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Parking and golf courses are among the top concerns raised in Lawrence City Commission discussion of new ordinance – The Lawrence Times

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Lawrence community members raised concerns about parking, floodplain development and the golf course in the Alvamar neighborhood Tuesday during council members' discussion of the draft revised zoning ordinance.

The code essentially sets out the city's guidelines on what can be built where and what requirements developments must meet.

Although the revision process has been underway for nearly two years, the majority of Alvamar residents were unaware that the zoning code was being revised, Scott Robinson, chairman of the Alvamar Neighborhood Association, told commissioners Tuesday.

Some of the draft changes to the zoning code will aim to increase population density in some neighborhoods, and additional areas of the city will be designated for mixed-use development, consultant Elizabeth Garvin said in her presentation.

“Everyone we have spoken to about this issue is extremely concerned about what these changes will mean for them,” Robinson said.

The neighborhood opposes “blanket rezoning changes” to certain areas, which they believe currently protect green space and property values ​​and prevent stormwater problems, Robinson said.

Some people took the opportunity to voice their concerns about the golf course in the Alvamar neighborhood, now called the Jayhawk Club. Some said the course was in poor condition. They feared the golf course could be redeveloped under proposed building codes, and they do not want to lose the course or the green space.

Another change in the draft law is the abolition of minimum parking space regulations and the introduction of maximum parking space regulations.

That doesn't mean the city is banning parking — “the city just doesn't require parking. It's up to the developer, the applicant, to figure out what the market needs and provide that amount of parking,” Garvin said.

Chris Flowers, a frequent commentator, expressed concern that developers could potentially make housing unaffordable for people who could afford rent but couldn't afford even an extra $50 or $100 a month for a parking space.

Phil Englehart called on the city to use analytical resources to “find a tailored, more neighborhood-focused solution to this difficult problem.”

Dominique Sexton expressed concerns about the LDC's changes to floodplain protection and called on the city to prohibit any residential or commercial development in the floodplains designated by FEMA.

Commissioners were not asked to take action on the LDC update on Tuesday. After further engagement and feedback, a further revision will be released on July 19, Garvin said.

The Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission is expected to vote on the code in late September, Commissioner Brad Finkeldei said.

The Lawrence City Commission is scheduled to hold another work session on the code on October 15 and vote on its approval on November 12.

You can find the full presentation at this link or the video of the meeting at this link. The LDC project page and full code draft can be found at lawrenceldc.konveio.com.

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Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. For more information about her work at The Times, click here. Her staff bio can be found here.

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