Archive for Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Wal-Mart wins city approval

August 8, 2007

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Wal-Mart wins.

City commissioners late Tuesday evening cleared the way for a Wal-Mart store - the city's second - to be built at the northwest corner of Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive.

Commissioners approved the request on a 4-1 vote after hearing a solid hour's worth of public comment against the store, and after enduring a lobby full of protesters waving signs with negative statements about the retail giant.

Commissioner Boog Highberger was the lone commissioner to vote against the plan. Concerns from the public ranged from traffic issues to predictions that Wal-Mart would seriously hurt the city's existing retail market.

Other than Highberger, commissioners were not convinced that another Wal-Mart will be economically harmful. Several commissioners did express concerns about traffic issues, but said they were reassured by a new analysis from the Kansas Department of Transportation and city engineers that indicated roads in the area were built to handle the increase in traffic.

"Sixth Street is as good as any road we have in this town," City Commissioner Mike Dever said.

Several residents were not convinced of the new traffic analysis and still feared that overflow traffic from the development will cut through their neighborhoods.

Commissioner Mike Amyx attempted to add a condition to the development that would have forced the developers to pay for some traffic-calming improvements in the adjacent neighborhoods, but his suggestion failed on a 3-2 vote, with only Amyx and Highberger voting for it.

The vote marks the largest victory in an approximately five-year effort by the retailer to build at the site. Developers have long said the property is well-suited for commercial development, and that the roads in the area can handle the increased traffic. The developers have contended that a previous City Commission denied the project for political reasons.

"I think we all want Lawrence to be a place where if you follow the rules, you will be given an opportunity, and that opportunity should exist for Wal-Mart as well as for mom-and-pop operations," said Bill Newsome, who along with Lawrence businessman Doug Compton owns the development site.

Angie Stoner, a spokeswoman for Wal-Mart, said the store did not have a timeline to begin construction. Technically, commissioners approved only the rezonings and the preliminary development plan. The rezonings must go through two "readings" at the City Commission level before they become official. A final development plan also must be approved. Normally, the readings and the final development plan are merely technicalities.

Stoner said once construction begins, the approximately 100,000-square-foot store - which is scheduled to include a grocery department - will be open in 10 to 12 months.

"Obviously, it is a project we have been working on for a long time, so we hope to move forward as soon as possible," Stoner said.

Comments

timetospeakup 7 years, 9 months ago

Hey, at least wal-mart doesn't tolerate panhandlers. I'd rather shop there than downtown where I'll be pestered to "spare some change?"

blackwalnut 7 years, 9 months ago

The budget is in bad shape because retail sales are declining and the economy of the whole country is declining despite what BushCo wants you to believe. (Long ago that administration ordered its departments to stop reporting mass layoffs - but don't believe they are not occurring just because BushCo doesn't announce them like the government used to do.)

Lawrence has more retail than it can support. Period. The new Wal-Mart will only suck business off other stores, including its own store on S. Iowa and Target.

The 250 new jobs Wal-Mart supposedly will create will displace other jobs - but Wal-Mart pays less and treats its employees worse than most employers.

This new commission ran on jobs. Surprise, Lawrence - the jobs are here and they pay $7 an hour! and don't ask about the benefits!

Thanks, Boog, for continuing to speak for the good of Lawrence even though you are surrounded by sellouts to special interests.

Bobbi Walls 7 years, 9 months ago

Finally, I won't have to drive all the way from North Lawrence to the other side of town.... It's about time.

Jaehde 7 years, 9 months ago

Sad. Local government replicates National Adm. Wonder what the king and queen have up their sleeve next? We'll find out, for sure.

Thanks Boog, sorry you're in such poor company these days.

TheOriginalCA 7 years, 9 months ago

I am laughing my arse off at all of you who believe that your personal model of what Lawrence should look like is bigger than the capitalistic economy and the equal right to engage in commerce. Did you really believe that you could forever keep Wal-Mart from what they are legally entitled to?

Brandon Perkins 7 years, 9 months ago

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!! Wonder how many tax dollars could have been saved over the last 3 years on this....

On another note.....the pool fee increase is rediculous....

blackwalnut 7 years, 9 months ago

I believe this move will backfire on Wal-Mart big time, in the end.

Because of their pushiness, hundreds more people know what an awful company they are. The movies, the public comment, the dialogue in the newspaper, and the conversations this issue has sparked, have served to educate many, many people about the destructive ways of Wal-Mart. I think more people are boycotting Wal-Mart than before. I don't think people are going to just go quietly away. People will go on educating others about Wal-Mart and it will only hurt them, because there is nothing good in the Wal-Mart story after Sam Walton stepped down and turned the company over to his greedy heirs.

