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Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Wal-Mart getting its day in court

August 11, 2005

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Neighbors are worried about traffic snarls.

An economist thinks it might help kill off older businesses in Lawrence.

And the City Commission voted against allowing a Wal-Mart superstore at Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive, one of the city's choicest corners for development.

But the world's largest retailer will have its day in court following a judge's ruling made public Wednesday in a lawsuit brought against the city by the proposed developers of the property.

The developers have said city officials bowed to political pressures and ignored their own development rules in denying permission to build.

"All that matters to me is we're going to trial," said Bill Newsome, a partner in 6Wak Land Holdings, the property owner. "That is the bottom line to me. We have said from the start that what the city did was unlawful, and we intend to prove that in a trial."

The city and the developers had asked Douglas County District Court Judge Michael Malone to end the case by ruling in their favor. But Malone instead ordered the case to trial, virtually assuring that the debate over whether Wal-Mart should be allowed to build the new store will simmer for months to come.

This aerial photo shows the intersection of Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive at center and to the northwest of the intersection the land where Wal-Mart would like to build a superstore. Sixth Street runs across the photo from east to west. Lawrence Free State High School is visible to the northeast of the intersection in the upper right. Westgate Center shops and People's Bank are visible in the lower right of the frame just east of Wakarusa Drive.

This aerial photo shows the intersection of Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive at center and to the northwest of the intersection the land where Wal-Mart would like to build a superstore. Sixth Street runs across the photo from east to west. Lawrence Free State High School is visible to the northeast of the intersection in the upper right. Westgate Center shops and People's Bank are visible in the lower right of the frame just east of Wakarusa Drive.

Lawrence Mayor Boog Highberger said he still felt good about the city's chances in the case.

"Because the issue is still in litigation, I really don't want to comment on it, but I do think we'll prevail in the end," Highberger said.

Alan Cowles, president of the West Lawrence Neighborhood Assn., who lives in the Sixth and Wakarusa neighborhood, is against the proposed Wal-Mart and said he was surprised at the judge's decision but not upset.

"I thought the judge would just issue a decision, but we trust the judge's expertise on technical matters like this," said Cowles, who has lived in the area six years. "We also welcome the decision, because I think we are always very happy to leave the fate of the community in the hands of its citizens."

High stakes

No date has been set yet for the trial. But the event is expected to be well-watched. The case, which began back in 2003, has been one of the more high-profile cases City Hall has been involved in recently.

Kirk McClure, an associate professor of urban planning at Kansas University, said there's good reason for the interest because there's much more at stake than whether Wal-Mart is allowed to build a 132,100-square-foot store on the northwest corner of the busy intersection near Free State High School.

McClure said at stake is the city's ability to properly regulate the city's retail environment.

"A real simple piece of economics is that stores don't create demand," said McClure, an opponent of the project. "It is the other way around. If we build more stores than we can support, what usually happens is that the new stores survive and the older stores don't. This is the type of thing that can kill off older stores."

Neighbors in the area also have said that the proposed development would have far-reaching implications on the entire northwest area of the city. In particular, neighbors - usually more than 50 at a time - have repeatedly told city commissioners that the project would cause major traffic on Sixth Street and the surrounding neighborhoods, including at the nearby high school.

Developers have rejected claims that the project will cause traffic problems or overburden the city's retail market. But they said there are reasons why the entire city should be watching the case.

Newsome said he and his partners are pursuing the lawsuit for no other reason than to protect their property rights, but he said other community members should be concerned about how the city has treated the development.

"We have said all along that when a set of rules are laid out by the city, and you follow those rules like we did, and you get to the final step of those rules and then they change them on you, that should be a concern to the broader community," Newsome said.

Opponents of the project have rejected that argument. They said Horizon 2020, the community's long-range development plan, clearly showed Wal-Mart was too big for the intersection.

Questions remain

Shoppers enter and exit the south Lawrence Wal-Mart Wednesday evening. The shopping center on Iowa Street is currently expanding the store to include a grocery on the south end.

Shoppers enter and exit the south Lawrence Wal-Mart Wednesday evening. The shopping center on Iowa Street is currently expanding the store to include a grocery on the south end.

Determining whether city officials - particularly the city's Board of Zoning Appeals - followed their own rules will be at the heart of the trial.

Malone wrote in the ruling that there is at least one significant question that remains about the city's actions in denying the developers' application for a building permit.

