Archive for Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sixth and Wakarusa Wal-Mart plan gets bounced

City Commission rejects proposal, 3-2

October 25, 2006

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Wal-Mart's trademark smiley face was nowhere to be seen Tuesday night.

City commissioners on a 3-2 vote rejected the latest plans by the world's largest retailer to build a new Wal-Mart at the northwest corner of Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive.

The big question now is whether the city's rejection will cause Wal-Mart and developers to restart a series of lawsuits claiming the city has illegally denied the project a building permit.

Wal-Mart and developers weren't commenting about that possibility after the three-hour meeting. But they were plenty peeved.

"Once again, three city commissioners have chosen to completely ignore their own staff recommendations and their own ordinances to stop Wal-Mart," said Bill Newsome, who is part of the development group that owns the corner lot.

A spokeswoman with Wal-Mart said the company would review the City Commission's decision and determine how to move forward in the next "couple of days."

City Commissioners Boog Highberger, Mike Rundle and David Schauner voted against the plan for a 99,840-square-foot store, while Mayor Mike Amyx and Commissioner Sue Hack had lobbied to send the plan back to the Planning Commission for further debate.

Traffic worries

Concerns about how much traffic the store would place on Sixth Street, whether the buildings on the site met the city's commercial design guidelines and whether the community could absorb the additional retail development all were expressed by the trio of commissioners and a host of Lawrence residents.

"Somebody will be rushing to Wal-Mart to get a item they don't need, and they'll hit a kid," Lawrence resident Lisa Day warned commissioners.

Developers, though, contended that all the appropriate traffic studies had found that the Sixth Street corridor was designed to carry the amount of traffic the store would generate. The city's planning staff also recommended the project for approval.

But city commissioners were presented with a split decision from the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission, which in August voted 5-5 on whether the project should be approved.

Several city commissioners echoed many of the concerns made by planning commissioners. Highberger, who often is a swing vote on development issues on the City Commission, said he was particularly disappointed by the project's design. He noted that the developers were touting several berms they had added to shield the parking lot from Sixth Street motorists.

"I wanted something that wasn't so bad to look at that we didn't need a 5-foot to 7-foot berm to hide it," Highberger said.

Planning staff members, though, said the project met the city's commercial design standards. Developers also said developers went beyond what was called for in many cases, noting that they had ordered mature trees to plant on the site instead of the typical young trees that are included in most new developments.

"It was a cost factor, but Wal-Mart did it in a show of good faith," said Todd Thompson, a Lawrence attorney representing Wal-Mart.

More legal tussles?

Whether any good faith exists between the two parties now is the proverbial million-dollar question.

If Wal-Mart and the developers restart the lawsuits, the city could end up having a larger Wal-Mart than what was included in the retailer's most recent plans. One of the lawsuits seeks to have the court order the city to grant a building permit for a previously requested 132,000-square-foot Wal-Mart store.

If the lawsuits are restarted, Scott Beeler, an Overland Park attorney representing the city, said the city would respond accordingly.

"The city is perfectly prepared to defend itself in the lawsuits," Beeler said.

Wal-Mart, the city and the developers agreed in March to put the lawsuits on hold while planners reviewed this latest proposal for the corner. Wal-Mart could choose to do something similar again. The city left the option open for Wal-Mart to submit new plans that would address the traffic and design concerns.

Some city commissioners, though, made it clear that they thought Wal-Mart already had done quite a lot. Hack said she thought the retailer had shown the intersection was capable of handling the projected traffic volumes. And Amyx said he disagreed with fellow commissioners who thought the building didn't meet design standards.

"I think everyone has worked in the spirit of the agreement," Amyx said.

Comments

ControlFreak 8 years, 9 months ago

You have to be able to spell to complete the forms, Marion. :)

ControlFreak 8 years, 9 months ago

What about Best Buy and Home Depot. Both of those showed up in the last 15 years. Also, Target and Sears.

Best Buy and Home Depot arrived after the new city commission, right? Or did the previous city commission accept the plans for them?

Do restaurants count or are we just looking at retailers?

Steve Jacob 8 years, 9 months ago

"Somebody will be rushing to Wal-Mart to get a item they don't need, and they'll hit a kid," Lawrence resident Lisa Day warned commissioners.

Has she ever been around that area before/after Free State gets out? They scare me to death!

werekoala 8 years, 9 months ago

The only difference between this and the Naughty But Nice guy is that Wal-Mart can afford the legal fees it is going to take to back-hand the city.

It's a damn shame to see back-to-back examples of clear-cut prejudice against a business by a city that supposedly is all about justice and tolerance.

I think it's important to remember that the true test of justice and liberalism, and is not how we treat those we like and admire, but how we treat those we despise.

cutny 8 years, 9 months ago

Ha Ha...let it burn Wal-Mart. Good for the 3 commissioners. Glad they held their ground for the people that elected them to office. All of you Wal-Mart supporters can go cry at the other location. I heard they had cheap Kleenex for sale. Maybe Macon47 will be OUTSIDE holding the box since he supports a new Wal-Mart but doesn't shop their himself

carolannfugate 8 years, 9 months ago

The City will lose this one and lose big.

GetItRight 8 years, 9 months ago

OK, so many don't want a Wal-Mart at that corner....but what do you want there? It isn't going to be a field for long.

Dixie Jones 8 years, 9 months ago

it will be interesting to see what they do put on that corner.......... maybe a roundabout store

Tychoman 8 years, 9 months ago

jkhs, both are quite busy because there is no place else to go. What do you think were in those small towns before they got two WMs? Thinker, I feel embarrassed when I exit :)

Wow, truthlawrence is really on a rant today. Idiotic little troll.

hipper_than_hip 8 years, 9 months ago

Lawrence doesn't need another Walmart! Good job city commission!

ControlFreak 8 years, 9 months ago

hk45,

They won't build the biggest Wal-Mart ever, just the original 132,000 sq. feet original plan (I believe that was the original figure).

In 2004 the same commisioners voted to allow a 150,000 sq. feet commercial district on that corner.

So, they weren't all that concerned about traffic in 2004 were they?

According to those three commissioners, it's ok to have a 150,000 sq. foot commercial district as long as 100,000 sq. feet isn't Wal-Mart.

Come on...who buys that?

ControlFreak 8 years, 9 months ago

I used to shop at Wal-Mart, but I am now reformed. I could never shop there now, not with what I know...

I recently discovered that Wal-Mart supports diversity and gay marriage. We must protect our children from such a heinous influence.

Say NO to diversity, say NO to the gays.

gr 8 years, 9 months ago

jayhawktownie: "thank you city commission! what would be business UNfriendly is if the commission let corporate giants like Wal-Mart squash the local competition without any resistance. "

Whoa, whoa, wait right there!

I didn't happen see anyone address this, but is it the city commission's job to make sure no one is successful? If one business starts becoming successful, if people start going there more than other places, the commission should "squash" them? Is it the commission's job to determine who is a "giant" and at what point someone is too successful that they should be "squashed"? Is it the commission's job to be a dictator as to exactly what specific businesses exist where, how much money they are allowed to make, how much they should charge, when they can go pee?

DaREEKKU 8 years, 9 months ago

Oh noes! We will only have ONE Wal-Mart to go buy cheap plastic crap and furniture that falls apart in two months! What WILL we do. Good Riddens....

lunacydetector 8 years, 9 months ago

AFTER 5 YEARS, STILL NO WALMART

To quote Mr. Schauner: "No Growth Commission rejects Walmart will be the headline."

how many years has this been going on, like 5 years?

*...on a totally unrelated matter, it was proposed an outside consultant be hired by the City to determine why the City of Lawrence is so business UNfriendly.

now i know why companies are NOT beating down lawrence's door to come here. FIVE YEARS and what, $1,000,000 in lawyerly fees paid for by the taxpayers? how many years would it take just for the downtown to recoup THAT expense in sales tax revenues? quite a few, i bet.

*just kidding.

lawrence, kansas business UNfriendly as usual

ps. maybe they can drag ass this thing out into the next election cycle. it's the ONLY thing they can get people to rally around. they should be proud.

Jamesaust 8 years, 9 months ago

"Somebody will be rushing to Wal-Mart to get a item they don't need, and they'll hit a kid."

We have a winner for the most stupid, puerile, irrational, and biased comment of the year (and that's coming from someone sympathetic to the City's stance).

