Lawrence, KS, City Code

Updated January 2018

By: City of Lawrence Planning Office
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Table of Contents

Accessory Dwelling Units

The city’s land development code permits internal, attached, and detached accessory dwelling units (ADUs) by right in multiple residential districts, subject to use-specific standards (§20-402). These standards address method of creation, owner occupancy, number of occupants, other uses, location of entrances, parking, unit size, floor area additions, and registration (§20-534).

Form-Based Zoning

The city’s zoning code includes a mapped optional form-based code (Chapter 21). It includes six transect zones all with different permissible land uses, form standards, building frontage types, façade design standards, parking standards, and landscaping standards (§21-600.1 et seq.).

Group Housing

The city's development code defines "group home, general" as a licensed dwelling occupied by 11 or more persons, including 8 or more with a disability, and "group home, limited" as a licensed dwelling occupied by 10 or fewer persons, including 8 or fewer with a disability (§20-1701).

Limited group homes with 10 or fewer residents are permitted by right in all residential zoning districts, which general group homes with 11 or more residents are special uses in all residential zoning districts (§20.402). Limited group homes are also permitted in two commercial districts, while general group homes are special uses in all commercial districts (§20-403). Occupancy limits established by the code do not apply to group home uses (§20-601.d).

Home Occupations

The city's land development code distinguishes between high- and low-intensity home occupations (§20.537.4). It permits low-intensity “Type A” home occupations by right subject to use-specific standards (§20.537.5.i). It permits higher-intensity “Type B” home occupations with a discretionary use permit, subject to use-specific standards.

Use-specific standards for both types address use permissions, signs, outdoor activities, appearance, hazardous substances, noise, trucks and vehicles, and deliveries. Additional discretionary use permit standards address client or customer hours, nonresidential employees, customers/clients, and retail sales. 

Social Service Uses

The city’s land development code defines and regulates multiple residential and nonresidential social service uses. It defines three types of “community facilities”: “temporary shelter,” “social service agency,” and “community meal program” (§20-1717). And it defines “community mental health facility” (§20-1770).

It permits social service agencies and community mental health facilities by right, subject to district standards (§20-402 & §20-403). It permits temporary shelters and community meal programs by right in certain districts and with a discretionary use permit in others, subject to use-specific or district standards (§20-402 & §20-403).

Use-specific standards for temporary shelters that are accessory to religious assembly uses address maximum occupancy and days of operation (§20-522). Use-specific standards for other temporary shelters address periodic review, restroom facilities, staffing, outdoor activities, management plans, and design standards (§20-544).

Student Housing

The city’s codified ordinances include regulations for student-housing-related zoning districts and uses and procedural rental restrictions.

Its zoning code defines “congregate living,” “dormitory,” and “Greek housing” (§20-1701). It permits dormitories and Greek housing by right in one residential district (§20-402). It permits congregate living in multiple districts by right, subject to use-specific standards (§20-402 & §20-403). These standards address site plan approval, limits on expansion, and trash receptacles (§20-546).

Students occupying dwelling units must satisfy the code’s district-specific unrelated occupant limits (§20-601(d)).

It establishes the Multi-Dwelling Residential—Greek Housing District to accommodate fraternities, sororities, and dormitories near the Kansas University campus (§20-205). And it establishes the Urban Conservation Overlay District to protect older residential areas from incompatible infill and redevelopment (§20-308).

The city’s residential rental property code requires landlords to register all rental dwelling units and submit to periodic inspections (§6-1301 et seq.).

Lawrence, KS

2010 Population: 87,643

2010 Population Density: 2,611.22/square mile