Planning and Development project updates

Kevin PowellCity, Planning & Development

Below is an update on several projects in process in the Planning & Development Services Department:

Safer Neighborhood Speeds
It starts with us! We all want to get where we’re going safely. Help create safer Lawrence neighborhoods by slowing down, looking out for others, and stopping for each other. Pick up your Safer Speeds yard sign, poster, or reflective sticker at one of these Parks & Rec Centers: East Lawrence, Holcom Park, or the Sports Pavilion. Posters and reflective stickers are also available at the Planning and Development Services office in City Hall Riverfront. Find out more about the Safer Neighborhood Speeds campaign at lawrenceks.org/safer-speeds.

Notable Development Projects in the Planning Phase
The following list details newly added notable and large development projects that have filed applications with the Planning Division. A complete list of planning submittals can be viewed at https://lawrenceks.org/pds/submittals/.

  • Multi-dwelling affordable housing development (3250 Michigan Street)

Accessory Dwelling Units in RS5 Text Amendment
Staff is developing a text amendment which would expand the existing Accessory Dwelling Unit code to the RS5 zoning district, which is identified in Plan 2040 and the Affordable Housing Advisory Board’s Housing Toolkit for consideration. The Affordable Housing Advisory Board and Planning Commission will consider the amendment prior to the City Commission’s consideration.  Sandy Day is the staff contact.

2021 CDBG and HOME Program Year Application Process
The 2021 CDBG and HOME applications were due to City staff on February 3, 2021.  The 2021 program year will run from August 1, 2021 to July 31, 2022.  The review of applications has begun and allocation recommendations will be completed in March and released to the public in April.  The Public Hearing for the recommendations will be held on April 20, 2021 during the City Commission regular meeting, beginning the 30 day public comment period.

Staff conducted an evaluation of the allocation process in October and presented the conclusions to the City Commission on November 17, 2020 to discuss the process and next steps.  At that meeting, the City Commission appeared to express a desire to maintain the scoring matrix and process as it currently stands, however they also discussed the desire to explore potential other non-CDBG funding sources for the neighborhood association communication needs.  The City Commission also appeared to express interest in capacity-building activities and engagement of all the low-moderate income neighborhoods in the City of Lawrence, even those that are not historically CDBG-funded.  Additional information about next steps will be forthcoming.

The Outreach Information, Citizen Participation Plan and CDBG/HOME Allocation and Recommendation Procedures can be found on the Planning and Development websiteDanelle Walters is the staff contact.

Contractor and Trade License Renewals
The expiration date for 2020 contractor and trade licenses has been extended until March 31, 2021. License holders are encouraged to renew well in advance of the new expiration date, and to interact with license renewal staff by email, phone, or mail to the extent possible. A drop box has been installed outside of the Planning & Development Services Department offices for any needed paper submittals. Please note: License renewal materials may be sent by email to buildinginspectiosn@lawrenceks.org. Email submittals are greatly appreciated.

Cold Weather Concrete Guidelines
As weather turns colder, contractors are encouraged to review the cold weather concrete guidelines that promote code compliant concrete construction practices. The guidelines are available for review online at https://assets.lawrenceks.org/pds/devservices/bsd/pds_bsd_cold_weather_concrete_guidelines_2019.pdf.

Stormwater Training
The City of Lawrence Municipal Services & Operations Department’s Environmental, Health and Science section is excited to offer City of Lawrence licensed contractors the opportunity to participate in a free Stormwater Training available now through August 2021. The training will cover the history and background of the Clean Water Act, and how it relates to the Municipal Separate Stormwater System (MS4) permit program. The training will help developers, builders, and construction contractors develop an understanding of the MS4 rules and requirements, and become familiar with best practices to prevent construction site runoff that leads to stormwater pollution. The information outlined in this course can help businesses avoid potential violations of State and Federal regulations.

Contractors can access training online at https://ewi-training.thinkific.com/courses/city-of-lawrence-stormwater-training. You will set up a free account to access the training, and a certificate will be provided upon successful completion. The certificate of completion should be submitted with your license renewal application.

The City of Lawrence Planning & Development Services Department (PDS) will recognize successful completion of the Stormwater Training course for two (2) hours of continuing education credit toward renewal of 2020 contractor licenses for calendar year 2021, or renewal of 2021 contractor licenses for calendar year 2022. PDS staff strongly encourages all contractors to take advantage of this free training opportunity to learn about important environmental conservation regulations and best practices, regardless of whether continuing education credits for license renewal are needed.

Citywide Safe Routes to School Plans
The Safe Routes to School Plans for Lawrence, Eudora, and Baldwin City were approved at the MPO Policy Board November 19, 2020 meeting. Subsequently, all plans were approved/received by each of the city’s commissions/councils and school boards.
Visit https://lawrenceks.org/safe-routes to view the plans.
Jessica Mortinger is the staff contact.

Transportation 2040 Amendment 1
Transportation 2040 is the blueprint for our future Transportation system. It is a vision for a healthy, safe, and efficient Transportation system, which adequately serves Lawrence, Eudora, Baldwin City, Lecompton, and unincorporated areas of Douglas County.

The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) requested an amendment to Transportation 2040 for two projects that are included in the Kansas Department of Transportation Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program IKE Development Pipeline Project.

Amendment #1 amends the two projects into the fiscally constrained project list.

  • US-40/K-10 Interchange Improvement (Diverging Diamond Interchange, at W.  6th Street)
  • US-56 Reconstruction (US-56/US-59 Junction to East to 1600 Rd)

The public comment period was December 22 – January 21. The MPO Policy Board will review public comments and consider the amendment for approval at their February 18 virtual meeting at 3 pm.

For more information about these items, visit lawrenceks.org/pds  or call (785) 832-7700.