Query: was this a typical comment or just the most outlandish one the reporter could document?

cowboy 8 years, 9 months ago

Aunt Bee and Andy were for Walmart , Opey , Goober , and Howard said no.

cowboy 8 years, 9 months ago

log, I disagree with you regularly but your mash reference was pretty funny and accurate...

Noweigh 8 years, 9 months ago

They can hide behind legalese stall tactics, just like the trafficway. But once again, the city commission is denying choice and telling the average consumer they're not smart enough to make the right ones. No one has to shop at Wal Mart. Consumers rejected the Corvair, the Edsel, KMart and others because they were a bad value and did not fill a real need. The same will happen to Wal Mart if consumers don't shop there. Wal Mart is successful because it fills a real need. The Merc expanded because it fills a need. Its time to let real people make their own choices. Fortunately there is an election coming up next year and unless the commission takes that away too, we can make some choices there.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 9 months ago

"The more Wal-Marts the less choice"

Wal-Mart has become much more than just a small corner store in rural America. In the past 10 years, Wal-Mart has grown into the largest retailer in the world -- number 1 among the Fortune 500 -- and is America's largest employer. With more than 1.4 million employees and over $10 billion in profits, Wal-Mart is a giant company with giant responsibilities. First and foremost, Wal-Mart has a responsibility to all Americans to set the standard for customers, workers and communities, and to help build a better America. The truth is that Wal-Mart has let America down by lowering wages, forcing good paying American jobs overseas, and cutting costs with total disregard for the values that have made this nation great. Wal-Mart has needlessly exploited illegal immigrants, faces the largest gender discrimination lawsuit in history, forced workers to work in an unsafe environment, and -- incredibly -- broken child labor laws.

America's largest employer must reflect America's values. But, Wal-Mart will never change on its own. Lee Scott, Wal-Mart's CEO, mistakenly thinks he only answers to a few wealthy shareholders who own Wal-Mart stock. Lee Scott is wrong. Wal-Mart and Lee Scott must answer to the American people.

We are the ones who shop at Wal-Mart.

Together, we have the power to change Wal-Mart.

Together, we can hold Wal-Mart accountable and improve our America.

Wal-Mart's Vision for America vs. Our Vision for America What is the "Wake-Up Wal-Mart" campaign all about? Well, there are two visions for America: Wal-Mart's America, where profits come before people, and our vision, where people come first.

In Wal-Mart's America, workers are paid poverty level wages even when they work full-time. In our America, workers are paid a living wage with proper health and retirement benefits. In Wal-Mart's America, wealthy companies shift their health care costs onto taxpayers like you and your families. In our America, corporations live up to their responsibility and provide their employees with adequate and affordable health care coverage. In Wal-Mart's America, suppliers are forced to make their goods cheaper even if it means shipping U.S. jobs overseas. In our America, we value U.S. jobs and companies that buy and sell "Made in America." In Wal-Mart's America, women are paid less than men. In our America, women and men are treated equally - fair pay for everyone.

KsTwister 8 years, 9 months ago

As bad as I hate to see another WalMart--I hate paying for the legal battle worse. Stupid is when City Hall says yes then changes its collective mind. The time to say no to the current location came and went. Now it is just a matter of how much it will cost Lawrence taxpayers before it gets built anyway. The ground has been cleared already; I highly doubt WalMart will want to relocate (say to the Lecompton Turnpike interchange) after this much of their time and money. City Hall is trying to beat a dead horse with a stick to make it go, the sad part is they believe it will.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 9 months ago

This does not appear to neither be a no growth nor business unfriendly commission: Building permit data for the year through September 2006. Overall the number of building permits issued continues to surpass the number of permits issued last year for this same period, 2068 building permits issued versus 2036. Building permits for single-family homes is at 196 as compared to 151 for this same period last year.

In addition, building permit fees collected to date are over $695,000 as compared to approximately $575,000 for the 2005 period.

ControlFreak 8 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, I remember that Home Depot had to reduce size. I was responding to just_another_bozo, though.

He/she, whatever, wanted you to name big chain stores that arrived in the last 15 years.

If we go back that far though, we can add a bunch of stores downtown.

Talbots, The Gap, Ambercrombie & Fitch, etc.

James Hicks 8 years, 9 months ago

Does anyone ever stop to ask where downtown merchants purchase the goods they sell? Big retailers aren't the only ones selling goods using child labor! I'll bet the employees of Wal Mart receive as much in hourly pay as those of our sacred downtown employees. As far as how many Wal Mart's Lawrence can use, just look around at other cities. I have been in many communities smaller than lawrence that has 2 or more stores and both seem to be quite busy.

MeeMa8 8 years, 9 months ago

The point is Wal-Mart, Dillon's, HyVee, whoever, they met ALL the criteria set up by the commissioners. They voted against their own rules, set up after the fact in the first place. I live in that part of town and I think the proposal for all the building of homes, apartments, offices, stores, and the community theatre between Wakarusa and Folks on 6th street will create alot more traffic problems than one big store. I hope Wal-Mart wins. I am sick of these city commissioners. They are ruining Lawrence.

ControlFreak 8 years, 9 months ago

Thank you Marion. I thought no one was paying attention to my comedy. sniff

I almost had to go eat worms.

I guess I find myself funnier than other people do.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 9 months ago

blue73harley--

Name any major business that has come to town in the last 15 years.

ControlFreak 8 years, 9 months ago

So, she like a naughty librarian or something. Nice Marion. :p

Richard Heckler 8 years, 9 months ago

It cannot be assumed a new big box will produce ADDITIONAL revenue and jobs if in the process other enterprises shut down due to a new big box. At that point a new big box will need to produce what is expected plus make up the loss of forced out enterprises to be considered ADDITIONAL revenue. Otherwise there is no net gain which could stimulate a tax increase which of course is not desirable and defeats the purpose of bringing in more commercial operators. A Target Store would have the same negative retail/economic impact as another Wal-Mart.

So I understand the parties agreed to present a substantially different site plan in which Todd Thompson, a damn good lawyer, stated the plan was not substantially different. However some less important criteria had been met. It appeared to me that Wal-Mart was trying to pull off a deal to acquire more space which could have been used for expansion in the future.

Hy Vee and Dillons put money on the line and hired employees before much of the current housing existed. This no doubt assisted in selling the homes as shoppers do not want to drive far for groceries. Some respect should be granted for these companies putting their dollars on the line.

Does it really make any sense to bring in one grocer only to potentially put another out of business? As I have said previously the community is looking for additional revenue.

This does not appear to neither be a no growth nor business unfriendly commission: Building permit data for the year through September 2006. Overall the number of building permits issued continues to surpass the number of permits issued last year for this same period, 2068 building permits issued versus 2036. Building permits for single-family homes is at 196 as compared to 151 for this same period last year.

In addition, building permit fees collected to date are over $695,000 as compared to approximately $575,000 for the 2005 period.

The New Urbanism project is on the table for that area with residential and much new retail. There is also a huge new residential development also slated for the south side of sixth in that area. It's possible that the city cannot support that group of retail establishments.

lelly 8 years, 9 months ago

Thank you city commission. Please, Wal-Mart, go away.

staff04 8 years, 9 months ago

I don't know that much about local law, but does the law allow for a ballot referendum on this issue? Since all the City Commission haters seem to think it is the opinion of three people that is preventing Wal-Mart's expansion in Lawrence, maybe the entire city should take some say in the issue. After all, according to a certain collection of you, the commission isn't representing the views of the people...

Richard Heckler 8 years, 9 months ago

I'm thinking some of this lawsuit is covered by insurance cuz cities get sued for many other things. 700 people putting in job applications at Wal-Mart is no indication it is a swell employer but instead a terrible economy.

We might be curious why the real estate industry opposes the SE industrial plan with gusto considering Lawrence needs excellent paying jobs? Since crappy constructed housing may have contributed to the reduction in housing sales perhaps they will reconsider that does not make sense position. Very fat wallets may at times breed arrogance.

CC 8 years, 9 months ago

What is needed to recall these 3 knuckleheads?

I could care less whether there is a Wal-Mart or not but I do care that they have cost us hundreds of thousands in legal fees (with who knows how many more to come?) not to mention the cost of the consultant to hire a City Manager who already works here.

BigAl 8 years, 9 months ago

I'm not opposed to another WalMart. But, I would like to see it moved out a little further west on 6th. I'm no traffic engineer but that corner seems busy already plus it is too close to the high school, further complicating the traffic problem. They're not gonna ask me so it really doesn't matter what I think.