People are going to resent Wal-Mart when the traffic ruins the neighborhood, and when the city gets stuck with the tab for all the improvements and expenses conveniently not mentioned at last night's city commission meeting.

Everyone will know which commissioners to blame.

jonas 7 years, 9 months ago

"Pilgrim (Anonymous) says:

Ah, yes. Love It or Leave It. The last retort of the over-matched liberal."

Give me a break Pilgrim. This is a phrase tossed around with no deliniations by political inclination. I've lost count of the times that certain conservative members of the boards have used that very same phrase. Usually in some anti/pro war argument, but its use is quite frequent in others as well. Your eyes appear to be only half-opened.

Eileen Jones 7 years, 9 months ago

Pilgrim (Anonymous) says: I knew the Chicken Little brigade would be in full voice this morning. Sure glad they didn't disappoint. Like last night, they are redundant and agonizingly boring, but that's part of their predictable charm.

Redundant, predictable and boring. Yup, Pilgrim, that's you.

Emily Hadley 7 years, 9 months ago

I think someone summoned Doug Compton here through the Stull church gateway. If we can figure out how to send him back home, maybe this whole nightmare will dissolve away.

toefungus 7 years, 9 months ago

Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, who cares. I am not going to remember who voted for the stores. I will remember who votes for tax increases.

Crossfire 7 years, 9 months ago

.............!!!COMING SOON!!!............. .Wally East and North Lawrence Mart. CCsucks

MaggotFace 7 years, 9 months ago

Oh NO!

This is just awful!

Now Wal-Mart will force people at gunpoint to work and shop there.

B. O. O. H. O. O.

gr 7 years, 9 months ago

"Oh NO!"

And I thought they would go bankrupt since no one wants to shop there.

So that's how they get customers!

ilovelucy 7 years, 9 months ago

Logicsound4: read the article again. Amyx put forth a notion for developers to pay for some of the infrastructure costs to build this behemoth. He and Boog were voted down.

Steve Jacob 7 years, 9 months ago

At least when downtown stores close, the can blame wal-mart instead of themselves. With all the road inprovements between 6th & Wak and K-10, I don't see alot of traffic problems. The people out there are just not used to having to wait for an extra green light like we do on Iowa St. everyday.

thusspokezarathustra 7 years, 9 months ago

Yes, the blowhards were out in full force & full of themselves.

Mkh 7 years, 9 months ago

RIP Lawrence.

(Brought to you by the City Commission's gracious sponsors, Doug Compton and Chase-Manhattan Bank).

amazonratz 7 years, 9 months ago

No, a Costco. A big-box with a conscience and some competition for the giant soulsucker that is Walmart. The city commission is a real disappointment. Thanks Boog, for voting no.

NotASquishHead 7 years, 9 months ago

Thank goodness! Now I won't have to drive 20 mins across town!

Maybe we can finally work on getting the Trafficway finished...

Hoots 7 years, 9 months ago

The only ding dong here was Boog. If they had voted it down again you, I, and evryone else in this town would be paying for the big check the city was going to end up writing Wal-Mart. Get a clue people...you don't have a chance against China's 10th biggest trading partner. We didn't have a leg to stand on here and lucky for us 4 Commish members realized it. I don't like it either but life isn't fair.

cncrndctizn 7 years, 9 months ago

are we really surprised? i think we knew this was coming when we voted dever and chestnut in. i'm not sure how they rationalized that lawrence is large enough for two wal-mart stores. we're starting to sprawl just like overland park.

coneflower 7 years, 9 months ago

There goes the neighborhood. Too bad for the school kids and pool kids, the traffic will be awful. And neighbors will be trapped in their neighborhood.

Wilbur_Nether 7 years, 9 months ago

Chris Hoffman wondered "why dont they put in a Sam's Club instead...".

Wal-Mart gets to make that call. And if they thought the cost-benefit ratio (for them, not for us) would be high enough, they would have asked for exactly that. I infer from the fact they didn't that their numbers show the profit for a Sam's Club in Lawrence would be too low for the investment required.

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 7 years, 9 months ago

What's so bad about giving China our business by shopping at WalMart? (Other than the fact that China is now threatening to crash our dollar?)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2007/08/07/bcnchina107a.xml

China: Trade surplus of $26.9 billion USA: Trade DEFICIT: $60 billion

http://www.census.gov/indicator/www/ustrade.html

Keep buying foreign goods, people! What's the worst that could possibly happen? (Other than a continued loss of jobs and factory closures).

bmwjhawk 7 years, 9 months ago

I'm thrilled. My wife says that she won't let me shop there, but I'm going to. I think it's cheap and convenient!