Malone said a reasonable argument could be made that the Board of Zoning Appeals incorrectly believed that Victor Torres, director of the city's Neighborhood Resources Department, made certain determinations about the inappropriateness of the proposed store. But Malone noted that Torres has testified under oath that "he could not give a specific reason" why he denied the applications.

Developers have alleged that Torres received political pressure to deny the building permit application. City attorneys have denied those allegations.

Wal-Mart officials have been successful in pulling a building permit for an expansion to their existing store at 3300 Iowa. The 94,427-square-foot addition will convert the store into a Supercenter, which will allow the retailer to sell groceries, gasoline and other products.

Many battles

When the trial starts, it will be going on in a sea of proposed development changes in the community, most of which have been controversial.

A new set of development codes - which would replace existing zoning codes that are more than 30 years old - have been put on hold after several development attorneys expressed concerns that the new regulations were burdensome and confusing.


The Lawrence Wal-Mart is currently expanding the store to include a grocery store on the south end. The retail chain wants to build another superstore at Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive.

The Lawrence Wal-Mart is currently expanding the store to include a grocery store on the south end. The retail chain wants to build another superstore at Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive.

An area plan for a major piece of property south and east of 23rd Street and O'Connell Road also is on hold while city and county commissioners disagree over whether the area should include a large amount of industrial development or residential development.

And it is expected that a new set of subdivision regulations, which will guide how neighborhoods and commercial developments look in the future, will produce considerable debate among developers and neighborhood advocates once the regulations are proposed.

"There is no question that we have a divided community that doesn't seem to be able to get on the same page of these issues very easily," said Greg DiVilbiss, a Lawrence developer.

But people on each side of the issue don't agree on what all the disagreement means. DiVilbiss said he thought it was a sign of a minority of people having too much influence on the process.

"I think the overwhelming majority of people in Lawrence, with the exception of 23rd Street, really like how the city has developed," DiVilbiss said. "There is a small minority of folks who are very loud and are against development on a lot of levels. They're the squeaky wheel. They look a lot larger than they are."

But McClure said the debate that is going on in Lawrence is common and healthy in growing cities. He said residents here realize that growth issues can't be left entirely to developers.

"The development community is an inappropriate entity to make those decisions," McClure said. "They will go with whatever makes the best profit margins."





Timeline of events

¢ March 2003 - City commissioners reject a proposal that would have allowed an approximately 155,000-square-foot Wal-Mart store at the site.

¢ May 2003 - Developers apply for a building permit for a 132,100-square-foot Wal-Mart store. Developers contend that existing zoning allows that size of store on the property.

¢ Aug. 2003 - City notifies developers that their building permit application has been denied, in part because Wal-Mart is considered a department store, and the current zoning prohibits department stores. Developers contend that the store is a variety store.

¢ Oct. 2003 - City's Board of Zoning Appeals upholds the city's decision to deny the building permit for the project.

¢ Wednesday - District Court Judge Michael Malone rules that the case will go to trial.

Good for developers The judge ruled a reasonable argument can be made that the city's Board of Zoning Appeals relied on wrong information to deny the building permit.

Good for city The judge dismissed arguments that the Board of Zoning Appeals denied developers proper due process.

Bad for city The judge refused to grant a motion to end the lawsuit without a trial.

Bad for developers The judge ruled that the Board of Zoning Appeals did not overstep its authority in denying a building permit for the project.

Comments

Richard Heckler 9 years, 4 months ago

From The Idaho Statesman

Newcomb says Wal-Mart rides on taxpayers' backs

House Speaker Bruce Newcomb is making noise about taking on Wal-Mart because he thinks the company relies on taxpayer subsidies to support underpaid workers. A bill that would have taxed Wal-Mart for what lawmakers said were substandard health plans was vetoed May 19 by Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich, who had Wal-Mart's chief operating officer at his side for the veto ceremony. Newcomb, who helped Albertsons win a key tax-break this year, said he's looking at the Maryland bill for two reasons: The fiscal impact on Idaho and what he sees as an issue of fairness to companies like Albertsons, which pay far more generous wages and benefits.

"Wal-Mart's blowing people out of the water and if they're doing that by having the public sector subsidize their health care, that's wrong," Newcomb said. "That's really wrong." Newcomb, R-Burley, said he will ask the Department of Health and Welfare to study Wal-Mart workers' share of Medicaid. Such figures are not now available for Idaho. Wal-Mart employs 6,400 workers at 18 stores in Idaho.