JimmyJoeBob 8 years, 9 months ago

To me this seems like corporate racism. All the good liberal people of Lawrence are always talking about acceptance of others who are different. I hear a lot of hate in these post towards Wal-mart. Why, because they are different. Because they bring jobs to the city unlike the transient who bring nothing but trouble. Let them build the store if you don't want to go and support it don't. If it isn't supported it will go away.

GetItRight 8 years, 9 months ago

"Somebody will be rushing to Wal-Mart to get a item they don't need, and they'll hit a kid."

No one RUSHES to Wal-Mart.

Just to park and walk in takes 15 minutes.

If you just need a gallon of milk, you will still shop at your neighborhood grocery store...also owned by some big corporation based somewhere else.

dviper 8 years, 9 months ago

When will the mainstream intelligent people of Lawrence wake up and realize that the PLC supporters and their 3 commissioners are not representing the views of the majority. The PLC commissioners (Rundle, Highberger and Schauner) were elected by a small vocal minority who are very liberal (many would same extreme liberal) and support ideas and views far left of the mainstream majority in Lawrence.

Just a week ago, the PLC commissioners bent over backwards to find ways to allow an illegal restaurant to reopen, despite the findings by city staff that the illegal restaurant was in violation of numerous city laws and ordinances.

This week, the PLC commissioners have grasped for every little reason possible to deny this development, despite the development and Wal-Mart meeting or exceeding every criteria required by city laws and ordinances.

The lawyers for this development and Wal-Mart have more than enough evidence to win their case. To show the blatant discrimination all they have to do is rewind the tapes of the last few years city commission meetings.

People please get out and vote during the next local election in April. These PLC commissioners are an embarrassment to Lawrence. The only people applauding their actions are their very small group of PLC supporters.

ControlFreak 8 years, 9 months ago

Lowes decided not to build here because of how hard it's been for Wal-Mart.

That irritates me. I hate driving to KC to find good selection on floor tiles.

James Hicks 8 years, 9 months ago

Does anyone really think WalMart would run out and spend all this time and money if they didn't think Lawrence could sustain another store. They could build 100 stores in Lawrence and it wouldn't effect downtown sales. They carry very different merchandise. Not to mention for the most part, very different clientel. How many people who live in Lawrence actually make major purchases downtown? I for one find the selection of clothing, furniture and appliances to be better in other communities. Although I do frequent the shoe stores! As far as traffic concerns, what difference does it make about Wal Mart. No matter what goes on that corner and the surrounding ground, as you add development, traffic will grow(hopefully). How much traffic will be placed on 6th St. as well as around Free State if the new urbanism development starts? Wal Mart may not be for everyone but I'll bet the same people bitching about a new store will end up shoppping there. Just like the neighborhood grocery (Krogers).

werekoala 8 years, 9 months ago

As a centrist, I think this whole thing is really, really stupid on the part of the city commission.

Look folks, I'm not the biggest fan of Wal-Mart, and I try to shop at other, locally-owned stores for everything that they can provide. But the fact of the matter is, if you've only got 1 hour to buy 20 items, Wal-Mart is, and will be, the only real option you have.

This matter was more or less settled, in Wal-Mart's favor, after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars of our money. And for some reason, after wasting thousands upon thousands of tax dollars (dollars that could be used for economic development, parks, fire trucks, or sewer systems) trying to keep this store out, we're going to head back to court and do it all over again. The city zoned the area clear out to the bypass for commercial development - did you think it was never going to be developed?

I think the comment in the article by Ms. Day, "Rushing to get a product they don't need" really sums up the elitist attitude people on here are copping toward Wal-Mart. Of course no one will ever shop at Wal-Mart for things taht they need. What she's really saying is "How dare these working-class people struggling to make ends meet from paycheck to paycheck shop at a store I don't approve of?!?!"

If you really don't like the way Wal-Mart operates, why not pass an initiative like Chicago's, where big box retailers have to pay a living wage, plus benefits? Or that there's an increased tax for economic development if more than 80% of merchandise sold is manufactured overseas? Or tax credits to businesses that have a certain percentage of their stock sold from local producers? Or lobby in Congress to increase tarrifs on goods made in countries without fair labor laws?

Folks, not liking the current business model of Wal-Mart is something I can understand and agree with. And there are a thousand good ways to stand up against the business model of Wal-Mart. This isn't one of them.

werekoala 8 years, 9 months ago

"OK, sure. BUT WE HAVE A WALMART. I have yet to see a cogent reason for a second one..."

Ultimately, it's because the area is zoned commercial, and Wal-Mart has the right, like any other business, to occupy it, and be treated exactly the same.

I don't like a community where a business' opening is based on a popularity contest, otherwise, all we're setting ourselves up for is a thousand Naughty But Nice/Wal-Mart cases, where every business exists on the whim of the city commission.

But be honest, if all you haters were convinced this new location would fail, you should be in favor of it. Anything that makes Wal-Mart lose money weakens the evil empire, right? But you're not against it because you think it will fail; you're against it because you think it will succeed.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 9 months ago

Does it really make any sense to bring in one grocer only to potentially put another out of business? As I have said previously the community is looking for additional revenue.

This does not appear to neither be a no growth nor business unfriendly commission: Building permit data for the year through September 2006. Overall the number of building permits issued continues to surpass the number of permits issued last year for this same period, 2068 building permits issued versus 2036. Building permits for single-family homes is at 196 as compared to 151 for this same period last year.

In addition, building permit fees collected to date are over $695,000 as compared to approximately $575,000 for the 2005 period.

It cannot be assumed a new big box will produce ADDITIONAL revenue and jobs if in the process other enterprises shut down due to a new big box. At that point a new big box will need to produce what is expected plus make up the loss of forced out enterprises to be considered ADDITIONAL revenue. Otherwise there is no net gain which could stimulate a tax increase which of course is not desirable and defeats the purpose of bringing in more commercial operators. A Target Store would have the same negative retail/economic impact as another Wal-Mart.

pooter 8 years, 9 months ago

I hope the lawsuits continue.

The more money the city spends on lawsuits means the less it has for roundabouts.

*

ControlFreak 8 years, 9 months ago

The court will decide this issue before next year. The lawsuit was put on hold to allow the City time to fix their mistake.

Since the commission maintained their earlier stance, the case will start back where it ended.

blackwalnut 8 years, 9 months ago

I applaud Commissioners Highberger, Schauner and Rundle for voting to preserve Lawrence and not letting our town be bullied by developers and corporations.

Who runs this town? The citizens and their government? Or the corporate behemoths and the local developers? The developers just want to exploit the assets of Lawrence to make a buck, and in the process will destroy everything that makes it special. Developers have turned the west end into a generic suburbia with houses that are overpriced, ostentatious and poorly built. Developers want to spend $20 mill on a new library when the existing one (in an ideal location) can be expanded at a fraction of that cost. Developers want to turn Vermont & Sixth into some temple to consumerism.

What this town needs is one more real department store - a Nordstrom's, for example - and it needs to go on South Iowa with the other big box stores. That will keep some revenue in Lawrence that currently ends up at the Oak Park Mall in Overland Park.

What this town DOES NOT NEED is another Wal-Mart - and particularly at the location of 6th & Wakarusa.

I'm disappointed in Commissioners Amyx and Hack - for not standing up for the people of Lawrence.

jayhawktownie 8 years, 9 months ago

thank you city commission! what would be business UNfriendly is if the commission let corporate giants like Wal-Mart squash the local competition without any resistance. I'm sure this will happen eventually but the longer it takes the better. Lawrence is better because of this decision and i congratulate the commissioners for keeping their principles in the face of criticism.

canyon_wren 8 years, 9 months ago

Hooray for the City! I hope they don't lose a lawsuit. It is too bad that these battles are NEVER permanently won--the Big Boxes just "turn their hats around" and come in the door again. But I'm glad Lawrence hung in there for another round.

Stephen Roberts 8 years, 9 months ago

I can only wait for the three amigos or the 3 of the Kommissioners to face reelection. I hope they have a lot of money to run. Maybe they should fund the legal fees if the city loses.

ControlFreak 8 years, 9 months ago

Merrill,

as usually, you lose people with your excessively long posts.

Would it hurt to break up your points in say 2-3 posts? After about the second paragraph, it starts blending together...

