Recap: Lawrence City Commission’s March 16 meeting

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The Lawrence City Commission met virtually Tuesday. Here are the items from our preview and what happened with them.

Big takeaway: The commission removed the extension of 27th Street through Mutt Run dog park from the city’s capital improvement plan.

August Rudisell/@KsScanner The Kaw Nation’s sacred
In´zhúje´waxóbe (prayer rock)
is pictured March 14, 2021.

• A formal apology on the behalf of the city and Douglas County to the people of the Kaw Nation for the appropriation of the Kaw Nation’s sacred In´zhúje´waxóbe (prayer rock) and agreeing to its unconditional return to the Kaw Nation.

↪️ Passed, 5-0

• Sending a letter to the state of Kansas regarding its housing needs assessment, specifically noting the need for income discrimination ordinances and opposing a statewide ban on inclusionary zoning. Such zoning would allow a jurisdiction to require that a share of new construction be affordable to people with low and moderate incomes, but a statewide ban eliminates that option for the city, according to the letter in the agenda packet.

↪️ Passed, 5-0; Mayor Brad Finkeldei said he supported the part of the letter about inclusionary zoning because he believes such decisions should be made at the city level rather than state level. He said he is “not a big fan” of inclusionary zoning, but he thinks it should be the city’s right to discuss it.

• Authorizing a $38,960 engineering services agreement for the “community engagement services and preliminary engineering” of the Youth Sports Complex Exit/27th Street Extension Project. The project has been a subject of concern for many people who use the Mutt Run off-leash dog park, which one group says would be ruined if the project were to move forward.

↪️ Defeated; instead, Commissioner Jennifer Ananda made a motion to remove the project from the city’s capital improvement plan, which passed 5-0.

• A resolution setting forth procedures for investigating alleged violations of the city’s policy on ethics and professional conduct.

↪️ Passed 5-0, with a couple of changes

• Nomination of the Grover Barn site, 2819 Stonebarn Terrace, as a historical site, since it was a part of the Underground Railroad. The city is no longer using the site for storage.

↪️ Passed on consent agenda

• Repealing residency requirements for all city employees except the city manager. (Final vote.)

↪️ Passed, 4-1; Commissioner Lisa Larsen voted against

Another note: Larsen asked if the mayor would consider sending a letter of congratulations to the newly appointed Interior secretary Debra Haaland, the first Native American to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate for a presidential cabinet position. Larsen said she wanted the letter to also express how important it is to the city that Haskell Indian Nations University be fully funded and have its needs met. Commissioner Stuart Boley asked to also include an invitation for Haaland to visit the city.

What do you think?
Send us your thoughts:

The city’s next regular meeting will be Tuesday, April 6. The agenda will be available here. You can email written public comment to until noon the day of the meeting or sign up to comment during the meeting.

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