Going against the recommendation of the Historic Resources Commission, Lawrence city commissioners on Tuesday approved a plan to change lot lines and build a duplex in the Oread neighborhood.
There is currently a home on two lots that run east to west at 1030 Maine St., the northeast corner of Maine Street and Fambrough Drive/West 11th Street. The home runs north and south across roughly the eastern halves of both lots. The property owner, Stadium22 LLC, wants to build a duplex on the western half of the lots.
The HRC in September 2022 had approved the division of lots if the west lot was to be used for a new single-family home, but voted against the plan on June 15, finding that a duplex would not comply with the Oread neighborhood design guidelines.
A few public commenters also spoke to the commission saying they agreed with the city staff recommendation that a duplex did not fit the guidelines. Architect Paul Werner also spoke to the commission to answer some questions.
These images show the current lots and the proposed lots:
Commissioners and city staff in recent years have emphasized the importance of infill development and working to alleviate Lawrence’s housing shortage.
“I think we meet the design guidelines and I think we have the additional benefit of increasing density, which is something we support, and directly across from the football stadium, I think it’s a good place to have density,” Commissioner Brad Finkeldei said.
Vice Mayor Bart Littlejohn said he agreed, and he thinks this is a unique circumstance.
“We have this opportunity to go ahead and create some density and take advantage of a lot that’s in a neighborhood that it seems the owner is really committed to making it look like the rest of the neighborhood and conform to the neighborhood design guidelines,” Littlejohn said.
Commissioner Courtney Shipley said it was “with a heavy heart” that she would agree with her fellow commissioners and vote in favor of the appeal.
“I feel unable to not accept the possibility of more units indeed, even though I know they will not be affordable,” she said.
Ultimately, the commission voted unanimously to approve the plan with a few tweaks to bring the design more in line with the neighborhood characteristics.