Richard Heckler 8 years, 9 months ago

Urban Areas Say 'No' To Wal-Mart United States | Community & Economic Development | Land Use | Landscape Architecture | Urban Development & Real Estate

Tue, 2006-10-03

Wal-Mart's expansion into urban areas, which the company believes is necessary for continued growth, is continuing to meet strong opposition.

While Wal-Mart continues to dominate rural America, "the retailer is acting to correct the imbalance: In the 12 months since July 2005, two-thirds of the stores opened by Wal-Mart have been in urban or semi-urban areas, ACNielsen says."

Last year, Wal-Mart attempted to open its first store in Boston, but eventually bailed out due to strong opposition. "Wal-Mart does not suit the clientele we have in the city of Boston," says Mayor Thomas Menino, explaining his opposition. "They don't pay wages that are sufficient. Their benefit structure is poor. I don't need employers like that in our city."

Wal-Mart has had success, however, in penetrating other parts of America's urban areas. For example, Wal-Mart in 2004, opened its first store in Chicago's West Side. "The city's alderman responded by passing a law mandating that big retailers pay employees an hourly wage of at least $10 and health-care benefits equivalent to at least $3 an hour." However, Mayor Richard Daly vetoed the law.

Besides Boston, Wal-Mart has fallen on particularly hard times statewide. Massachusetts, characterized as being "urbanized, educated, and liberal", operates only 47 stores. Meanwhile, Oklahoma, a state with less than half the population of Massachusetts, has 106 stores. Nonetheless, even with an average plan review process exceeding, in some cases, more than two years, Wal-Mart continues with its urban push.

Source: Wall Street Journal, Sep 25, 2006 Full Story: Seeking Expansion in Urban Areas, Wal-Mart Stores Gets Cold Shoulder http://www.planetizen.com/node/21399

lunacydetector 8 years, 9 months ago

note to jayhawktownie, lawrence isn't some podunk little town. nothing downtown competes with walmart unless it is one of the numerous second hand stores, but they get their merchandise for pennies on the dollar.

don't try to flip this, lawrence IS business UNfriendly. it isn't just walmart. remember american eagle outfitters.

...and why did this commission approve the downtown in the cornfield concept across the street from the proposed walmart? THAT was (is) more of a threat of running downtown stores out of business.

it's too bad it wasn't Target looking at the same location. i bet there wouldn't have been any opposition from the loony leftists in this town since Target is owned by the French.

ControlFreak 8 years, 9 months ago

Those 700 applicants were probably all illegal aliens and homosexuals.

SAVE OUR CITY! NO WAL-MART! NO DIVERSITY! NO GAYS!

hk45 8 years, 9 months ago

I hope they will build the biggest Wal-Mart ever built when they win the lawsuit.

Brandon Perkins 8 years, 9 months ago

This is about to get ugly. Does the city commission not understand that Wal-Mart will keep coming back with new proposals? Wal-Mart does not care how long it will take. There will be a store there. The city commission is using this as a personal agenda/vendetta to keep Wal-Mart out. I guess it is time to waste more tax payer dollars on this issue. But I guess since the city commission has higher paying jobs they do not mind spending the money, but for those of us who make next to nothing, what better way to spend our tax dollars than on a personal vendetta for the city commission. I hope I NEVER see city commissioners Boog Highberger, Mike Rundle or David Schauner at Wal-Mart on Iowa or any other "big box retailer" here in Lawrence.

cowboy 8 years, 9 months ago

Whats the current attorney's fees tally for the city , I'll bet over 350,000 to date. Thats 350,000 of your tax money , gone , whiff , kablooey , to be a PC town and protect the poor little overpriced MERC.

James Hicks 8 years, 9 months ago

The problem with passing laws concerning living wages & benefits for storesd opening in Lawrence would be that downtown merchants would have to abide by these as well. How many other retailers offer a living wage and insurance?

ControlFreak 8 years, 9 months ago

Oh, come on, no one is going to bite? That's a disappointment.

I thought it was so ironic too.

ControlFreak 8 years, 9 months ago

scenebooster,

The houses over there were built by large developers with profit, not quality in mind.

The property values should go down, just to compensate for the horrible construction.

ControlFreak 8 years, 9 months ago

Marion,

You are all over the typos today. Did you drink too much coffee?

blackwalnut 8 years, 9 months ago

The lady quoted about "hitting a kid" could have expressed it better, but I know what she meant.

Because of Free State High, that busy corner at 6th & Wakarusa is a traffic nightmare three times a day. High schoolers are driving and walking around there. A big box store at that corner would make an already-bad traffic situation impossible.

Seems to me the people who live in that neighborhood and have kids at Free State ought to have a voice in this. I live over there, and none of my neighbors want a big box at that corner.

Whoever said a collection of theaters and smaller shops would make MORE traffic than a Wal-Mart is simply wrong, and should go check out the existing Wal-Mart parking lot.

Wal-Mart is a horrible employer. Someone I know works there. They are simply exploiters of the poor, in every way.

Kim Gouge 8 years, 9 months ago

Now the discussion has gotten to the point it always does...name calling and political arguments. The City Commission voted Walmart down. Live with it. They'll probably sue. Live with it. For now, see ya later Walmart.

Spades 8 years, 9 months ago

Forget 6th and Wak. Please put the Wal-Mart somewhere in North Lawrence. We don't have a grocery store up here, the closest one is 20 minutes away. Wal-Mart and Target are all the way across town, a wonderful 20-30 minute drive through the entire town, depending on the wonderful traffic. Downtown does not offer a reasonable solution to the needs of people that need a place like Wal-Mart to shop, and in fact do not have quite the selection that a shopping mall would have (different arguement). But we need services in North Lawrence. Put a Super Wal-Mart up here.

ilovelucy 8 years, 9 months ago

Bottom line: if you don't like Walmart, don't shop there.

I quit shopping there 10 years ago because of my personal views. If I want an item, I'll spend a few dollars more at Target.

Waste money, you three idiots. That's about all you are good at.

BTW, I also don't shop at the Merc anymore because Rundle is such a stupid troll...

It's about choice.

blackwalnut 8 years, 9 months ago

blue73harley says: blackwalnut - businesses such as "real department stores" AVOID moving to Lawrence because they know that they will have to jump through flaming hoops, naked, in front of the three PLC clowns.

If you believe keeping big box stores on South Iowa is a "jump through flaming hoops" then I say, let that business stay away. A corporation and a town are a symbiotic relationship, not an exploitative one. Quite a few corporations have stores down on South Iowa. I see no problem with that, and it's kept downtown alive. A corporation who want to bully its way into Lawrence without respecting what we have here, should stay out.

blackwalnut 8 years, 9 months ago

"The Looney Left WOULD do that though and not bat an eye.

Thanks.

Marion."

You know, Marion, your derogatory name-calling does not add anything at all to your arguments. It's irrational, and speaking just for me, it makes it easy to just dismiss everything you say.

atat_at_at_at 8 years, 9 months ago

"Posted by Marion (Marion Lynn) on October 25, 2006 at 1:46 p.m. (Suggest removal) Think that you are contributing to the economy in a positive way? Let me ask you this..... How many of you use computer software that "you got from a freind", that is a bootleg copy of a legitimate program; how many of you download music without payment or roralties, how many of you duplicate music CDs for your freinds, how many of you have downloaded the crack which allows you to reproduce the sopyrighted material on DVDs, all under the banner of "Well, it's REALLY NOT stealing and besides the mega-corps can afford it?"

Seems as how I recall a certain duffer boasting about buying a set of Rolls Royce manuals on electronic media from a guy overseas & not having to pay RR a dime for their copyrighted material. Hypo-what?

ControlFreak 8 years, 9 months ago

blackwalnut,

I fail to see how having stores stay on South Iowa street affects downtown one bit.

The last I checked there is no competition for Lowes or Home Depot downtown. Lowes & Home Depot would compete with each other.

ControlFreak 8 years, 9 months ago

blackwalnut,

Not speaking for Marion or anything, but...

Your need to reply to Marion's comments only shows that it is not easy for you to dismiss them.