Jean1183 7 years, 9 months ago

YEAH!!!

I agree with NotASquishHead....let's finish the trafficway!!! AND put 31st street through to highway 10.

Eileen Jones 7 years, 9 months ago

This will be the legacy of the four commissioners who voted yea. Five years from now things will be a lot uglier, and downtown will be affected too. Everybody will know exactly whom to blame for that.

This commission is already being called the "hack and slash" commission.

Now, on to Farmland! Make a lot ripe and ready for development by more Sponsors of the Commission! Never mind the city is broke.

LogicMan 7 years, 9 months ago

Dittos on the Sam's Club. How about in the field behind (east of) the current south store? Or finally put Gaslight Village out of its misery.

KS 7 years, 9 months ago

No guts for the Commission. Wal-Mart and the "T" and all I got out of this was a tax increase?

cmdln 7 years, 9 months ago

"Sixth Street is as good as any road we have in this town," City Commissioner Mike Dever said.

Are you kidding me? Only that very last section of 6th street does not have traffic problems. How many wrecks are there near 6th and crestline each week? Traffic between 6th and Iowa and 6th and Mass is problematic as well.

Now we are going to have 4 grocery stores on 6th street, 2 Dillons, 1 HyVee, and a Walmart. How many grocery stores do we really need in this town? I think we have about 10 now, and Food for less went out of business leaving that very attractive empty building next to Office Depot. Gee I cant wait till Dillons old west 6th street store becomes an eye sore and the west lawrencians figure out having walmart out there is going to be more headache than its worth.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 9 months ago

"Sixth Street is as good as any road we have in this town," City Commissioner Mike Dever said.


Not for long.

Newsome thinks anyone should get all the rules they can afford to buy.

naturalist 7 years, 9 months ago

Quelle surprise! Thank you Boog for voting no and thank you Mike and Boog for trying to make Wal Mart bear some traffic costs. The last election ruined this town for me. 6th St. will become the new Iowa, to be avoided at all costs.

As for not needing any more grocery stores, how about moving one of those to North Lawrence?

Roadkill_Rob 7 years, 9 months ago

Doug Compton is an evil, greedy man. I wish he lived somewhere else. How much more money do you need, Doug? Why don't you invest in a town that wants another Wal-Mart.

And I bet that Doug lets the Masonic Temple continue to rot for years even though several parties have expressed interest in buying it. It's a shame...that building could be used for a lot of good things. "NOW AVAILABLE!" Yeah, right.

PapaB 7 years, 9 months ago

I love it that the new Wal-Mart will be built. I hate going downtown and seeing the throngs of homeless this city has. I've said it before: Other cities in KS give their homeless bus tickets to Lawrence to take care of their homeless problems (I have a friend who worked in City Hall and said it's common knowledge there). Face it, our downtown is rare, but let's not confuse this, Wal-Mart is not really a threat. Our downtown will fail if it gets overrun by our (and everyone else's) homeless.

jonas 7 years, 9 months ago

"amazonratz (Anonymous) says:

No, a Costco. A big-box with a conscience and some competition for the giant soulsucker that is Walmart. "

Something tells me the only reason people can make comments like this (subtitute Costco for Target, HyVee etc) is because Walmart is already the scapegoat, and no one feels the need to research the others.

Non-definitive. But a gut feeling, nonetheless.

Mandie Eutsler 7 years, 9 months ago

for those of you who hate wally world and don't shop there anyway GET OVER IT! i fail to see how this affects you or downtown. the property tax alone will kill downtown. hasn't anybody noticed that every year there is two or three stores closing and something else moving in. if compton was so worried about wm ruining downtown would he own nearly a dozen buildings there himself? it doesn't matter which side of the fence you sit on you are all close-minded. hey road-kill maybe we can turn the temple into another homeless shelter because downtown isn't littered with them enough yet. i think the panhandlers need just one more place to go for free lunch. it's not like i'm totally in favor of the wal-mart but i can't afford not to shop there and another will be really convenient for me. i guess if i made more money i could afford to shop downtown and at dillons but i can't.

blackwalnut 7 years, 9 months ago

TheOriginalCA: They were not legally entitled. This city commission changed the zoning laws for them.

The zoning law stated no store over 80,000 s.f. and forbade a department store.