Data from other states suggests sloughing costs of health care, housing and other expenses to taxpayers is part of Wal-Mart's low-cost strategy. In Georgia, Wal-Mart workers disproportionately take advantage of PeachCare, the state health insurance program for kids. For every four Wal-Mart workers, one dependent child was enrolled in PeachCare in 2002, or 10,261 of the 166,000 children covered. Wal-Mart's rival, Publix Supermarkets, enrolled one dependent for every 22 workers, according to the state. "That's not random," Newcomb said. "That's because of some kind of policy within the company."

But Wal-Mart's plans are less generous than competitors'. Wal-Mart says it spends $3,100 per year on medical benefits per employee, well below the average of $4,400 for large retailers, according to Mercer Human Resource Consulting. Wal-Mart workers pay about one-third of the cost of premiums, while employees of the typical Fortune 500 company pay one-fifth.

Wal-Mart workers got an estimated $1,952 in public assistance per worker, compared to $1,401 per worker for other big retailers. Wal-Mart employees cost California taxpayers $86 million a year, according to the study, $32 million for health care and $54 million in other assistance including welfare, housing, energy assistance, low-income tax credits, and nutrition programs. The study estimated the cost of public aid to Wal-Mart workers nationally at up to $2 billion a year.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 4 months ago

There are a lot of people who moved to Lawrence who do not want a Wal-Mart on every corner,who not need a shopping center at every major intersection and like the small town of Lawrence. New residents did not need to move to Lawrence for a "shop till you drop" lifestyle...that's what they knowingly left behind.

Most of my clients think we need to concentrate on the high end job market. It's the light industrial which includes the high tech embryonic cell research type employment that Lawrence needs to be prepared to attract.

If I cannot find a particular item in Lawrence,Kansas there is always catalog order and Kansas City is not far away. A day in Kansas City can be fun although it's not something that takes place at the drop of a hat....it's a planned combination visit of shopping and/or museums,antiques or outdoor music venture etc. etc.

Jeanne Cunningham 9 years, 4 months ago

To "merrill" -

Well, there are a lot of people who have lived in Lawrence for a long time who DO want a Walmart!!! And, some of us want it because we don't have the luxury of being able to plan a "visit of shopping..." because we don't have cars or don't have gas money and/or have to figure out where even the bus money and the money to spend on Walmart priced goods will come from.

As soon as I get to the place where I'm talking about my "clients" and looking for a "high end" job, maybe I'll start looking down MY nose at people who would (1) LOVE to have a job at Walmart and (2) need a place closer to where they live in Lawrence rather than having to take 2 or 3 transfers on the T to just get there to shop or decide if it'll be Ramen noodles another day this week to pay for the gasoline...

imagold 9 years, 4 months ago

With all the housing they are allowing in that area, of course businesses like Wal-Mart are going to want to join the neighborhood. Those homes are increasing traffic in the area (and have a big hand in creating a need for new business out north) as do the high school, Kwik Shop, McDonalds, The Hereford House, Dillons, development on Wakarusa Street, the new turnpike interchange, etc. etc. etc. Growth equals traffic. The city whoop-di-doos need to get over themselves and think about the convenience for their citizens and those that, for whatever reason, utilize the north end of Lawrence every day. As someone in that group, I'd welcome a Wal-Mart on the corner. Furthermore, Wal-Mart will be employing your students and giving them experience in the workforce. Fast food restaurants aren't exactly known for high wages and wonderful benefits either, but there are several in Lawrence, aren't there?

cowboy 9 years, 4 months ago

the city has provwen it has no expertise in planning , just look at our lack of traffic planning , congested streets , congested strip mall mentality. They have no credibilty ! When the city has the will to enlarge the traffic arteries, or the foresight to build some parkways so you can get around town without sitting in a long line of exhaust fumes, then they can talk about planning and development management , until then its all hot air. Not to mention that the city and all the mini-commune neighbor groups that think they have the right to tell a property owner what they can do with it.

Amateur Hour !

neopolss 9 years, 4 months ago

You mean 6th street was all quiet and had no traffic before the Walmart debate? So why expand 6th street again? Because of all the TRAFFIC?