If you could truly dismiss them as easily as you say you can, then you would not even respond. Then, it would be like they never happened.

bangaranggerg 8 years, 9 months ago

I live near the corner of Harvard and Congressional Drive so the traffic issues directly affect me, and I'm not worried about it. You see the increase in traffic is really good for the resturant/catering business I'll be running on my lawn- this is good for visibility. Always thinking. The only problem I can think of is the occasional kid getting plowed into at 50 miles an hour as people go shopping for things they'll never need. A perfectly reasonable thing to worry about.

gr 8 years, 9 months ago

buffalobill : "At least Wal-mart doesn't even pay its employees for the hours they worked-especially not if they worked overtime."

I'm not sure that statement is true as it is stated.

kujeeper 8 years, 9 months ago

Those three liberal hippies need to get voted out. Boog is an embarrassment when he represents our city, can't even look professional and then he speaks and makes it all worse, Schauner is a worthless know it all who is costing our city dearly, and Rundle....well he should head for KeyWest, I am sure there is a nice grocery store for him to clerk at.

white_mountain 8 years, 9 months ago

We will have enough illegal immigrants in Lawrence within 5 years that we will need another Wal Mart.

Confrontation 8 years, 9 months ago

"Somebody will be rushing to Wal-Mart to get a item they don't need, and they'll hit a kid," Lawrence resident Lisa Day warned commissioners."

Then, the kid will grow wings and arm himself with nuclear bombs. Then those bombs will become large space creatures and attack Target. In return, Target will pack its bags and move to Topeka. Topeka will counter this by paying gas money to thugs who will go to Lawrence and shoot Lawrence thugs. The sky is falling, the sky is falling!!!

gr 8 years, 9 months ago

"Now the discussion has gotten to the point it always does...name calling and political arguments. The City Commission voted Walmart down. Live with it. They'll probably sue. Live with it. For now, see ya later Walmart."

Actually, I recall the city said Walmart could build, then not, then so, and now it looks like not.

opinion 8 years, 9 months ago

Confrontation,

Funny post. I thought the same thing last night when Ms. Day said that. The other thing that stands out is the "to get an item they don't need" statement. The arguments against by both the residents and the commissioners who voted down the plan were weak and pretty much just "I don't like Walmart and no one else should".

Although I disagree with his position, Merrill does present a well informed position on the issue. If the "no" commissioners articulated as he does, at least I could stomach their decision.

GoodLuckHuman 8 years, 9 months ago

The only way to convey how we feel about the new Walmart is through song.

Listen here: http://www.icompositions.com/music/song.php?sid=11830

There's more goodness here: http://goodluckhuman.com

And here: http://www.truckerrocks.com

lynn3 8 years, 9 months ago

The woman whose comments regarding traffic quoted in the paper stated that she lives near the hospital. This is the pickney neighborhood not west lawrence. Her concern was for her child and others who attend Free State high. This was not an elitist comment if you look at the context.

It should be pointed out that the original question that lead to the lawsuit was whether or not Wal-mart is a department store. A department store is not permitted in the zoning for this corner. If you remember the city zoned this commercial when trying to get a home imporvement store to locate in Lawrence. Zoning was permitted on this corner without a plan being submitted at the same time. Mr. Rundell mentioned this last night in his comments that allowing zoning to happen before a plan is submitted and not together results in situations like this. We got a home improvement store on 33rd and zoning at 6th and Wak. This area is not meant to be a regional shopping center. Just saying we should take the nasty pill because of mistakes made in the past is wrong. The area should be rezoned to compliment the surrounding areas and serve the neighborhoods not the entire county. Target or other big box stores would not be permitted either because they are department stores. Many residents in west Lawrence have stated publicly that if the city feels a second wal-mart is needed in the west part of town, it should be locted at 6th and the SLT. In my opinion, a supercenter is not needed in west lawrence becasue it is so easy to get to So. Iowa. A grocerty store is certainly not needed. I do feel for the families in East and WEst Lawrence who don't have grocery stores close. Wal-mart should be looking at k10 to serve Eudora and east Lawrence.

jayhawktownie 8 years, 9 months ago

if we become a city dominated by wal-mart, how am i supposed to keep up my militant superiority complex over the entire states of missouri and arkansas?

how are we supposed to convince out-of-towners that they want to send their kids to the great educational environment of LFSHS when it's across the street from wal-mart?

beyond the moral implications of their labor practices, wal-mart is just really unclassy and makes our town look bad.

putting aside any legal and economic issues, do any of you actually think that another wal-mart would make Lawrence a better place?

jayhawktownie 8 years, 9 months ago

people who argue that another wal-mart won't hurt downtown aren't getting the point.

lawrence is unique because it is defined by the vibrant local culture. if we allow wal-mart and others to take over, lawrence becomes nothing more than springfield, missouri with a nice downtown area. (no offence to anyone from springfield, i just needed an example of a sizeable city in the heart of wal-mart country)

monkeyhawk 8 years, 9 months ago

kef We better hope that this commission keeps their hands off the streets. When they finally do rebuild some of the deplorable roads, they make them narrower.Then they put in a very wide, paved bike trails because they hate cars and have great disdain for those who drive them, especially if they have a cell phone.

As I have stated in the past, thank you very much, city commission, for waking up the previously sleepwalking taxpayers. We are all getting a very good lesson in civics, and what can happen to a city (and our pocketbooks) when a radical, agenda driven "block" is allowed to impose their personal views on the population.

The good part is that by this time next year, they will all just be a really, really bad memory.

ControlFreak 8 years, 9 months ago

jayhawktwonie,

You are of course, making the assumption that people arguing that another Wal-Mart won't hurt downtown, care about the "unique" atmosphere of downtown.

Regardless, I fail to see how keeping big stores on South Iowa, or not, affects any aspect of downtown.

kef104 8 years, 9 months ago

logrithmic,

At least here you are missing the boat. I am a far cry from right winged. I voted for, and originally supported, the 3 no growth commissioners. Additionally, I almost never shop at Walmart, although I utilize their recycling center. I even live just off of Wakarusa and would be affected by the increased traffic.

My problem with the decision is that Walmart complied with the zoning and legally should be allowed to continue. This decision is just like last week's failure to rezone Krauses and several other "selected" enforcements that occur in Lawrence. It severs no purpose except to make things more difficult and expensive.

We spend too much effort convincing retailers and businesses that they either do not need to develop here at all or they need smaller stores. The result is that despite trying to support local stores, most of our "extra" money is spent out of town. For example, if I want to shop at Best Buy, I have to go to Overland Park. Why, because that store is twice the size and has hundreds of items not carried locally. Even downtown speciality stores have limited stock of their speciality items. I have had to shop at a Topeka mall store to purchase a Kaiser springform pan because the downtown speciality store was out of stock and would not restock quickly enough.

Retail in Lawrence is not good. I love our downtown but it no longer is a shopping center designed to meet normal household needs. It is exactly what it needs to be to remain vital, an art and entertainment district with a mixture of speciality and used products stores.

While I am at it, our street development is horrid as well. Why are streets not designed for their future use instead of immediate use. Did anyone think Wakarusa would not need a center turn lane the lenght of it? I guess it is okay to wait a few years, tear it up bit by bit and try to patch fix the problems that could have been entirely avoided to start with. Ever notice how Lenexa designs roads to handle traffic after growth? What an idea.

Basically, we need new city representation, and quickly. My taxes are high enough without extra, needless, litigation draining city coffers.

SpeedRacer 8 years, 9 months ago

This horse has been beat to death, but I'll say it again..the city commissioners need to be elected by district so that every area of town is represented. (I still think we need a real mayor, as well, but a representative government is more pressing at this time)

Spades 8 years, 9 months ago

Hey, I would like to have a Hy-Vee in North Lawrence. That would be nice...

Confrontation 8 years, 9 months ago

I keep hearing about this "vibrant local culture," but I have no idea what it is or where it is. Perhaps it's the KU Men's Basketball fan base. Maybe it's the untalented artists that overprice their junk. I bet it's those with money who buy overpriced junk from Mass St. stores just so they can be seen carrying a bag from there. I'll root for the Jayhawks.

Kontum1972 8 years, 9 months ago

lets storm city hall drag them out in the street and giv em a good asswupping..then lynch em...dats the ticket...RIOT..RIOT...RIOT.....wheres is Quantrill when u need him....? heads on poles...

nbnozzy 8 years, 9 months ago

I would suggest a Naughty but Nice store at that location but don't think it would pass the Kommision.