Wal-Mart sued the citizens of Lawrence because a previous city commission upheld the zoning laws and did not change them just for Wal-Mart. People blaming the city for the legal costs should blame Wal-Mart because Wal-Mart was the suer and the city was the suee.

blackwalnut 7 years, 9 months ago

Another thing:

It isn't pure capitalism when our commissioners are bought off, like Sue Hack is.

timetospeakup 7 years, 9 months ago

scenebooster (Anonymous) says: "I'd rather shop there than downtown where I'll be pestered to "spare some change?""

Yeah, watch out! Oh no, a human I don't know spoke to me! Crikey!!! Quick, get to aisle 146 at >Wal-mart - we can hide there!

Not even close scenebooster. I talk to people all the time, even at wal-mart. It's people that are too lazy to get a job and expect me to work to support their addictions that make me mad

thare 7 years, 9 months ago

This is exactly the reason why I am so glad I have moved away from Lawrence. People complaining about driving 20 minutes across town to go to Wal Mart! These are real, actual concerns in your life? Kind of sad. Where I live it's amazing if it only takes 20 minutes to walk somewhere or better yet, take the train there! Good bye midwest, enjoy your low prices for crap that doesn't matter.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 9 months ago

"It's people that are too lazy to get a job and expect me to work to support their addictions that make me mad"

What does that have to do with whether the new Wal-Mart is built? Are you saying that those who oppose this, for whatever reason, are all unemployed and expecting you to support them?

Mandie Eutsler 7 years, 9 months ago

just from the people who are in my circle of friends, and this is people from all tax brackets, they are going elsewhere to shop. they go to the malls in either kc or topeka, or the outlets near the speedway. i feel like downtown is a tourist attraction. natives go there to eat, drink and be merry, not to shop. i've said this before and i'll say it again. the majority of things you buy at the grocery store and yes, wal-mart, you can't get them downtown. if i need diapers and a humidifier, i'll go to wal-mart or target. if my son wants a toy i don't go downtown i go to target or wal-mart. if i want to rent a movie i don't go to liberty hall i get it online or blockbuster. why? because these things i need are cheaper elsewhere or i can't get them at all downtown. my family goes downtown daily for coffee at the java break, and maybe twice a week ice cream at ben and jerry's. once in a while we will buy a game cube game from the game guy. my point is, the majority of the money i and others i know spend on retail is someplace other than downtown. one time at a sidewalk sale i bought a pair of shoes for my son but that's the only time anyone can afford to shop there. maybe if old navy moves downtown my spending habits would change but since it's near walmart i'll still go to south iowa. too many of larryville's consumers are going to topeka or kc because the pie is cheaper.

Roadkill_Rob 7 years, 9 months ago

"And I bet that Doug lets the Masonic Temple continue to rot for years even though several parties have expressed interest in buying it."

"It will be a bank. This is a done deal."

I didn't hear about this. When did that happen and what bank?

suesay 7 years, 9 months ago

i don't live in lawrence anymore, but i can say that if i still lived there, i wouldn't want that new wm to go in either.

i'd at least be a little happier about the situation if...

a) the 6th and wak land wasn't owned by doug compton and if

b) the walmart was going in somewhere in north lawrence.

i know traffic around the 6th street/mass street area would be a pain if a walmart was there (in north lawrence), but it is already, yeah? when i lived in north lawrence, i was baffled at how neglected that area was. walmart makes 'neighborhood markets', why can't they put one there? they have plenty of space for it along N 2nd street. don't get me wrong... when i lived in north lawrence, i really did love shopping at dillons on mass street, but it was a long drive!

halfgreengirl 7 years, 9 months ago

Dear Commissioners,

Why don't you ever ask what the actual residents of Lawrence want? The same residents who pay your salaries? Remember us? From what I've gathered from talking to other residents, the amount of people who actually want yet ANOTHER Walmart is few to none. Just a reminder: We live here too. Then again, you probably won't even read this, will you.

Sincerely, Another Lawrence Resident You Guys Don't Listen To

suesay 7 years, 9 months ago

and i have to comment on something someone said yesterday about how walmart was this great american story... sam walton started from nothing blah blah blah... sam walton is dead, and walmart IS NOT ran on the same principles as when he was alive. ask anyone who has worked there for a long period of time. i worked at lawrence walmart pharmacy with two pharmacists, one who worked at that very store for 20+ years, and another who's been there since i think 1996. they both told me stories about what has changed for the worse there at walmart since sam died... it's just not the same place.

halfgreengirl 7 years, 9 months ago

Dear Commissioner Highberger,

Thanks for understanding. Obviously you're the only one. Sorry you have to stand alone on the issue. (Well, alone except for everyone who isn't allowed to vote on the issue. Namely, people who just live here.) Even though it was still voted through, thanks for giving it a shot. I and many others appreciate it.

