Douglas County District Court Judge Michael Malone has agreed to restart a lawsuit alleging that the Lawrence City Commission illegally denied a building permit for a Wal-Mart store at Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive.
"Wal-Mart could not possibly be more disappointed to be back here," Timothy Sear, an attorney representing Wal-Mart told Malone as he asked for the case to be set for trial.
Malone scheduled the case for a one-week trial, which is set to begin April 16.
The case was restarted after city commissioners on Tuesday denied on a 3-2 vote a plan to build an approximately 100,000 square feet store at the northwest corner of the intersection. Developers seek through the lawsuit to build an approximately 132,000 square feet store on the site. That's the size of the building that Wal-Mart had sought to build before filing the lawsuit. It was denied a building permit by the city, which started the legal proceedings.
Wal-Mart brought forward the plan for the smaller store after reaching a legal agreement with the city in April to put the lawsuits on hold. Attorneys for Wal-Mart and a Lawrence development group that owns the property told Malone they were bewildered at how the city could reject the new plan, especially since it received a recommendation from the city's planning staff.
"We jumped through an extreme number of hoops to develop this plan," Sear said. "There are three members of the City Commission who apparently never intended to vote for any plan."
Commissioners Boog Highberger, Mike Rundle and David Schauner voted against the plan on Tuesday. Scott Beeler, an Overland Park attorney representing the city, said city commissioners did absolutely nothing wrong in rejecting the plan.
"They did not violate any part of the settlement," Beeler said. "There was no legal requirement to approve the plan. The agreement simply provided a forum for Wal-Mart to submit a new plan. That's exactly what occurred."
More about Wal-Mart at 6th and Wakarusa
- Joint statment about Wal-Mart lawsuit
- Wal-Mart back, with bigger request (10-28-06)
- Wal-Mart question up for city approval (10-23-06)
- Wal-Mart proposal hits another roadblock (09-01-06)
- Planning Commission split on proposed Wal-Mart (08-31-06)
- City gateway taking shape (08-19-06)
- Wal-Mart reveals design for Sixth Street location (08-15-06)
- More stories in our Wal-Mart on Wakarusa section Â»