Bobbi Walls 8 years, 9 months ago

I agree that we need something in North Lawrence... I am tired of having to drive 20-30 minutes to get what we need..

spammer89 8 years, 9 months ago

I'm so glad that they can waste our tax payer dollars on this.

conservative 8 years, 9 months ago

Bozo, you want businesses new to the area in the last 15 years.

Everything in the East Hills business park. And no new ones since the PLC.

zimmerman 8 years, 9 months ago

A recent study by researches at UC Berkley's Labor center used 15 years of data from actual store openings around the country. The study found that Wal-Mart Stores had a direct correlation to a drop in retail wages of over $4.7 billion annually. If we're talking about planning for the future of the city, it should be noted that Lawrence is a city that thrives on retail jobs and can not afford to have its average retail pay decreased. I think it is also important to note the affect how low wages and a lack of a good health care program can equate to taxpayers paying a huge sum.
¢In Alabama 3,864 children of Wal-Mart employees are enrolled in Medicaid. ¢In Arizona 2,700 workers are on Medicaid ¢In Arkansas 3,971 Wal-Mart workers are on Public Assistance ¢In Florida 12,300 Wal-Mart employees are on Medicaid ¢In Georgia 10,261 children of employees are enrolled in Public Healthcare The list goes on and when you add it up Wal-Mart employees who can't afford health care costs due to the low salary cost as a whole taxpayers over $1.5 billion per year. Breaking this down, a 200-person Wal-Mart store may result in a cost of $420,750 per year or about $2,000 per employee.

It should also be stated that Wal-Mart has a history of breaking EPA standards during construction of its stores in Texas, Colorado, California, Delaware, Michigan, South Dakota, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Utah. They have paid over $3.1 million for Storm Water violations at construction sites.

It's also important to note that there has been some documentation in a Los Angeles Times article of the construction of Wal-Mart stores actually devaluing the property of the area around them.

Finally I wanted to put forth a few facts compiled by various academic studies on the effects that Wal-Mart has on local markets.

¢A study of small and rural towns in Iowa showed lost sales for local businesses ranging from -17.2% in small towns to -61.4% in rural areas, amounting to a total dollar loss of $2.46 BILLION over a 13-year period. ¢In Mississippi, local food stores in counties hosting a Wal-Mart supercenter lost sales of up to 17% over five years. ¢Retail Forward, an industry consulting firm, estimates that for every Wal-Mart Supercenter that opens in the next five years, two supermarkets will close.

jeffds01 8 years, 9 months ago

When all is said and done.... I don't see the purpose for two Wally World's... the one we have already is like the size of a mall, with more stuff to buy then you could ever want.... what's the big rush for another one

gr 8 years, 9 months ago

"WHY DOES EVERY BANK HAVE 3 OR 4 LOCATIONS."

Yeah! It's unfair competition for other banks which only have one location or for new banks who want to start. And, could some be called "corporate giants"? Maybe they aren't against banks because they need that many to deposit our taxes in before they spend it.

gr 8 years, 9 months ago

lynn3: "The area should be rezoned to compliment the surrounding areas and serve the neighborhoods not the entire county. "

Statements like that make me sick. Compliment the surrounding area?! How does the current houses, stores, businesses compliment the surrounding area that originally was there - farm ground and rural houses. They were done away with for "progress" and money for the city.

============

jayhawktownie: "do any of you actually think that another wal-mart would make Lawrence a better place?"

Ha Ha. Anyone can say that about anything, but it would mean nothing.

Including the commission. (Both meanings intended)

carolannfugate 8 years, 9 months ago

Maybe they should put the new library inside the Walmart then the Commission could get on board with the whole idea.

snood 8 years, 9 months ago

Lawrence is too small for me, and if it wants to keep itself small then it will keep losing young people like myself. That's okay though. I enjoyed it while I was here, but I can't say I'm not looking forward to moving on to bigger and better things.

It's really annoying to have to go to Johnson County every time I want new clothes or shoes. I know there are a few stores here, but not really. When I first started school here I had to laugh after hearing students say "Lawrence is soooo big!"

I go to Borders and they never have any books I want. The Target here is always sold out of stuff that the one in Shawnee has. I hate that I have to shop at only pet store in town that sells actual pet supplies (and not animals) cause I've seen dead animals there on occassion, but it's got a monopoly on the market. By not encouraging new business ventures they're just driving people away to go spend their money in JoCo instead and let them reap the tax benefits. Whatever.

jeffds01 8 years, 9 months ago

Banks have more than one location so that you don't have to drive across town to deposit or withdrawal money, just like gas stations have multiple locations, any place with more than one location become unfair competition....its's called capitalism....better learn to love it you live in the US

Dale Stringer 8 years, 9 months ago

It's been almost a year since I was in Lawrence. I know 6th can handle the traffic, I'm worried about Wakarusa. Those stupid 4-way stops need to go. What idiot puts 4-ways on 4-lane roads. If Wal-Mart get the city to put in stop light, let Wal-Mart come on in. If it makes HyVee and Dillions lower their price then good.

Harry_Manback 8 years, 9 months ago

Well, I agree with that one. There's something to be said about being unique, but I don't think a lot of people want that. They're happy to settle with mass produced, cheap and easy, and I can't say I completely blame these stores for taking advantage of that.

I mean, pretty soon we'll all be too fat to walk around Wal-Mart anyway and they'll start having to provide those motorized carts for everyone. Then maybe my size medium will be able to wear a Wal-Mart extra small shirt too! (Thanks for making me feel better with size inflation, Wal-Mart!)

Godot 8 years, 9 months ago

"What this town needs is one more real department store - a Nordstrom's, for example - and it needs to go on South Iowa "

That would make it the only Nordstroms located within walking distance of a mobile home park.

conservative 8 years, 9 months ago

Tony88, In the East Hills business park, nope not one that I'm aware of. Wasn't referring to the entirety of lawrence.

Rationalanimal 8 years, 9 months ago

What have you won tony?

The litigation party is just getting started.

ControlFreak 8 years, 9 months ago

Can I get my eggs with a side of bacon, or must I settle for sperm?

Can I custom order my eggs? I would like to try over-easy...scrambled...how about an omelet?

Rationalanimal 8 years, 9 months ago

The Communishers would have made fine indian agents during the mid-1800's. You make a treaty without any intentions of keeping it and then without any moral impunity break your word.

Guess what folks, the next round of litigation will be a page from Gen. Custard at the Bighorn. Every Judge in the 7th District knows what the fab-5 did. That is, they raised the white flag of settlement moments before they were about to get backhanded in court on issues like arbitrary, capricious and bad faith. Now, the backhand will most likely include the umph of jacking around with the Court's time and the other litigant by appearing to make a good faith at settlment when none was intended. The perception now is, whether the fab-5 like it or not, the City pretended to settle to buy time to come up with a legitimate reason justifying their earlier decisions on the project. Judges don't like that and this is a very small town. Good luck with the new round of litigation. Like I said, envision Custer at the Bighorn.

Wal-mart using the City's own case study concluding that big-box stores are good for the community should be a particularly nice final touch to this ridiculous litigation.

ControlFreak 8 years, 9 months ago

Ack! Marion! Run for your life!

Typos...out of control...must resist...drink more coffeee...

bookchance 8 years, 9 months ago

West Lawrence residents need to quit thinking that they are so much better than everyone else. You are not above Walmart! They have gone as far as to try and make a new store apear upscale for you and you still complain. Everyone has to give and take. There are bigger issues than a second upscale Walmart for you snobs!!!!!!!!!!!!

lunacydetector 8 years, 9 months ago

a comment to lynn's post...the variety store/department store argument the city made in the past was inconsistent with what the acceptable definition of each respective term means in every other city in the united states. the city's definition was opposite.

no, if memory serves me right -though it's been 5 long years, i think one of the commissioners made reference to how the yellow pages listed walmart under 'department stores.' but then again, if you look anything up in the yellow pages, you need to be well versed in old english. for example, if you look up a phone number for a bar - you need to look under 'taverns' etc, etc.

Rationalanimal 8 years, 9 months ago

You're right, that is overly simplified. Wal-mart is the big league my friend. Nothing about this is simple.

lynn3 8 years, 9 months ago

Wal-marat is listed with the Federal Trade Commission as a Department Store. We can say it is just semantics but a previous commission wanted to prevent a department store from being able to build on this corner. Wal-mart is calling themself a variety store to be able to build her and avoid the label of department store. The city can certainly call it a department store and not be considered incorrect.

snood 8 years, 9 months ago

I lived in Spain for a little bit. They haven't widely adopted the mass merchandise concept like Americans have. If you want pills or other medications you go to one store. You want lotions, shampoos you go to another. You want meats, crackers, wine, beer - the "grocery store." Fruits - the fruit store. Small appliances - the appliance store. You get my drift. I'd take a Wal-Mart or Target over that any day (with the exception of the foods). Running around town all day can use up all your time. I really don't see what people have against big stores like Wal-Mart. I think they help people.

