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Archive for Friday, April 6, 2007

Attorneys preparing for Wal-Mart trial

Judge will begin to hear arguments on April 16

April 6, 2007

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There was no talk of a settlement as attorneys for Wal-Mart and the city met in court today to discuss the upcoming trial over Wal-Mart's plans to build a store at Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive.

Instead, attorneys for both sides were making final preparations for the trial, which is set to begin April 16 before Douglas County District Judge Michael Malone.

There's been some question about whether the two sides would try to settle the case, now that the make-up of the Lawrence City Commission is set to change considerably since the last time the commission denied a plan for the Wal-Mart store in October. On Tuesday, Commissioner David Schauner failed to win re-election to the commission, and Commissioner Mike Rundle chose not to seek re-election. That leaves Commissioner Boog Highberger as the only member of the commission that voted against the Wal-Mart plan.

Bill Newsome, a member of the development company that owns the property at the northwest corner of the intersection, has said his group has no plans to settle the lawsuit. Wal-Mart officials, however, have made no comment - including after today's hearing - on whether they have an interest in opening talks with the city.

Wal-Mart is seeking a ruling from the court that would allow it to build a 132,100-square-foot store on the site.

For more on the hearing, see tomorrow's Journal-World.

Comments

KsTwister 7 years, 8 months ago

Exactly as I said earlier,and today's headlines pretty much echo what is next. They win, Lawrence pays dearly.

"It my observation that if the city hasn't changed its building code for that intersection that Walmart has less of challenge to defend 'its' right. Especially since the city gave its blessing the first time. Cha ching, grab you wallet. It is too late for "after the fact" changes. It would sad, pay legal fees AND Walmart puts in the biggest store they can. At our expense. Hindsight is 20/20 not Horizon 2020. Should we have taken the last compromise if this is the case?"

You would think Boog and Shauner being lawyers could have seen this coming .....must have been a Dada kind of day.

Sigmund 7 years, 8 months ago

Been there, done that. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Let the subpoena fly and let the legal bills for court appearances begin!

Sigmund 7 years, 8 months ago

Yep, once we dump the "MT" we will have $1.4 million available in the budget to pay for attorneys fees and I don't mind a bit dumping our worthless bus system to pay for attorneys fees even if Lawrence does eventually lose the case.

Curious Tony, what in the budget are you willing to give up to pay attorney fees?

FreetoBe47 7 years, 8 months ago

How naive you are. Do you not think Wal-mart has the best attorneys on their staff and that is illegal to keep them from building a store there. Let's talk about cocky shall we? The cocky attitude of booger is enough to make my stomach churn.

I'm glad he is finally out numbered and this city might have a fighting chance at some real progress.

preebo 7 years, 8 months ago

FTB47,

I would argue that while, Wal-Mart has a sizable legal staff that is well versed in land use and free market laws, it doesn't necessarily transmit to a slam dunk. Over the last 3 years or so Wal-Mart has lost a fair amount of their cases dealing with building a new stores in various states. The public perception of the Big Box Chain has waned over the years. Lawrence has quite a bit of precedent on its side on this fight.

...and I hope that you are not referring to Wal-Mart in a discussion of "real" progress.

FreetoBe47 7 years, 8 months ago

Real as in occuring or existing and progress as in a forward or onward movement.

deec 7 years, 8 months ago

Such as? Please illuminate what you would consider to be "real progress". More restaurants? Please be specific, and give examples.

Jeanne Cunningham 7 years, 8 months ago

Why do YOU think those old commissioners got voted out?

Many people WANT the new Walmart!

K_dub 7 years, 8 months ago

I cannot for the life of me imagine why anyone would think we need TWO Walmarts! One is more than enough! I hope that the City can hold those guys off! What would be nice though is a grocery store on east 23rd!

zimmerman 7 years, 8 months ago

So what exactly does Wal-Mart have the right to sue for? Weren't they trying to build a store that was larger than the size specified for the lot? And wasn't the area zoned so that department stores were not allowed to build there? I've heard something about how the lawsuit has to do with discrimination, but can someone please explain to me what the real grounds of this lawsuit might actually be? If the people in this town don't want another Wal-Mart, shouldn't we be able to decide that? I mean isn't that what the whole point of what city planning was designed for in the first place?

roger_o_thornhill 7 years, 8 months ago

How many square feet are in an acre?

I say just continue to expand the existing WalMart until part of it reaches the 6th and Wakarusa intersection. That shouldn't take too long.

Of course when the new WalMart is built, I hope these two new city comissioners don't try to talk about the new jobs 'they' brought to town. They are the exact jobs this town doesn't need. Even if it really DOES "need" another big box store.

concernedparent 7 years, 8 months ago

Uhm, isn't Checkers pretty much east 23rd street?

ive_got_my_ascot_n_my_dickie 7 years, 8 months ago

I dislike Wal-Mart, but I'm not opposed to free enterprise. If the people of Lawrence really feel that there's no need for a second Wal-Mart in this city, then people won't shop there and the store will go out of business. Has that ever happened to a Wal-Mart though? It seems that everyone claims to hate it but shops there anyway. I admit that I have purchased cheap motor oil there before, despite the fact that I dislike the company (and the risk of getting run over by heavy people on electric scooters who shop there).

gccs14r 7 years, 8 months ago

No, Checkers is at Louisiana. There's a whole lotta Lawrence east of Massachusetts.