Sincerely, A Lawrence Resident Who Appreciates Your Effort

chocolateplease 7 years, 9 months ago

I expected them to approve the plan. What surprised me is that they refused to ask Wal-Mart, the deep pocket applicant, to pay for some traffic improvements in the surrounding neighborhood. WalMart brags about paying for 2/3 of the light which is at the entrance of their store (they should pay all of it). The city traffic engineer concedes that there are serious traffic issues just south of the intersection along Wakarusa which this development will make worse. Everyone shakes their head about what a problem it is and how there's no money to fix it. Commissioners express worry and concern for their very own neighborhoods. Yeah right. If you're so worried and concerned, you can require something from the applicant to solve the problem as a condition of approval instead of just handing over every bargaining chip there is straight away.

timetospeakup 7 years, 9 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says:

"It's people that are too lazy to get a job and expect me to work to support their addictions that >make me mad"

What does that have to do with whether the new Wal-Mart is built? Are you saying that those who >oppose this, for whatever reason, are all unemployed and expecting you to support them?

No bozo ... comment taken out of context by being a reply to a reply to a reply. I support wal-mart because I believe in property rights and don't feel obligated to protect downtown artificially. And no skin off my back, because I don't like shopping downtown with the hobos and hippies asking for my hard earned money anway

Richard Heckler 7 years, 9 months ago

Retail dollars are in limited supply in a small town market that the real estate/developer executives continue to pretend is not true. Then when the experts speak too much retail they scream that cannot be the truth as Ambercrombie&Fitch bites the dust.

When governing bodies forego economic impact studies that is a sign of bad city management thus higher taxes will prevail because of economic displacement. Our governing bodies and their close friends in the real estate/development community fear proper business procedures for the truth would prevail. Of course the super majority of all current planning and governing bodies would again say that cannot be true. Big bucks combined with bad city management and back door politics stink. Economic Impact Studies are common tools in most growing communities otherwise there is no indicator as to whether or not the right decisions are being made.

thinkaboutit 7 years, 9 months ago

It was clear to me that the decision for wal-mart had been made before the meeting even started last night. Wonder who has a big block of wal-mart stock or who is involved in real estate that might make some money off this? Do any of the commisioners? Oh I see now this might help there buget!! More tax dollars. Maybe we should of not built so many round-abouts. Lets keep a closer eye on the buget!!!! It is to bad someone has to lose there job, because the commisioners can't control the buget. Lost money in the courts over this and this commision says go head and build. The citizens of Lawrence deserve better!! I hope all the people remember this at the next election when the old mill levey jumps up!

countryman1 7 years, 9 months ago

Come on everyone! Don't you know why boogie Boo opposed the WM? It was so those of you, (you know who I am talking about) could give him a pat on the back. Whoopie! Go Boogie Boo! Now, about downtown. I love the downtown area, but I don't love the high prices. I am not blaming the merchants for the high prices though. I blame the property owners. Have you ever asked any of the merchants downtown how much their rent is. No wonder they have to charge high prices. I also believe that traffic will definately change at 6th & Wak, but I agree with one of the previous commentors. Take a look at traffic from 6th st Hy-vee all the way to Vermont st, or Iowa st from 6th. What a nightmare, but many people drive it each day and get used to it. Lawrence is a growing city, therefore we can't forever have our quiet little neighborhoods all to ourselves. Growth can't be changed, but it can be controlled. Last note: The 2nd WM will be a success or it will fail. Only time will tell. If you don't like WM, don't go there.

thusspokezarathustra 7 years, 9 months ago

Halfgreengirl, "Why don't you ever ask what the actual residents of Lawrence want?"

Just like the last "progressive" commission did with the smoking ban? I never saw that on the ballot.

Perhaps if the "overwhelming" opposition to Wal-Mart could conjure up more than 300-400 signatures on a petition they could force a ballot initiative.

countryman1 7 years, 9 months ago

flamingdragon (Anonymous) says:

Only an idiot (and we have alot of them) spends their money at wal-mart Only an Major idiot would defend this commission's actions If you are one of these idiots, please move back to topeka. thankyou.