I don't see why everyone is so against Wal-Mart. I understand the traffic concerns, etc., but it seems to be specifically about Wal-Mart. What about Target, McDonald's, JC Penney's or any chain store for that matter? I see Wal-Mart and Starbucks as scapegoats for people's dislike of corporate America.

ControlFreak 8 years, 9 months ago

Ok, Marion...

I was just getting a little worried, you know with your blood pressure and all. :p

ilovelucy 8 years, 9 months ago

Snood: don't let the door hit you on your way out.

Tony: you better hope that the three idiots retain their commission seats. Otherwise, your "big win" will be over. I really hope your tax base goes way up when the legal bills start rolling in. It's lame brains like you that should be footing the bill.

Dale Stringer 8 years, 9 months ago

Maybe this will bring another Taco Bell in too.

conservative 8 years, 9 months ago

Tony, but it will be 1-0 when the judge rules in favor of Wal-mart.

Lots of good comes out of this though.

  1. We'll be able to get a bigger Wal-mart on this side of town.

  2. The commissioners of the PLC have no chance of getting reelected.

  3. We get to see pseudointellectuals use words like derivative.

:D

packrat 8 years, 9 months ago

This is in response to the person who said that 700 people applied for 200 openings at the expanded Walmart.

It is a sad state of affairs in Lawrence that 700 people could not find better paying jobs in the city. I work in KC and get paid 50%more than the same job in Lawrence. It more than covers the additional costs.

ControlFreak 8 years, 9 months ago

Tony88,

Just because the City Commission voted against the Wal-Mart plan, it doesn't mean there was a great victory against Wal-Mart.

All it means is that the lawsuit continues as before, there was a continuance.

The City failed to find a resolution, so the lawsuit continues.

I fail to see how that is some great victory for Lawrence.

ControlFreak 8 years, 9 months ago

Tony88,

Don't forget some cheese with that whine.

conservative 8 years, 9 months ago

Tony, I understand it fully. I just find your posts to be pompous and arrogant. You feel that anyone who disagrees with you is automatically wrong. You have no tolerance for opposing viewpoints. You belittle other posts and then when your attempts to spin context are corrected you drop it and move on like it is no longer a concern to you.

ilovelucy 8 years, 9 months ago

Are those the only numbers you know? It means nothing. After thousands of our TAX dollars in legal fees, the evil giant store will still win. Get over yourself. For everyone else, remember to VOTE in the next city election!

Richard Heckler 8 years, 9 months ago

America's largest employer must reflect America's values. But, Wal-Mart will never change on its own. Lee Scott, Wal-Mart's CEO, mistakenly thinks he only answers to a few wealthy shareholders who own Wal-Mart stock. Lee Scott is wrong. Wal-Mart and Lee Scott must answer to the American people.

We are the ones who shop at Wal-Mart.

Together, we have the power to change Wal-Mart.

Together, we can hold Wal-Mart accountable and improve our America.

Wal-Mart's Vision for America vs. Our Vision for America What is the "Wake-Up Wal-Mart" campaign all about? Well, there are two visions for America: Wal-Mart's America, where profits come before people, and our vision, where people come first.

In Wal-Mart's America, workers are paid poverty level wages even when they work full-time. In our America, workers are paid a living wage with proper health and retirement benefits. In Wal-Mart's America, wealthy companies shift their health care costs onto taxpayers like you and your families. In our America, corporations live up to their responsibility and provide their employees with adequate and affordable health care coverage. In Wal-Mart's America, suppliers are forced to make their goods cheaper even if it means shipping U.S. jobs overseas. In our America, we value U.S. jobs and companies that buy and sell "Made in America." In Wal-Mart's America, women are paid less than men. In our America, women and men are treated equally - fair pay for everyone.

hubcap 8 years, 9 months ago

To Boog ,Rundle and Schauner: Thanks and congratulations. Local business is where it's at.

GetItRight 8 years, 9 months ago

Again, I ask, WHAT DO YOU WANT AT THAT CORNER????

I am baffled by people's assumptions that it will remain a field.

Let's see.... City leaders want a new library. Ohh, but that has to be downtown and cost more than the school bond issue. Although they do have enough money to take out a full page, full color ad in Sunday's paper....THAT SAYS NOTHING!!!

How about a glass prison, so when the students drive by they are scared straight?

Maybe a casino so our schools actually have enough money to function.

A nice square, windowless skating rink with a bad paint job? I miss the old skating rink...

What about another suburban-type, overpriced apartment complex and some duplexes? No, no....that's going in across the street.

No wait....what about the homeless shelter? Makes perfect sense...people keep clammering about getting the shelters away from downtown, let's put a homeless shelter on that corner. That way they can work at Wal-Mart when they wise up and just move a mile to the west and the county jumps on the tax revenue.

What's your idea?

estespark 8 years, 9 months ago

How about opening Louise's Wester at the corner of 6th and Wak?

Rationalanimal 8 years, 9 months ago

""the big league"?

is this a sporting event to you?"

C'mon tony toni tone, I know you can come up with a better response than that.

Wal-mart has more money and lawyers to throw at this than our little mid-west prime meridian wanna be City can fathom. And toni, don't forget that this whole litigation started over a majority Commission vote. So to say you won b/c of a 3-2 vote is well, just totally fairy tale naivity. Lawrence cried uncle and tapped out the last time, not Wal-mart.

The real problem is that the City now has egg all over its face in the eyes of every judge in the 7th District. Like I said, envision Gen. Custer at Bighorn. When its over now, all you folks that opposed this deal won't even get the upscale design you purported to loathe anyways. Thus, the trap of being an all or nothing hardline socialist dogmatic.

zimmerman 8 years, 9 months ago

To all those who for some reason want a Wal-Mart to go in, all I have to say is--why didn't you voice your opinions at the city commission meeting? I was there. Of the ten or fifteen people who spoke their minds, only one argued for Wal-Mart, and it was basically because the increased traffic in the area would help his business. I guess I understand if you're afraid that future legal troubles might cost the city money, but really there's a lot more at stake, and if you're willing to give up on a just cause because a vastly rich company is bullying you then I have to say that's a bit cowardly. ¢If you have any sense of morals, you might check Wal-Mart's history on how they treat their employees. There's well documented material showing racism, sexism, and fraud (making employees work off the clock or threatening to fire them)

¢If you have any sense of business ethics you might look into Wal-Mart's history of weeding out local business through what can only be called monopolistic practices.  (yes there are local hardware stores, clothing stores, and grocery stores that would be affected by another Wal-Mart).  If you're looking for some concrete example of this, I went to buy ping-pong equipment recently and the only one in town that sold it was Wal-Mat... and they were sold out.  (You can check for yourself if you want)

¢If you care about local economy remember that while a local business will most likely spend their profits within the community, or at least the state, corporations profits don't circulate back to our community at all.

¢If you care about pollution on a local level, you should look into Wal-Mart's history of violating minimum enviornmental standards at construction sites (they were charged $3.1 Million for storm water violations at construction sites, the largest for any retailer ever)

I guess I just have a hard time understanding how anyone would really want or need another Wal-Mart in this town. The last time I checked, unemployment doesn't really seem to be an issue in this town, but low wages are. Does anyone actually think that bringing in a company that's almost famously known for driving down wages within communities could somehow help the local economy? Or maybe none of you care about your fellow citizens or the local businesses they work for. Maybe all you care about is that you can buy diapers in the same place you buy a can of soup or a hammer. If convenience is your only argument for something that could so drastically damage our town then I guess my idealistic dreams of living in a community of people that actually somewhat care about each other are just too far to the "wacky left" side of things.

MyDogHoudini 8 years, 9 months ago

Go City! I don't care if you lose in the end -- Please do whatever you can to keep ANOTHER wal-mart out.