It is a small group. If everyone hated the new Walmart so much, they'd simply let them build it and then not go, therefore running them out of business. But that won't happen will it? Consumer responsibility.

tir 9 years, 4 months ago

Let's not forget that for years Walmart has been providing the Lawrence citizens with a place to recycle a lot of stuff the city would otherwise have put in the landfill. Maybe the new store would also be willing to include a recycling center as part of the deal--why not ask?

Also, if there's a Walmart store in the north-west part of town, maybe there won't be quite as much traffic clogging up south Iowa.

mseybold 9 years, 4 months ago

The existing leg of the south lawrence trafficway will get the people of NW lawrence who own cars to the brand new expanded Wal-mart supercenter on south Iowa. That trip doesn't take that long. The T is only 50 cents to ride if you don't own a car. Why do we need 2 Wal-mart supercenters? So Bentonville, Arkansas can build more golf courses and country clubs? 2 Wal-Mart's is excessive.

Manson 9 years, 4 months ago

Im just tired of the double standard that the city maintains. On one hand the city feels it can regulate wal-mart's desire to build a new store championing local business concerns yet allows any major chain downtown in what would seem to be a more at risk environment for local business owners. No matter your stance the double standard is evident. The city talks out of both sides of its mouth.

cristBwithU 9 years, 4 months ago

OH PLEASE, If they were to build in a "less affluent" area we wouldn't be discussing it

Ryan 9 years, 4 months ago

Lawrence doesn't need two WalMarts. It's that simple. As the economist in the article iterated, "A real simple piece of economics is that stores don't create demand". Just because the parking lot will be full doesn't mean its needed. It will mean, however, that parking lots in other stores are not full.

If you want to complain about the city planning, move to Topeka. I lived there for nearly ten years. There are quite possibly more empty store fronts than functioning businesses in that community and it is only going to get worse. Topeka has two Walmarts and the city is significantly bigger than Lawrence.

I also lived in Fort Collins, CO for a short time(125k population). One Walmart (a small one at that), one Target; period. Wonderful city, wonderful city planning. It is a very similiar town to Lawrence which is a huge reason I chose to move here. Boulder, CO...zero Walmarts, great town.

Ryan 9 years, 4 months ago

I'll preface this by saying I am a conservative; at least a fiscal conservative. I agree it will be built and it will be busier than the other Walmart.

"Destination Walmart", yeah, that's what Lawrence should be known for. Allen Field House, University of KS, Free State, Mass Street,.....AND A BRAND NEW WALMART!!! That is exciting! That old HyVee and old Dillons just aren't cheap enough. I have to save $4 off my grocery bill to survive. Walmart doesn't create revenue, it just circulates it.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 4 months ago

Cowboy, you say the city has no expertise in planning when looking back at what's been done. That's a very interesting observation. Most of which was done and not planned so well were decisions made by development people who dominated the planning and city commissions for at least 15 years. It was local business men and women who made those decisions. Bankers,builders,suppliers, real estate sales, land speculators all of whom had some kind of special interest. It is seldom you actually get real live planners sitting on the city/county planning commission.

It would make more sense to bring in a store that pays well plus medical benefits for those who desire a job in a department store and COSTCO fills those demands. It would also make more sense to place a COSTCO in the SE area off of K 10. Somehow north Lawrence should get a grocery store as well.

lunacydetector 9 years, 4 months ago

i don't want to spend my money to become one of the elite costco customers.

walmart will build because they will win their trial. the city changed the rules in the middle of the game. tough luck to the people who bought houses in that area. the real estate person who sold them their house should've notified them how things were zoned and to expect something commercial.

if and when walmart wins, the city commissioners will be forcing the taxpayers to pay for their mistakes. perhaps the citizens should sue the city commissioners personally and make them financially liable for the court costs/attorney fees/the loss of income to the developer. of course, they most likely are exempt from something so outlandish.

that would be fair though, wouldn't it?

princess 9 years, 4 months ago

I am not mad, I am just disappointed....

This is the saddest thing that I have ever read. Lawrence is a remarkable place and yet there is a contingency of people on here complaining and plotting something that will change the face of Lawrence forever. Do you have any idea what you are saying? Do you have any freakin' idea how lucky you are? I mean come on, have ya been to Topeka? Because this second Wal-Mart nonsense is one step closer to the chain store hell hole that is T-Town.

