The People Speak -- Stop the Land Grab!

Annexation and Rezoning in Lawrence, Kansas and Douglas County, Kansas

"Among material resources, the greatest unquestionably, is the land.  Study how a society uses its land, and you can come to pretty reliable conclusions as to what its future will be." 

E. F. Shumacher author, Small is Beautiful

"There's no question that Lawrence is sprawling," 

 Stephen Grabow, a Kansas University professor of architecture.

"In the mean time a big building sits empty in East Hills and Farmland sits unused and polluted.  Yet the city, against the will of the people who live out there, annexes a piece of land that supposedly won't need any city services but is supposed to create many jobs."

                                         Anonymous Commenter from LJW

"I want to say that I’m really getting tired of the city of Lawrence treating the rest of the county like poor relations."

                                         KU Law Professor Mike Hoeflich

“I don’t understand why, evidently, the rules apply to you and me, but they don’t apply to the City Commission.”

Dave Ross, president of SRCA

"Isn't that just like the Lawrence Journal World -- Hardly a word about the huge outcry about this issue -- UNTIL the zoning and annexation are approved.  THEN they publish an article!"

Ann (area resident)

"The metropolitan newspaper -- is also the most important example of a business which has its interest anchored in the aggregate growth of the locality....A paper's financial status (and that of other media to a lesser extent) tends to be wed to the size of the of the sources of their special influence is their commitment to growth..."

The City as Growth Machine by Harvey Molotch (1976)

"...the City has already had discussions with the rural water district board. They have not committed to a level of water until they understand uses. My conclusion is that they are going to supply water..."

   Commissioner Chestnut on MORNING of Aug 5, 2008     (defending his support of rezoning/annexation)

"Don Fuston, chairman of Rural Water District No. 6, told commissioners the water district would not supply water to the industrial park."

LJW reporting on Commission meeting EVENING of Aug 5

(Chestunt voted FOR the rezoning anyway)

"Many policies of Horizon 2020 do not support this request given its location outside the Urban Growth Area and the lack of urban infrastructure available to the property.  However, the Planning Staff, uder the direction of the governing bodies of the county and city is actively working to update the elements of the comprehensive plan that lend support to this request." 

                                              From County Planning Staff report

"The Tail really is wagging the dog here."

Lawrence attorney Ronald Schneider

"Could a single 155 acre parcel be the sole reason for all the changes, or could it be  because the Schwada group also owns both north sides of 6th street at K10 and more patches of land heading east of the 155 acre parcel along Farmers Turnpike and would like to get city-financed infrastructure? Could the 155 acre parcel be the beginning of a domino effect forcing the city to reconsider supplying infrastructure? At what cost? How could citizens possibly know? There has been a lack of reporting on the issues with balanced and complete investigation in newspapers, radio and television."


“We’re in a competition, a fight to prove that Douglas County is a place that wants to grow,”

Lawrence Mayor/city commissioner Mike Deaver

"When our mayor declared that the proposed site was at the confluence of I-70 and K-10, the city chambers should have erupted in laughter.  Maybe he is assuming the SLT will be completed.  That being the case, the 600 acres south of K-10, east of Franklin Road, and west of Noria Road meet the same test.  This area has been planned for mixed use industrial for 35 years and is included in the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) to have water and sanitary sewer service in the relatively near term.  Additionally, it is strategically located at the eastern terminus of the K-10 corridor, which is regarded as one of the most promising business development areas in the state.  When Rob Chestnut suggested that the developer would have to work out water supply issues with RWD 6, he simply abdicated his responsibility.  Annexation without a plan to provide infrastructure is just plain silly."

John Haase, Former Planning Commission Chairman


"Commissioners have pulled all property tax funding for transit services out of the 2009 budget and are relying solely on the future sales tax to fund the system....Members of the crowd lobbied commissioners to increase the transit portion of the sales tax to 0.25 percent to ensure that the bus system will have enough funding... A majority of commissioners rejected both pleas."

Lawrence Journal World

 "....politics is the process through which goods and services actually come to be distributed in the society. Largely unseen, and relegated to negotiations within committees (when it occurs at all within a formal government body), this is the politics which determines who, in material terms, gets what, where, and how (Lasswell 1936). This is the kind of politics we must talk about at the local level: it is the politics of distribution, and land is the crucial (but not the only) variable in this system. "

The City as Growth Machine by Harvey Molotch (1976)