My repsponse. I did not say I defend anyone, or pick any culture, color, city, or otherwise. Not that it is any of your business, but I am a college graduate. I am nearly 50 years of age. And I AM NOT an idiot. I apoligize if I upset you, but please don't ASSUME what you don't know about a person. I do shop some at WM, and yes I drive about 20 minutes to get there, and yes the 1 store suited me fine. But someone decided another store would somehow benifit our city, whether it was Compton or the majority of our city commission. We all know that the bottom line is we the citizens have no say so anyway unless it is politically motivated. Now let's see: do we increase taxes a lot or a little? Or do we raise it a little, then increase pool fees, waste collection, water rates, etc? Then the city can buy a couple more farmland properties or give the city manager another big raise. Do we the citizens really have any say in what happens to our community? NOT REALLY!

tribalzendancer 7 years, 9 months ago

Yet another thinly biased article from the Journal World. Why does this reporter only get quotes from the developers and two commissioners who voted for Wal-Mart? Why didn't he quote any of the Lawrence citizens there? All the while clever use of language and selected quotes subliminally paints a positive spin on the nights outcome.

I wish more of you could have been there to see last night. This article does not do it justice. It does not tell the full story. It does not tell the people's story.

karensisson 7 years, 9 months ago

thinkaboutit (Anonymous) says: It was clear to me that the decision for wal-mart had been made before the meeting even started last night. Wonder who has a big block of wal-mart stock or who is involved in real estate that might make some money off this?

It's darker than that. Doug Compton, the landowner, used to date a Wal-Mart heir and is godfather to her grandchildren. Sue Hack's husband owns an insurance company and Compton gives Alan Hack the business of insuring his many properties. Compton has threatened Hack about taking his insurance business somewhere else. Hack received $1000 from Wal-Mart in some kind of teacher award.

larryluver 7 years, 9 months ago

What is wrong with Lawrence--- I recently moved back here from California and am very saddened by the greed and distorted politics that favor the very very few over the community.... I have had to endure over a year dealing w/planning dept. (they mean well sorta but it is hugely bureacratic with red tape) and they cost me over $45,000 for a small piece of cement to be constructed that anywhere else would cost me $15k in total. I was victim of Home invasion robbery and the robbers were caught, had priors yet they were given PROBATION.

Masonic Temple = Douglas County Bank (rumored)

Shopping for retail space and Downtown- Who besides the Gap could afford $3000 per mo. rent plus possibly utilities, paying Insurance and depending on lease yes they get stuck with the HUGE (like triple residential taxes) PROPERTY TAX BILL... well I guess even the big chain stores aren't able to if Abercrombie is out. You can rent a store on MELROSE for almost that much and get triple the traffic!

So you wonder why downtown is crumbling vacant and cannot attract any decent stores- the building owners and Compton who pushed the building values up so high that the city increased the taxes and boom- you have high rent/prop tax combo and no sane business owner would bother coming to open a biz in downtown, they would opt for somewhere more cost effective.

Walmart- they will open on 6th and I give it under a year and they will close the other store and stick w/the new one. Then we will have another giant vacant building noone wants to rent!

and all of those picketing Walmart-- hey they are about to tear down the CROSSING which has been a KU tradition of sorts since the 20's... Hello, why don't you guys care about that now? Prob. cuz it is just as lost of a cause as any thing else that goes on with the planning and developement... what a shame.

Has anyone ever seen downtown Tucumcari, NM? That may well be the future for Lawrence's downtown. (probably without the chickens running wild in the deserted streets).

del888 7 years, 9 months ago

I support the decision. I'm tired of the city wasting my tax $$$ on the law suite. Just get it built.

7 years, 9 months ago

Do you people have no shame? Are you really so greedy and self-centered? You should not live in Lawrence! Go live in Johnson county or other places that are not unique and special because you do not deserve to live in Lawrence. If all you want is cheaper and closer, Johnson county will serve you much better than our fair town. Get out now.

Now, Lawrence has lost a bit more of its unique character by becoming just a little more like Johnson county - and Compton et al can afford bigger, better profits built on the backs of the working poor.