Guess what people, some of the best towns/cities in the US DO NOT HAVE WAL-MART'S!!!! Check Walmart.com if you don't believe me. The following cities DO NOT have Wal-Mart's in their city limits. Not even one! New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, Los Angeles....Look up more if you feel like it. Do you see where I am going with this?

If your need for slave/child labor CRAP that underpaid, no insurance havin' people sell you is so strong, then move to T-Town.

Who runs this town these days?...Wal-Mart or us? Step away from the kool aid people.

and to "chic" Stop with the whining about having to take a bus somewhere. So what? At least you have the option. There are worse things in life than paying $.50 for a ride "clear across town." Do you know how much buses cost in other cities? Trust me...$.50 is even lower than what senior citizens pay. And really, do you think you are the first or the last person who has had to live on ramen to get by? Cry me a river!

princess 9 years, 4 months ago

lunacydetector said... "elite costco customers"

Hahahahahaaaaa! That is the funniest thing that I have read today. Do you really think that the products sold at Costco are any different from what is sold at Sam's Club or Wal-Mart?! Hahahahaaaaaa!!!! Stop...you are killin' me.

lunacydetector 9 years, 4 months ago

why should i pay to shop someplace. it isn't fair to the poor of the community. that is where the 'elite' came from. merrill keeps harping about how great costco is. well, i don't think it is so great.

the bottom line is, the city will lose, and the taxpayers will lose. it isn't fair to make the citizens pay for the expense. the commissioners should pay for their mistakes. that would be fair wouldn't it, princess? at least make the lawyers on the commission pay. it is an unwritten policy among attorneys to drag things out when there is a steady stream of money coming in from both parties - at least that is what i was told by a whole group of law students. good ethics, huh?

Richard Heckler 9 years, 4 months ago

This family and Ramen are one. It's a favorite whether for dinner,lunch or snack and healthy. YUMO... our children were raised more or less on Ramen as a staple. Now that they have moved out they still want in their kitchens.

princess 9 years, 4 months ago

Actually lunacydetector this draining of city funds with court battles is exactly the strategy that Wal-Mart uses. They have the money and lawyers to do so. Eventually the towns people get tired of shelling out money to fight them and they give up. Wal-Mart opens the new store and makes all of the money back within the first year. And who pays them that money...the same towns people.

It is a vicious cycle.

Costco is no more elite than Sam's Club in regard to membership. However for the record, I don't believe that Lawrence needs one of those either.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 4 months ago

Not good for women and children:

Child labor violations. Sex discrimination. Low wages. Lousy benefits. All from Wal-Mart-a company that rakes in $10 billion a year in profits.

Wal-Mart needs a real education in how a rich company should treat its workers. And together, we're going to provide it by pledging to buy back-to-school supplies from other stores this year. Please click on the link below to send your pledge to Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott:

There are hundreds of reasons to pledge not to buy back-to-school supplies at Wal-Mart this year. Here are a few:

  • As the world's largest retailer, today Wal-Mart is setting the standard for America's workplaces-and it's a standard of low wages, poor benefits and worker abuse that working families cannot accept. Together, we have to stop the Wal-Marting of America's jobs.
  • Wal-Mart has racked up huge fines for child labor law violations. The rich company reportedly makes children younger than 18 work through their meal breaks, work very late and even work during school hours. Several states have found Wal-Mart workers younger than 18 are operating dangerous equipment, like chainsaws, and working in such dangerousareas as around trash compactors. (The New York Times, 1/13/04; The Associated Press, 2/18/05; The Hartford Courant, 6/18/05)

  • Wal-Mart pays poverty-level wages and fails to provide affordable company health insurance to more than 600,000 employees. That means Wal-Mart workers and their families have a hard time paying the bills and getting the health care they need-and Wal-Mart is at or close to the top of state lists of employers whose workers are forced to rely on taxpayer-funded health insurance programs like Medicaid. (Wal-Mart annual reports; Business Week, 10/2/03; state reports)

Pledge not to buy back-to-school supplies at Wal-Mart this year. Click on the link below: http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/WalMart_Pledge

Need more reasons to buy school supplies elsewhere this year? Try these:

  • Wal-Mart has a shameful record of paying women less than men. Wal-Mart pays women workers nearly $5,000 less yearly than men. Some 1.6 million women are eligible to join a class-action lawsuit charging Wal-Mart with discrimination. (Richard Drogin, Ph.D., 2/03; Los Angeles Times, 12/30/04)

