Advertisement

Archive for Thursday, May 31, 2007

Wal-Mart win-win

May 31, 2007

Advertisement

To the editor:

Apparently, people like Doug Brown (Take A Stand, May 26) just don't get it. This is not about Wal-Mart. But, yes, it is about stigma.

The stigma is we are a town that cares about livability and urban sprawl. We care about our quality of life over convenient shopping. We care about keeping a vibrant downtown full of variety. We care about blighted retail space around town. We care that builders feather their pockets under the guise of public interest. We care about the young drivers at Free State High who drive that intersection every day. We care about attracting "white collar" companies that bring real money.

Yes' we have a stigma; it is called The Courage of Our Convictions.

If Wal-Mart wants to be a good citizen, if the City Commission wants to represent the citizens and not go back to the old perceptions that they are in the pockets of the Chamber of Commerce and builders, find a win-win solution.

Put Wal-Mart in that "empty retail space the mayor says doesn't exist" at Interstate 70 and U.S. Highway 59. It would help develop the north side that needs successful retail, it's convenient for us west-siders who don't want to drive to 31st and Iowa, AND on my way out to Bismarck Gardens to pick up corn, I could stop and get some butter!

Karen Anderson,

Lawrence

Comments

coneflower 7 years, 7 months ago

Oh, yes - and a small satellite library at 6th/Wak. Solve that other problem, and for less than $30 mill.

lunacydetector 7 years, 7 months ago

don't you think walmart would go to north lawrence IF the demographics were good???? last i checked, there were what, 3 grocery stores that went out of business over there, an outdated outlet mall concept (supported by the so-called 'smart growth' mentality) that failed in short order, and of course who can forget it's flood prone (in biblical proportions).

besides that, where would the people park?

dream on, sister.

toughangel41 7 years, 7 months ago

I would love a Wal-Mart in N Lawrence It would be very convenient and it wouldn't have any problems staying open. Unlike the other places that were shut down because of lack of business. N Lawrence needs a grocery store badly I hate driving thru all the traffic on my way home just for a handful of groceries. But your all right though... WE BE DREAMIN!!!

Bubbles 7 years, 7 months ago

Wal Mart next to a railroad track?

Never been done. WM has more class than that.

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 7 months ago

Actually, why not let the free markets decide which businesses go in where and not let the government filet us into what it wants society to be?

Sigmund 7 years, 7 months ago

Yeah, genius. Except of course for the property rights of the landowner and that pesky lawsuit.

phogm 7 years, 7 months ago

Sigmund (Anonymous) says:

Yeah, genius. Except of course for the property rights of the landowner and that pesky lawsuit.

Couple of short comments to Sigmund:

First, "property rights" of any landowner are subject to zoning regulations. There is no "right" to do anything and everything a landowner desires. This is not 1865. Zoning is used to temper property rights for the greater good. That's the way of a civilized society.

Second, the lawsuits (there once were 7; now down to 4) was NOT brought by the City. It was filed by the landowner and proposed tenant. Few people understand that. You, as a citizen of Lawrence, are being sued. The landowner can dismiss the suit and go on to find a tenant that fits the zoning restrictions and which would be in the best interest of our community.

Who is the "genius" here?

peppermint 7 years, 7 months ago

Sigmund and other keep bandying about the phrase "property rights of owners" like it's some sacred thing.

What is "property rights of owners," anyway? Do you think propety owners have some God-given right to do anything they want with their property when it's inside a town? Your rights as an individual are balanced against your obligations as a member of the community that will be affected by whatever you do. It's called living in a community. Your rights stop when they begin to affect other people, and at that point you don't get to do just anything you want.

Sick of hearing this buzzphrase which means nothing to anyone except the people slinging it. Lose it, or be clear enough to say what right you think has been violated. They didn't invent zoning just to bother you, you know. I'm also sick of hearing that the city "changed the rules in the middle of the game." Gwen Klingenberg's editorial yesterday cleared all that up.

Buzzphrases do work in politics, but only to the extent that citizens are uninformed about the facts.

peppermint 7 years, 7 months ago

SettingTheRecordStraight (Anonymous) says: Actually, why not let the free markets decide which businesses go in where and not let the government filet us into what it wants society to be?

They call it zoning. They've been doing it since the dawn of time. Look up the definition.

Also, "the guvmint" is the people, or at least it is supposed to be in a democracy. The people decide what they want society to be. The balancing of individual rights versus the rights of all is a delicate act and it has always been so.

karensisson 7 years, 7 months ago

SettingTheRecordStraight (Anonymous) says: Actually, why not let the free markets decide which businesses go in where and not let the government filet us into what it wants society to be?

