To the editor:
Doug Brown believes that we have lost millions in taxes because the city refused to give a building permit to Wal-Mart in May of 2003 (Take A Stand, May 26).
First, a second Wal-Mart will not produce more sales tax. Sales tax is based on the population of Lawrence and not the number or size of stores. All a second Wal-Mart will do is take money and sales taxes from existing businesses, and in turn hurt local businesses, creating vacancies and therefore loss of property taxes.
Second, the city correctly refused a building permit, because even though there was a plan in place, it was for a different applicant and a department store was not an allowed land use. The city denied Wal-Mart three times (200,000-, 157,000- and 99,000-square-foot buildings) because a majority of the commissioners felt it was not appropriate to have a store of that type and size at that location. The city did not change in midgame. This is why zoning should never be granted without a preliminary plan attached. Wal-Mart still puts in its annual report to the SEC that it is the No. 1 department store in the world. How can Wal-Mart be the No. 1 department store in the world, but not a department store in Lawrence?
Third, there will be commercial shopping at Sixth and Wakarusa.
Any lost sales tax, lost property taxes and the city's cost to defend lawsuits lay directly at the feet of Wal-Mart.