The first week I moved to Lawrence I bought a trash can at Wal-Mart. After 2 weeks, the wheels fell off the bottom, and it was a useless piece of junk. I replaced it with a trash can from Target --- 4 years later the Target trash can is still working great... And I haven't been back to Wal-Mart in years.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 9 months ago

Remember this about Commissioner Highberger:

Comm. Highberger often is a swing vote on development issues on the City Commission.

Godot 8 years, 9 months ago

Sasqiatch34 wrote: "Are you serious? Unemployment has been a problem here for many years...you cant add 25,000 students to your population for 3/4 of a year and not experience a job crunch."

The unemployment rate in Lawrence as of August 2006 was 4%.

That is not "a problem."

gr 8 years, 9 months ago

"This town cannot support it w/o someone going out of business but wal mart knows that and does not care It will treat Lawrence as any other small town and it will utilize its global expansion plan with low wages and poorer quality"

Wow. That business plan doesn't sound like it would work. I mean selling poor quality product, who would go there?

Or, could it be that Walmart is thinking of self and wanting to make money just like all the people think of self and want to save money? What some are attempting to do is control people's behavior. They don't want them shopping at Walmart and so they fix it so they can't - at least on west 6th.

Kind of reminds me of daylight saving time which is coming up. I believe it was some Franklin dude who saw people not getting up early enough to suite his tastes. So he started the idea rolling of changing the clocks to force people to get up earlier - sleeping in is bad. To make it fly, others added the idea if you could save a few pennies and multiply it over many people it would save the country money. You could say the same about anything as far as that goes. But, you are being manipulated.

People want a Walmart. Otherwise, it would fail. The powers that be don't want you to go there.

Godot 8 years, 9 months ago

When I shopped at Walmart last week, a clerk handed me a printed note that said Walmart would match any price of any store in town, as long as I brought proof, like an ad or receipt.

From what I could see, Walmart would have to increase its prices to match the price of any store in town.

Amy Bartle 8 years, 9 months ago

I went to WalMart twice recently to see what all the fuss was about. Well, the refrigerator section of milk was dirty and all the milk cartons were stained with dirt. And the meat selection was bad - no real lean beef to speak of. And no filet migon. The vegetables and fruit seemed waxy to me, and sure enough, they proudly post a sign that says that they wax their produce. Gross! They have tons of merchandise, much of which I don't need or care to purchase. I am happy with the little Dillon's by our house and the Hy-Vee. I also like our Community Merc.

zimmerman 8 years, 9 months ago

Are you people working for Wal-Mart? Half of these posts sound like Wal-Mart commercials.
"The NUMBY capital of the world"? Ok, what you're saying is that facts don't seem to influence your opinions. I was wondering then, what does? Your argument that because this is a college town that we automatically have an unemployment problem seems a bit silly. So let's get back to the question of how putting in a new Wal-Mart might actually help the town. If putting in a new store will eventually put others out of business five years down the line then it's not actually creating jobs, it's just moving them to a new store that treats it's employees poorly.
Everybody's always saying how the crazy left hates corporations. Yes, I realize that hating businesses that break laws, mistreat employees, and bully small towns is crazy, but forget about any of that. Forget about hating corporations. What about supporting your neighbors? Oh, I forgot that would make us communists or anti-American or some other hogwash

Godot 8 years, 9 months ago

sunflowersue must have shopped at a different Walmart than the one where I spent $80 to entertain four guests and my family.

The problem I have with Walmart is that there are so many choices, so many brands, so many price points. And soooooo much stuff.

I have friends, wealthy friends, who live in Arkansas and are dumbfounded by the resistance movement in Lawrence against Walmart. When I tell them about the PLC campaign to keep Walmart out of Lawrence, they look at me, with wide eyes, and say, "Why?" or, in Arkansan, "Whaaaaaae?"

These wealthy friends entertain us with delightful bruschettas, with olive oil, garlic and dried tomato as appetizers, good cuts of beef and salmon, fresh salad,really good red wine from an Arkansas vineyard, and a dessert of a dense chocolate brownie with caramel and nuts --- all bought at Walmart.

If you cannot compete, find another job.

roger6855 8 years, 9 months ago

I just can't understand the thinking of some of the city commissioners. Why do they want to keep jobs from coming to Lawrence. I realize that the jobs a new Walmart would bring would not be high paying jobs, but I'm guessing a lot of the people who work at Walmart might not be qualified for some high paying jobs if they were to come to Lawrence. I would think a job working for Walmart is better then not having a job.

I live on the West side of Lawrence and the new Walmart would be about a mile from my house, instead of six miles to the South store, thus when I go to Walmart if it was on the West side of town, I would use over 80% less fuel and this would also create 80% less pollution, so I'm assumming these commisioners also don't care about the enviroment either.

I also read one comment about someone might be in a hurry to get to Walmart and thus injuring a child, well if that person is coming from West Lawrence to the South store, I would bet they would be in even more of a hurry if they have to drive 5 or 6 miles instead of just a mile to a new store on the West side of town.

I also understand that Walmart probably won't give up. If they lose, then this will show that they can be beaten, and since money isn't an object for them, how much does the city plan on spending to fight Walmart before the city either gives up, or there are new commisioners who will vote for Walmart. I feel that if the city looses, then let these 3 commisioners pay for the lawyers that the city hired instead of the tax payers, especially the tax payers who are for growth.

As far as a new Walmart hurting other local businesses, well I don't see that since there is already a Walmart in Lawrence. This new store would only mean that people on the West side of town, who want to go to Walmart, wouldn't have to drive as far.

I also don't understand why Lawrence doesn't have a Mall. Why do these commissioner want the people of Lawrence to go to KC or Topeka to shop. Again, big waste of fuel and a lot of tax dollars leaving Lawrence.

Why don't we figure a way to let those opposed to growth pay extra taxes and those who want growth, pay less taxes.

I also believe that there should be certain requirements that one should meet to be on the city commission, such as being a home owner in the city of Lawrence, thus paying realestate taxes and working in the city of Lawrence, to help make good decisions for companies who have business in Lawrence. I figure that the more tax revenue that is generated by businesses, the less taxes home owners would have to pay.

bunnyhawk 8 years, 9 months ago

We have elected representatives in Topeka and Washington who should be expected to pass legislation prohibiting monster corporations from bullying communities with law suits.

DEMAND ACTION!!!! We can't fight the creeps by ourselves!!!

Walmart isn't just about running local competitors out of business and mistreating their employees............they also tell the manufacturers they buy from what they can manufacture and who they can sell it to!!!!!!

WE DON'T NEED BULLY CORPORATIONS IN LAWRENCE!!!

blackwalnut 8 years, 9 months ago

The KU paper covered this better than the LJ World, because they mentioned that the traffic study was conducted in June when school was out of session.

Let me repeat that because it is mind-boggling:

THE TRAFFIC STUDY WAS CONDUCTED WHEN FREE STATE HIGH STUDENTS WERE GONE FOR THE SUMMER

Are they stupid, or do they just think WE are?

zimmerman 8 years, 9 months ago

Yes I have known people who have worked at Wal-Mart, and no they didn't feel they were treated well. When I was younger I worked at K-Mart, which was one of the worst jobs I've ever had. Working there I used to hear stories of fellow employees who had worked for Wal-Mart and quit to work for "the better store" because of shady management and lack of any kind of benefits.
If you're looking for local businesses that Wal-Mart might bankrupt, look at Cottin's Hardware store. I've talked to people who have worked there and they told me they felt the Wal-Mart tug when it was put at 33rd and Iowa.
I've heard talk of Wal-Mart putting a grocery store in the new building, with a huge organic section. Have you thought about what that might do to the Merc and the people who work there?
Jayhawk Spirit might suffer. The Image Works might suffer. The Clinton Parkway Nursery and Garden Store, Sunflower Bike Shop, Pet World, UNI computers, Gameguy, not to mention all of the locally owned auto-repair shops, the office supply stores, the art supply stores, the hunting and fishing stores will probably all take some kind of hit. Maybe you didn't realize what affect it might have because you have never stepped foot in one of these places. Remember a little shop called Play it Again Sports? Oh you probably don't because you were shopping at Wal-Mart before it went out of business. Remember Camera America? They closed down too. Most people don't know how badly Wal-Mart treats it's employees or the fact that their low wages and no healthcare benefits end up costing us billions of dollars in taxes. If they did and they had the slightest bit of a conscience, they would shop somewhere else. But like I said, most people don't know and if you try to let them know you're told that you're uninformed or ignorant.

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