Regarding the lawsuit, I believe it's a legal question about the definition of a department store. Sino-Mart claims their units are variety stores, not department stores.

preebo 7 years, 8 months ago

'Even if it really DOES "need" another big box store."

This is where I disagree. Personally, I do not think Lawrence needs another "Big Box"store. In a community like Lawrence, where small town businesses is the community selling point (according to the commercials) it would not be in the best interest to introduce another large chain to swoop in and take another swath of the market share. The truth is Lawrence doesn't have the customer base for two Wal-Marts. Building another one will actually take sales from the existing one. How's that for irony? Wal-Mart is stealing business from Wal-Mart (in addition to unique small mom and pops in Lawrence).

If Lawrence is to remain a community of educated, culturated, sophisticated, sometimes eccentric residents then it needs to cultivate an identity as the one place in Kansas that retains its image rather then sell it off to the Waltons.

...Just my opinion.

KsTwister 7 years, 8 months ago

It my observation that if the city hasn't changed its building code for that intersection that Walmart has less of challenge to defend 'its' right. Especially since the city gave its blessing the first time. Cha ching, grab you wallet. It is too late for "after the fact" changes. It would sad, pay legal fees AND Walmart puts in the biggest store they can. At our expense. Hindsight is 20/20 not Horizon 2020. Should we have took the last compromise if this is the case?

FreetoBe47 7 years, 8 months ago

Tony 88,

If you don't grow you remain stagnant, why does change and growth always have to equal despair and doom. I swear I feel like I am living in the age of the Flinestones with most of these postings!!!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 8 months ago

"If you don't grow you remain stagnant, why does change and growth always have to equal despair and doom."

This couldn't be more wrong. Change and progress are not the same thing as growth. We have nearly 90,000 people here in Lawrence. If there is something this town needs, it's just simple-minded to believe that new residents need to move here in order to fill that need. Isn't it possible that the existing population might have the skills and resources to do what needs to be done? And isn't it just possible that doing so will provide the higher-paying jobs that nearly everyone in this town thinks we need?

And, otherwise, as the saying goes, if it aint broke, don't fix it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 8 months ago

"I doubt they want to build another Wal-Mart just for the sake of building it, and at the expense of the existing Wal-Mart, no less."

They know good and well that the new Wal-Mart will draw considerable business away from the existing Wal-Mart. What they are counting on is that the new store will draw considerably more business from the HyVee, Dillons and Walgreens that are nearby. It's a war of attrition, and Wal-Mart is betting that they'll win.

Lawrence, of course, will lose, because of yet another screwed-up intersection, this one right in front of Free State HS, and the future blight of out-of-business competitors.

KsTwister 7 years, 8 months ago

As much as North Lawrence gets overlooked I think Tanger would be a nice place for it. Interstate $$,small town accessibility, and I think it would be appreciated there more. Too bad the planners did not think of that first.

News_to_me 7 years, 8 months ago

Just a thought: why would you think that Wal Mart has the best lawyers. They're more likely to be like the merchandise they sell-cheap.

Sigmund 7 years, 8 months ago

Unchecked growth? Where? Allowing a single Walmart is hardly "unchecked growth" and Lawrence's growth in population has been effectively checked in Lawrence for the last 4 years. The only growth that hasn't been checked I can see is wasted tax dollars and real estate taxes.

KsTwister 7 years, 8 months ago

"The only growth that hasn't been checked I can see is wasted tax dollars and real estate taxes."

Sigmund, great comment, how right you are!!!

preservation 7 years, 8 months ago

Hey fellow west lawrence-ites! Someone do some looking and figure out how a new Wally-world will affect our property value. I don't want a big box of cheap product dragging down my property value. My mortgage is totally shot then.

63BC 7 years, 8 months ago

Not settling the suit costs the taxpayers twice.

Not only will there be huge legal fees, but it delays the ability of Lawrence to collect taxes on the property, including on all the sales from out of town shoppers who view Wal-Mart as a destination.

KsTwister 7 years, 8 months ago

Ah come on Hawk, you know good and well that education is the most necessary of tax evils. What I resent(and I suspect Sigmund) is the cost of the roundabouts while are streets are turned to squalor,higher and constant tax increases for property only to find that money went for frequent studies of the same issues(I calculated $1 mil in just one 8 month period of 2005); among other things.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 8 months ago

Roundabouts are a cost of growth. When you add more traffic, 4-way stops cease to be an effective way to control traffic.

KsTwister 7 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, lights ,widening strategic streets and working on traffic policing would not cost less? Of course when this city quits trying to use the same major thoroughfares we used in the 60's we might just come up with a solution; but somebody liked art and flowers. Among other things and that didn't happen. People are tired of 20 years of 'no problems solved'. Tired enough to throw in the towel and move.Nobody fights for solutions to problems, the crybabies say it's too hard.

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