Thanks a lot, spineless City Commission - bending over, eager to please the plunderers of our (formerly unique and special) community. Now we're just like any other profit whores who chant ' Profits at any cost! There is no such thing as the soul of a community! ' They must think this otherwise this would not have come to pass . . .

r4hawks 7 years, 9 months ago

The reason the city budget is in such bad shape today-- with cuts being sought, screws being tightened everywhere, is because of the last spend-thrift commission. (Remember, one of those guys in charge had to declare bankruptcy attempting to manage his own store!! ... This was a leader)??! About the only accomplishments they made was the installation of street impediments. The big bucks wasted on round-abouts is a part of what haunts us today. Then there was the $140,000 lawyer tab when these so-called leaders tried to twist the rules after an agreement had been made to build the new Wal-Mart. Instead of admitting they were wrong and moving on, these guys continued their obstinance, and drove the taxpayer's costs to over $330,000. After the initial agreement, Boogie Boo came up with some new requirements: He wanted the new store to be built closer to Sixth Street. (Why?? ... To make more distraction)?! Another of his new requirements was that the parking lot be built to the rear of the store rather than in front. Do Dillons, HyVee, Ace or any of the rest have their parking behind the store? Anyway, today we are paying for this kind of stupid obstructionism. Time for Boogie Boo to get the boot!!! Thank you Commissioners for listening to the Planners and for bringing additional employment, additional tax revenues, and a great convenience for many citizens of Lawrence.

kcd 7 years, 9 months ago

i find it rather sad that lawrence didn't consider what the people living here want. but if there are so many people against wal-mart, then why don't we avoid it at all cost? no way i'm stepping foot into that new store. i wish i could avoid stepping foot on any of compton's properties, but he already owns half of the freaking city. wal-mart, compton and the commission are not for lawrence, they're out for themselves.

7 years, 9 months ago

Those who would gain convenience at the cost of legal slaves deserve to leave Lawrence. Now. Get out. We don't need greedy, selfish people in our community. Those are NOT the attributes that made Lawrence great. Silly people - roundabouts are such a SMALL percentage of the budget. Boog is the only level-headed, rational member of the commission. I admire his bravery to stand up against the profiteering soul suckers.

Brian Conrad 7 years, 9 months ago

finish the traffic way!!!! to all the wetland folks there is thousands more acres to the east in the bottoms with same soil structure. many landowners would love to sell the "noon soil" to become wetlands. all wetland lovers pool your money ,can have whole waukey bottoms in wetlands and traffic way to boot! farmers all over putting in wildlife habitats and putting money out while tree huggers just blab and moan , never putting money where mouth is. farmers grow corn for alcohol fuel .huggers will not drive an extra mile to buy this fuel. just go to any small town lower oil consumption 10% buy alcohol fuel from casey's and support your state farmers.

jonas 7 years, 9 months ago

Stain: Not just him. Maybe the problem is that we've had, what, five of these in the last four days or so to yammer on. It takes a while for the creative process to allow most of us to come up with new material, as the few facts certainly haven't changed.

Ceallach 7 years, 9 months ago

r4hawks: Thanks for the memory . . . too many people seem to have forgotten how the city got in this mess.

"Then there was the $140,000 lawyer tab when these so-called leaders tried to twist the rules after an agreement had been made to build the new Wal-Mart. Instead of admitting they were wrong and moving on, these guys continued their obstinance, and drove the taxpayer's costs to over $330,000."

This is not child's play . . do overs are frowned on.

"Gloom, despair and agony on me-e! Deep dark depression, excessive misery-y!"

MyName 7 years, 9 months ago

Pilgrim:

to let the people have the ultimate democracy; support the businesses they like by shopping there and helping them thrive, and letting those they don't like wither and die by not shopping there.

I know you may have difficulty understanding this simple idea, but Free Market does not equal Democracy!

You can have a Democratically elected government that has a state controlled (or influenced) economy just as you can have a totalitarian government with a free market. So there is no way in which you can accuse someone who may have doubts about a 100% lasseiz faire economy of being undemocratic.

Moreover, I'd say many of Walmart's business practices are very undemocratic. They have, time and again, moved to thwart the will of the people by sponsoring (buying) politicians favorable to their interests, by taking something that should be decided in a city coucil chamber to court, and by sponsoring ballot initiatives designed to bypass elected representatives. And I'm not even going to talk about their "Democratic" work in China.

Furthermore, what if the the people who opposed this are right and those carpetbaggers from Arkansas are wrong about how much retail this town can support? We'd be left with either a big empty box where Walmart used to be, or a lot of empty storefronts around town where local businesses used to be. Neither option is better than the status quo I can tell you that much. The bottom line is that we took on Walmart for a few years and lost. I don't think it was wrong to give up the fight as it was getting to be too expensive, but at least now Walmart will at least think twice before building another store in this town anytime soon.

Emily Hadley 7 years, 9 months ago

The democracy, ethics, and free market arguments get muddy when you bring in zoning laws, then bring in commissioners and developers who will manipulate the laws to their advantage.