  • By demanding impossibly low prices, Wal-Mart forces its suppliers to produce goods in low-wage countries that don't protect workers. A worker in a Honduran clothing factory whose main customer is Wal-Mart, for example, sews sleeves onto 1,200 shirts a day for only $35 a week. (Los Angeles Times, 11/24/03)

  • Wal-Mart can afford to do better. Wal-Mart-America's largest private employer-raked in $10 billion in profits last year. CEO Lee Scott landed almost $23 million in total compensation last year alone. Wal-Mart has no excuse for its behavior.

topekahawk 9 years, 4 months ago

You anti-Wal-Mart folks are so caring for the poor and downtrodden. How about allowing the poor to buy cheaper groceries, clothing and gasoline from a Wal-Mart? If Wal-Mart is guilty of selling these items cheaper than other places can sell them, so what? It sounds like you want to say to the poor, "Let them eat cake!"

norm 9 years, 4 months ago

Yes, Lawrence DOES "need" TWO Wal-Marts and the chosen location by the developers is just perfect.

The 2nd Wal-Mart will draw traffic away from the 1st Wal-Mart and "level the playing field" with respect to where one can CHOOSE to shop for the stuff Wal-Mart sells. Too, it will be GREAT to have another mega grocery store alternative.

All this hoo-hah about the business practices of Wal-Mart is just a smoke screen. Kansas is a Right To Work state and as such, ANYONE who works for ANY PLACE in Kansas is working "at will" and is ripe for explotation in one way or another. I rather suspect all the dopes who use the "Wal-Mart is an evil employer" don't support the Unionization of Kansas; they're gripped with myopian and inability to see the forest for the trees: That WEST section of Lawrence is ALREADY filled with Big Box Stores....they're just cut up a bit.

I like the idea of having Wal-Mart over in that section of our "new Lawrence". Lawrence is no longer a small town and for people to even suggest it is is pretty darn laughable. Growth is good in this situation.

Hooray for Wal-Mart in the WEST section of Lawrence!! Can't wait!

Richard Heckler 9 years, 4 months ago

Chic and Topeka Hawk,

I believe people would love to work for someone who pays them $10.51 per hour plus medical.

How does anyone know Wal-Mart prices for groceries will be the lowest on the long term and gasoline is anybody's guess. Of course prices will be low for grand opening, at least we are assuming.

Considering this is a college town are Wal-Mart prices as low as in Kansas City or Topeka?

Paul Soyland 9 years, 4 months ago

If you want to destroy your downtown ..then get another Walmart....if you want a multibillion dollar company to sell you cheap stuff you probably don't need then get a Walmart. If you want to buy stuff from a company that pays their personnel the lowest wage with bad benefits ...then get a Walmart. If you want to cater to the lowest denominator of society ...then get a Walmart. If you want to be just like the majority of other citys with malls...crappy shopping...homogeneous chain stores...then get a Walmart or move to Topeka they have three. People here in Lawerence need to wake up and realize what makes Lawrence different....and the difference is what makes Lawrence a desirable place to live. Getting another Walmart doesnt do that.

MyName 9 years, 4 months ago

Arminius:

It is not up to "the market" to decide whether we need two walmarts. It's up to the zoning board. Unfettered capitalism in this case is a very bad idea. If "the market" can't support two walmarts then either one of the walmarts will go out of business, and the city will be left with a big empty box where a walmart used to be, or alot of other businesses will go down and "the market" will be left to deal with a lot of little empty boxes. Neither of these options are very attractive. Lawrence will have a second walmart open eventually, but that doesn't mean we need one now. The only relevant question in this issue is this: Who is more likely to make a better decision about what "the market" in Lawrence can support, the zoning board in Lawrence, or the corporate suits in Bentonville?

Richard Heckler 9 years, 4 months ago

Easily documented:

Wal-Mart has many many empty shells. Wal-Mart does nothing with these shells except leave them set empty likley to keep a competitor from setting up shop. These empty shells do in fact create a revenue loss for the community because nothing is being generated as expected in this commercially zoned area.

I believe some communities are creating "ordinances" to deal with this situation.

dex 9 years, 4 months ago

comrades, do not buy supplies at the imperialst department store! show your work boots for bread at the people's distribution center. the central planning office has allocated rations of adequate bread for all patriotic workers!

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