Archive for Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Negative plan

August 30, 2006


To the editor:

The proposed ordinance called "Retail Market Impact Analysis" is considered a tool to protect downtown and other areas by controlling retail projects of 50,000 square feet or more. There are those in town who think they can legislate behavior! They think by limiting the amount and location of certain retail choices this will work to the benefit of other retail stores.

This ignores personal preference. Just because you restrict a certain type of retail in one part of town does not mean a person will shop in another part of town. We bemoan the loss of sales tax revenue to neighboring cities. This ordinance will exacerbate this problem. Why do some in Lawrence take a negative approach when solving perceived problems?

Why not take a positive approach to protecting downtown? To truly protect downtown it must become a major destination for shopping and entertainment for families in its own right. We need an action plan for convenience, family shopping, living, entertainment, cultural venues and business that makes downtown so strong other areas need protecting.

Residents are finally complaining about their residential property taxes. This is very good! These taxes are rising because Lawrence officials continue to find ways to say no to retail and other business wishing to relocate here. Lawrence does not have enough, nor the right kind, of retail and business to reduce the tax burden on residences.

This ordinance will continue the burdensome reliance on raising residential property taxes for revenue. Reject this unjustified ordinance!

David Reynolds,



lawrencechick 11 years, 7 months ago

I rarely go downtown anymore because it has become very family unfriendly. Between the regular fights between the homeless at the bus stop and the loss of almost all the kids stores, there is nothing to draw mothers down there to spend $$$$$$! I love the Toy Store and do go there, but the Blue Dandelion has a very limited target population due to the cost of there products. Instead of limiting other retail centers, the landlords need to get more childrens clothing stores there. Lawrence stopped being just a college town long ago. There is a broad age range in this city, but you would never know it from shopping downtown.

Richard Heckler 11 years, 7 months ago


Send your comments to Weavers. Perhaps many letters to Weavers might encourage their participation.

Richard Heckler 11 years, 7 months ago

Retail operations do not produce the numbers of upper level income jobs. Light industrial is where the focus should be for awhile.

There are a lot of new retail projects approved for west Lawrence including a Wal-Mart. However there may not be enough retail dollars to support all of the future retail. Time will tell. If there is high turnover there is low tax revenue generation.

ldsmith 11 years, 7 months ago

After taking visitors from Phoenix to our downtown, I have to say I was truly embarassed. They were not impressed. The sidewalks were dirty, cigarette butts everywhere, store fronts and awnings in need of repair and people begging for money. Has anyone been to Pearl Street in Boulder? Something really needs to be done if you want downtown to be a destination!

Jamesaust 11 years, 7 months ago

I'm just waiting for the City to assign people to a specific retailer in the name of Efficiency. (Next step: searches at the City 'border' for contraband. Final step: criminal prosecution for sales tax 'evasion.')

lunacydetector 11 years, 7 months ago

the downtown will always be a destination place as long as a large enclosed mall is not constructed. this is why topeka's downtown went down the tubes - when they built their big mall.

having new retailers who happen to be predominately on the west side is good for everyone. it helps the west side of lawrence further subsidize the east side of lawrence. don't you anti-retail people get it?

downtown is not the major sales tax generator in lawrence. THAT is a fact. however, having more new retail will lessen our property tax burden, period.

Fritz 11 years, 7 months ago

A) Exactly what businesses has the city of Lawrence "kept" from locating in Lawrence? The American Eagle Outfitters distribution center that was demanding property tax abatements to bring its $6 an hour, no benefit warehouse jobs?

B) Yes, the property taxes on residential are higher than what we'd like them to be. But historically, this town has never had a large commercial tax base - as a percentage of the town's area, it may be higher now than ever before. And when your largest employer is exempt from property tax, any growing it does doesn't help either.

The REAL reason property taxes keep going up is that all of the tax cutting for the rich (corporate and individual) over the last twenty years has blasted such big holes in the federal and state treasuries that the cities have to pick up the slack. No more state & federal aid for social services, education programs, police and fire departments, infrastructure improvement, etc. So the middle and lower classes, who saw a tiny fraction of the tax giveaway come back to them, are paying back a hundred times what they got in higher property taxes, sales taxes, fees for permits and the like.

Jamesaust 11 years, 7 months ago

Beyond the obvious fact that a real "mall" development would lead to larger versions of retailers like Sears, Pennys, Gap, Old Navy, etc., etc., etc. (and larger sales tax and PROPERTY tax receipts), in a town the size of Lawrence I would find it non unreasonable to find:

  1. Costco
  2. Red Lobster
  3. Lowes
  4. Banana Republic
  5. Macys
  6. Dillards
  7. TJ Maxx
  8. Toys 'R Us
  9. Circuit City
  10. Foot Locker
  11. Olive Garden
  12. Barnes & Noble
  13. Williams-Sonoma
  14. Burlington Coat Factory
  15. Linens 'n Things
  16. Belk
  17. Luxxotica
  18. Zales Diamonds
  19. Shoe Carnival
  20. Romano's Macaroni Grill
  21. Chick fil-A
  22. Limited
  23. Ann Taylor
  24. Dick's Sporting Goods
  25. IKEA
  26. Men's Warehouse
  27. Stein Mart
  28. Pacific Sunwear
  29. Ethan Allen
  30. Crate & Barrel
  31. Aeropostale
  32. Dress Barn
  33. Jones Store
  34. Sharper Image
  35. Hot Topic

Okay, I'm tired typing.

Anyone believe that the taxes generated by some or all of these retailers (and more) might conceivably lower the property tax burden now existing if the City did not have a "go away!!!" attitude please raise their hand.

KsTwister 11 years, 7 months ago

High Five on that. Eagle Outfitters,Cracker Barrel and Red Lobster have already been shown the door. But Tanger sits empty for the most part and an eyesore(change that to a black eye for North Lawrence).

Jamesaust 11 years, 7 months ago

You know, I do think that there is a TJ Maxx in the old KMart center.

"you are just listing out all the businesses in OP" - NO, I'm just listing the business in the world. What other businesses were you thinking of - "Soap Momma"? "Everthing's Hemp"?

I'm not sure who "Lawrence" is supposed to be other than a few interests who insist on a no-competition policy. The City, however, and endless numbers of taxpayers have said that they wish to defray residential taxes and raise more revenue via commerce. Well, if A, then B, so get B rolling.

Fritz 11 years, 7 months ago

Nice list of businesses, James. For a city of 300,000, if you want all of them AND what we have here already.

Too bad it has nothing to do with your accusation that Lawrence "keeps" these businesses out. In fact, if you look at the profile of many of the chain stores (franchises, like Spangles, have more complicated factors driving their entry into a market) that do show up here, we are one of the smallest markets they are in. (In fact, we have the smallest Borders in the country.) Once our demographics cross a certain tripline, they're here in a hurry. They follow the dollars, just like anyone else. They are being asked to follow the wishes of the residents of Lawrence, as personified by the leaders who were elected to perform that task.

And when you consider how much it has cost to redo the roads around an area like 6th and Wakarusa because development has created far more traffic than was anticipated when it was designed only a few years ago (an after-the-fact cost no developer bears) the community has a very big interest in the who, what and where of commercial development.

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