This will not help our city financially. It will in one way hurt us, by taking money from existing Lawrence businesses. There is not a demand for these goods and services. The expected revenues from outside shoppers has been estimated to be less than the local revenue displaced from other businesses. That has been settled, it isn't being argued anymore. Those displaced revenues may hurt us by being exported to Wal-Mart corporate headquarters rather than put back in to the local economy, as they currently are by local businesses and employees.

What good it WILL do has not, to my knowledge, been vocalized by anyone, except those who already shop there and just want a slightly shorter drive. Oh, and the Wal-Mart rep boasting their charity donations.

r4hawks 7 years, 9 months ago

All the other stores, including downtown, would do much better if they would stop complaining, take a page from Wal-Mart's book and HAVE THEIR DOORS OPEN LONGER!!! You can't sell if the doors are locked!! If it is after 5:00, forget downtown. Mass. St. stores should have a skeleton crew, and remain open until 10:00 PM-- The rest, 12:00. Sure, it would make them more susceptible to robbery, but by putting cameras in place, so any thief would know he would be identified, would help to offset that. One of the many reasons Wal-Mart is successful is simply because they are accessible. It should be a lesson for all.

tribalzendancer 7 years, 9 months ago

Karrinessons, can you provide any supporting links, documents or news articles to back up this assertion? This is clear grounds for conflict of interest, where fore she should have recused herself from the decision, if it can be proved well enough.

"Doug Compton, the landowner, used to date a Wal-Mart heir and is godfather to her grandchildren. Sue Hack's husband owns an insurance company and Compton gives Alan Hack the business of insuring his many properties. Compton has threatened Hack about taking his insurance business somewhere else. Hack received $1000 from Wal-Mart in some kind of teacher award."

tribalzendancer 7 years, 9 months ago

People should stop complaining about how much the law suite would have cost Lawrence tax-payers. When you divide the costs equally among everyone, you're really only paying a penny or two to keep a law-breaking corporation from hurting the health of your own town.

Now I've heard of people trying to save a buck, but that's pretty low...

coneflower 7 years, 9 months ago

Liberal:

So you approve of changing the zoning rules when it pleases the property owners, but not changing the zoning rules for any other reason?

Hypocrite!

Retail became overbuilt at that corner. It was originally designed for a certain maximum number of s.f. for the entire corner and it has well exceeded that.

Zoning laws exist for a reason: to manage a city. They do not exist to please property owners. They exist to CONTROL property owners.

And I know you, and you are no Liberal.

coneflower 7 years, 9 months ago

Anonymous user

tribalzendancer (Anonymous) says: Karrinessons, can you provide any supporting links, documents or news articles to back up this assertion? This is clear grounds for conflict of interest, where fore she should have recused herself from the decision, if it can be proved well enough. "Doug Compton, the landowner, used to date a Wal-Mart heir and is godfather to her grandchildren. Sue Hack's husband owns an insurance company and Compton gives Alan Hack the business of insuring his many properties. Compton has threatened Hack about taking his insurance business somewhere else. Hack received $1000 from Wal-Mart in some kind of teacher award."

tribalzendancer, good luck finding any news articles on this. That would mean this Journal-World is doing its job, of investigating and reporting on things that are of concern to the citizens. Instead they are on board with the pro-developer agenda and slant articles and headlines. A real reporter would ferret out this stuff and dish it out to the public, so they would be better informed as citizens and voters. Instead the public only knows things if they are connected to others who know them. Never mind, the truth is strong and somehow it gets out.

Those stores about Sue Hack are well known. Every time you attend a meeting about Wal-Mart or city issues, you'll hear them. They come from people who've lived in this town for decades. I heard the bit about Alan Hack insurance from a man in the insurance business. The bit about Compton threatening Sue was from Sue herself, in the context of explaining some vote she once made. As for the Wal-Mart teacher award, I just Googled for that, and it came up as a Journal-World article. As for Doug Compton's personal relationship with Wal-Mart heirs, there's nothing illegal about that, but it does underline the undisputable fact that Compton does not act with the city's interests at heart - only how he can make more money off the city. If he cared about the city he'd replace the rotting plywood defacing his Masonic Temple on Mass, the most public street in Lawrence. Apparently homeless people were hanging inside the entry way so he felt rotting plywood looked better than that.

Wilbur_Nether 7 years, 9 months ago

You know, it's over. The vote was taken, the decision made...now just live with it.

RiverCityConservative 7 years, 9 months ago

One way to see whether there is really significant opposition to the development of a second Wal-Mart would have been and possibly would still be to organize a boycott of the first Wal-Mart.

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