This being Kansas, a land where you can see an Adult Superstore in the middle of nowhere right next to a God Hates Fags sign and a Jesus Saves sign, I'm sure that an adult superstore would do well at NW 6th/Wak.

coneflower 7 years, 7 months ago

Tanger doesn't seem all that viable, because of parking.

Build something at 6th/Wak that will keep dollars in Lawrence. Put in a small but really nice movie theater, an Olive Garden, an Outback Steak House, a Buco di Beppo, a seafood restaurant, a Pottery Barn, a Haagen Daaz or an old-fashioned malt shop, and people will slow down with the going to Kansas City. Ergo, more sales tax revenue for Lawrence. Attract some business from the high school and pool with the movies and ice cream, maybe another lunch eaterie kids could walk to. The main traffic from these businesses would be at times not directly competing with the 8, 12, 3 and 5 rush from schools.

There are plenty of things that could be done with that corner that would enhance this town and the neighborhood, keep dollars here, and not destroy the neighborhood or make unbearable traffic. I feel people would come to 6th/Wak for these things. The #6 bus even goes all the way to that corner.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 7 months ago

Large scale retail projects in the town of Blacksburg, Virginia will face a lot more scrutiny because of a new zoning law passed yesterday. On May 14, 2007, Sprawl-Busters reported that the town of Blacksburg was going to vote on land use ordinance 1450, which would limit the size of retail buildings in town to 80,000 s.f. Larger buildings would require a special use permit issued by the town council. Jubilant residents tell Sprawl-Busters today that they have at least succeeded in getting their zoning law passed. "Last night, after a marathon 5-hour public hearing," citizens wrote, "the Blacksburg Town Council passed, by a 7-0 vote, an ordinance that will require a special use permit for any retail over 80,000 square feet. A grassroots effort by Blacksburg United for Responsible Growth (BURG) brought in petitions with over 3,500 signatures. This was more than the total number of votes cast in the last, hotly contested, mayoral election. Speakers at the hearing in favor of the ordinance outnumbered those opposed by a ratio of 8 to 1. Almost all of the opposition to the ordinance came from individuals with a direct stake in a development on South Main Street that includes a Wal-Mart Supercenter. The ordinance gives us the breathing room we need to have the thorough study and public discussion of the best way of regulating big box development. We will be looking at ways to strengthen the protections of the new ordinance.

http://walmartwatch.com/battlemart/archives/blacksburg_va_special_permit_on_big_box_stores_passes_unanimously/

Janet Lowther 7 years, 7 months ago

Yes, a property owner has the right to do what he or she wishes with his property. Neighbors should also have the right to sue his pants off if his use adversely impacts them.

Zoning is a serious infringement on property rights and should be done away with.

Property rights are natural rights, right up there with the Right to Life and Liberty. Jefferson screwed up when he allowed them to substitute the poetic, if vacuous phrase "the pursuit of happiness" for the very concrete term "property" in his enumeration of natural rights in the Declaration of Independence.

staff04 7 years, 7 months ago

jrlii-

We're neighbors. I'm building an open-air human waste depository next door to your house. You sure you want to do away with zoning laws?

justthefacts 7 years, 7 months ago

Property rights of private persons or businesses are not 100% sacred when it comes to government interference. Even back in jolly old England, the king could condemn or control private uses of otherwise private land. And from there, we have gotten our common law. But not our Constitution.

The US Constitution provides that the government may control private conduct using "police power" to promote the "health, welfare, and safety" of the general public. What promotes such goals is, of course, subject to much debate. Back in the day, prohibiting brothels was a law passed under this principle. So the former brothel owners lost their law suits attacking the new prohibition. Any other exercise of government that interferes with the use of private property must be (a) propsectively enforced or (b) paid for - the "taking" of private property by the government must be compensated.

In this specific situation, the property interest that is being asserted by Walmart and its tenants is not simply their intended use of land they own. In this situation they are also asserting a vested property interest in the BUILDING PERMIT that they were originally granted BY THE CITY. Based upon that permit, they proceeded (full speed ahead) with their plans. They spent money (quite a bit of it) in reliance upon that permission.

Then, the city council's membership changed. And the new people yanked that permission (took it back). Not once, but twice (after there appeared to be a settlement - i.e. Walmart agreed to scale back the size of intended building - the city council again changed it's mind).

So, that gets us to where we are today. Private property owners tried to "play by the rules" set by zoning laws/ordinances. And they were told to "go ahead" with plans. THAT is why Walmart is going to win the law suit, if it gets that far.

