City of Lawrence

Planning & Development Services



David L. Corliss, City Manager



Brian L. Jimenez, Code Enforcement Manager



Scott McCullough, Director Planning & Development Services



March 6, 2012



1106 Rhode Island St.



Action Requested

Adopt Resolution No. 6964, setting a public hearing date of May 15, 2012 , to review the condition of the dilapidated structures located on the property and to consider declaring the structures unsafe and ordering the repair or removal within a specified period of time.



The property is a corner lot located at the southeast corner of 11th St. and Rhode Island St. and includes a principal building (white house) and several accessory structures located at rear of the property adjacent to the alley.  The property has been owned by the Barland family for many years.  The owner of record is Raymond F. Barland, who passed away in 2004.  His surviving wife, Emma Barland, lives at 2305 Vermont St., Lawrence, Kansas.   


Staff initiated enforcement action in the fall of 2010 by sending Ms. Barland a letter informing her that the property was severely blighted and that repairs and clean up needed to occur.   Soon after the letter was sent, Robert and Brian Barland (sons) initiated contact with staff to discuss the property conditions.  They informed staff that they were the designated family members who were in control of the property as their mother is not able to assist with the property due to her advanced age. 


The brothers informed staff that they would provide a detailed plan of rehabilitation to staff by early spring of 2011.  That plan was never provided therefore staff initiated contact in April of 2011.   After several meetings with the brothers, a building permit was approved for a minor roof repair to the front porch.  The roof was repaired and approved by City inspection staff.  Unfortunately, this was the only improvement made to the property as staff continued to monitor the property and did not find any other noticeable improvements taking place.  Staff initiated several email inquiries over the summer and fall of 2011 but did not receive any updates. 


On January 20, 2012, staff emailed Robert Barland to inform him that staff would begin the process to pursue all avenues provided by law to abate all of the property conditions that are in violation of City code. 


On January 23, 2012, staff met with Brian Barland in response to the email.  Brian acknowledged that they had failed to follow through with their promise to staff that they would make significant improvements to the property.  Brian stated he would like to have one more opportunity to provide staff with a detailed plan on how they could succeed with the massive undertaking of bringing the property into compliance with all applicable City codes.  Staff emailed both brothers a list of questions that staff believed were important to answer to help determine if the brothers could succeed with the rehabilitation and cleanup of the property.  A deadline of February 6, 2012 was identified. The deadline passed with no additional correspondence from the brothers.


On February 16, 2012, staff returned a phone call that Brian Barland had placed the day before.  Brian informed staff they had completed additional cleanup of the property but he did not go into details on what had been done.  Staff told Brian the deadline had passed and that they did not answer the questions that were presented in the email.  Brian stated he forgot about the email and that he did not know that staff wanted a response to the questions. 


Staff informed Brian that staff has asked for consent to inspect the property on several occasions and that staff had been denied such request. Staff asked if consent would be given. Brian informed staff that they would not give consent to inspect the property.  Staff informed Brian that the City would proceed ahead with presenting the property to the City Commission and would seek all legal avenues permitted by law to inspect the property.


On February 21, 2012, staff obtained an administrative search warrant.  Staff executed the warrant on February 22, 2012.  The following narrative and attached pictures illustrate staff’s discoveries during the inspection of the property.


Inspection Findings - House (Interior)

The principal building (house) was inspected in its entirety in the presence of Brian and Robert Barland.  The front porch, as previously mentioned, has a new roof.   The porch is still supported by stacked bricks and should be supported by building code compliant piers that would require code compliant footings and an approved attachment to the piers. 


The first floor of the house includes a living room, followed by what would be identified as a dining room and then the kitchen at the rear of the structure.  There is a small bathroom off of the kitchen.  There is a room addition off of the kitchen that is in very poor condition that could be best described as a makeshift storage room.



Ø  It is important to note that staff believes the house will need all new plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems to bring the property up to code to provide a  safe and habitable dwelling unit.  Additionally, there will mostly likely be structural issues that staff could not view that will need to be addressed.  A building permit will need to be obtained to complete the vast majority of work.


House (Exterior)


Yard Conditions


Accessory Structures


Staff’s Recommendation

Staff has attempted to work with Brian and Robert Barland in bringing the property into compliance with City codes.  They have demonstrated the inability to successfully clean up the property and to commence a substantial rehabilitation of the house. The scope of the blight and dilapidation of the structures located on the property is extensive. As the narrative describes and the pictures confirm, the property is blighted and it will take a monumental effort to bring the property into compliance with all applicable City codes.


It is important to note that the house and accessory structures located on the property are listed on the National Register of Historic Places as contributing structures to the North Rhode Island Street Residential Historic District. Therefore, any demolition order will need to be reviewed by the Historic Resources Commission (HRC) for their approval and/or recommendation.  The HRC will review staff’s findings at their April 19, 2012 meeting and their opinion on the matter will be presented to the City Commission at the hearing to be held on May 15, 2012.


Staff believes the makeshift shed and the lean-to are beyond repair and both should be demolished immediately. The garage and barn can be spared demolition but much like the house the costs to rehabilitate these two structures will be significant based on the conditions that staff observed.


It is staff’s opinion that the house should first be considered to be saved, however; the rehabilitation will be costly as the estimate to be bring the property to minimum code requirements is $82,459.  The detailed cost analysis was provided by Community Development staff.  This estimate should be considered the bare minimum costs associated with the rehabilitation as it does not include any repair work that the foundation may require nor does it include any structural issues that staff could not view.


In closing, staff believes that without the appropriate financial resources, a continuous and resilient commitment by the Barland family or a new owner, the property will continue to be a considerable blighting influence on the surrounding neighborhood.