City of Lawrence publishes draft land development code; open house meetings set

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The City of Lawrence has posted a new draft land development code. The 553-page draft basically modifies the city’s guidelines for what can be built where, and what requirements developments must meet.

It’s a lot more complex than that, however. It covers everything from how closes together houses can be to whether you can raise livestock in your backyard; from how many parking spaces different types of housing and businesses must have, to how many trees and different tree species must be planted — just to name a few examples.

And one key change in the draft is that rather than parking minimums, the draft code includes some maximum vehicle parking allowances.

Now the steering committee is seeking feedback on the draft.

“This is NOT the final version of the LDC,” according to the project website. “It will be edited to include changes from the Steering Committee, Planning Staff, and community. An updated, edited final draft will be posted in early June for further review prior to Lawrence Planning Commission consideration in late June.”

Steering committee member Nick Kuzmyak wrote a column in July about the first major partial draft and what kinds of questions community members might want to consider while they review the draft. Read that at this link.

“(W)e can have our voices heard now, when the fundamental laws are being set, rather than later when we hear of a development we don’t agree with or are frustrated at the slow pace of housing construction,” Kuzmyak wrote. “If we agree on a sensible framework now, we can guide the type of development we think our city needs to thrive.”

The city has planned several open house-style meetings for the community to come learn more and ask questions about the draft:
 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 15 at Fire Station No. 5, 1911 Stewart Ave.
 7 to 10 a.m. Thursday, May 16 at the Union Pacific Depot, 402 N. Second St.
 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday, May 16 at Holcom Park Recreation Center, 2700 W. 27th St.
 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 16 at City Hall Riverfront, 1 Riverfront Plaza
 5 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 17 at the East Lawrence Recreation Center, 1245 E. 15th St.
 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 18 at Central Station, 2315 Bob Billings Parkway

The Land Development Code Update Steering Committee, too, will meet at 4 p.m. Thursday, May 16 at City Hall Riverfront, 1 Riverfront Plaza, Suite 320. See the meeting agenda at this link. The meeting will also be available via Zoom.

Much more information and the draft can be found at People can also leave virtual comments on the draft, or email comments to

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