belts, we can all ponder how our local government can act with wanton disregard for fiscal solvency in upcoming trying times. Read on to learn more....
August 5, 2008 the Lawrence City Commission voted 4:1 to rezone 155 acres of prime agricultural land that had only just been recently island-annexed into the city, to INDUSTRIAL, in spite of the fact that it is OUTSIDE of the urban growth area . This land currently has NO WATER, NO SEWER and insufficient fire protection. The rural water district is on the record as saying they cannot and will not provide water for an industrial use on this land. Read how Planning in Lawrence Has Failed.
Developers DO have an important contribution to make to our community. But we need thoughtful planning and intelligent oversight. We don't want Lawrence to become a "Pottersville"
When developers wield too much influence over our city commission, county comission, planning commission, and city manager, we run the risk of losing the very attributes that make our city desirable to live in. (be sure to read this)
With gas prices unstable, taxes escalating, and funds too tight to adequately maintain the infrastructure, city services and public transit that we already have, we must consider the long-term fiscal implications of these planning decisions.
But this is just the beginning of much bigger things to come. On September 8, 2008 This article ran in the Lawrence Journal World.
As predicted, the Planning Commission rewrote Horizon 2020 to enlarge the urban growth area to include the recently island annexed land (that has no services) This drastic change appears to be engineered by the city commission (and perhaps the City Manager, Dave Corliss?) The tail really is wagging the dog! Be sure to read What's at stake to understand the significance of all of this.
Government works best when citizens are informed and engaged. The local media have failed to adequately address this issue, so use this site to educate yourself and find out what you can do before it's too late. The November elections leave us hopeful -- we have new county commissioners, who appear thoughtful and smart on growth. In the spring Lawrence will elect some new city commissioners. We must work to replace the regressive commissioners with people who will represent the interests of the average citizen. We CAN have fair and intelligent government if we all just stay Informed and remain involved!
As all attempts to stop this leapfrog annexation/rezoning at the commission level have failed, some citizens have filed a lawsuit. Please consider contributing $20 -- $500 dollars, so that this lawsuit can continue long enough to force our government to follow its own rules and procedures and ensure that the community's best interests are upheld.
What kind of a community do you want to live in?