The time to legally prohibit such buildings at that location was BEFORE private people/businesses undertook the project.

Argue all you want about whether that location (or any other) should be used for this purpose. No one on opposite sides of that debate is going to agree with (or even see) the other side's point of view.

The LEGAL side of things is what is fairly un-comprehended.

  1. The government may control land use by private land owners.

  2. To do so legally, they must impose the rules AHEAD of time. NOT after the fact.

  3. The exception is for things like brothels.

So unless we get the Congress to declare all Walmarts illegal, and US Supreme Court to uphold that prohibition as within the police power of the government - the city of Lawrence simply cannot, after the fact, decide to prohibit a legal business (which followed the zoning laws in effect at the time of the proposed project) from using its land in accordance with already permitted purposes/rules.

Period.

staff04 7 years, 7 months ago

Oh, and I have unlimited means, so sue away...

justthefacts 7 years, 7 months ago

I mispoke (short hand explanations often do). The US Constitution does not speak to "police powers." It is silent on that concept. Thus, while the Constitution requires compensation for takings of private property, the case law on Constitutional law speaks to use of "police powers" by the government.

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 7 months ago

Peppermint and karensisson,

I hear Venezuela is nice this time of year. Maybe a trip to see Hugo Chavez is something the two of you would like to do.

Eileen Emmi Jones 7 years, 7 months ago

justthefacts:

When did the city approve a building permit applied for by Wal-Mart and the current landowner?

peppermint 7 years, 7 months ago

SettingTheRecordStraight (Anonymous) says: I hear Venezuela is nice this time of year. Maybe a trip to see Hugo Chavez is something the two of you would like to do.

Here is the usual, predictable, boring, snore of a response when the speaker is fresh out of facts or rational arguments.

Labeling everyone who disagrees with you as communist just doesn't work as well as it used to. It's a tired old saw.

KsTwister 7 years, 7 months ago

I still say put Wal-Mart in Tanger, the city benefits from travelers through the State on I-70, people in North Lawrence has a store closer than the nothing they have now and Walmart will make more money from the location. Cut them a deal. Mclouth,Oskaloosa,Winchester,Perry,Williamstown,Grant Township and the Tonganoxie citizens can shop on the way home. Put some Jefferson County sales tax in Douglas instead of Shawnee County for a change.

Sigmund 7 years, 7 months ago

Of course what rights the landowners have is at the core of the current "pesky lawsuit." We will see if the Kommission fairly or unfairly denied them those rights. Until then try not to misconstrue my comments to suggest I believe private property right are sacrosanct or unlimited, something I have never suggested.

What any normal person of average intelligence (and not blinded by their own fear and hate) reading my comments would have understood is; "Yeah, genius. Except of course for the legitimate (emphasis added) property rights of the landowner and that pesky lawsuit." When have I ever argued for anything but legitimate property rights of owners? When has anyone??? Get real.

These kind of posts just makes you all look like fanatical fringe group without any substantive arguments of your own so you stoop to mis-characterization of those of your opponents, attempting to make them appear unreasonable. Most people don't find that persuasive, I certainly don't.

stuckinthemiddle 7 years, 7 months ago

I don't care what the law says, I don't like Walmart and I don't like the fact that they are sewing me. I wish the city would fight this to the bitter end and show Walmart and the world that you don't push Lawrence around. Unfortunately, the bought and paid for new commission is going to do what they were paid to do, surrender.

wyn 7 years, 7 months ago

Hello everyone. I wrote the letter. I appreciate all the discourse re. property rights, lawsuits and the course of this entire adventure...Hopefully everyone has read "Mike Mulligan's Steam Shovel" and "The Little House."

I hope my letter will generate some interest in what is best for Lawrence as a whole.

There is a Wal-Mart stockowners meeting forthcoming and stockholders are NOT happy campers. Sales are down and the stock hasn't gone anywhere for months...years.

My impression is that the majority of the community does NOT want any Big Box located at that intersection. It also seems that many people on our side of town would like some major multipurpose store (with cheap merchandise) located on the north side of 23rd street as long as it maintains the Lawrence (not Overland Park) definition of livability.

I believe a community united can be a major force. I would like to see us use our energies to put pressure on Walmart to revisit the location.

The property owners can still make money. Walgreens is going to have to build a bigger store with more parking; it would be a great location for a business park for Payless Shoes; it would be a great location for a KU facility; it would be a great location for a great upscale park with a pond, walkways, picnic areas, etc. etc.

I would like to challenge the Powers That Be in Bentonville to come here and have a community chat. I think the Godfather said, perhaps we can come to an understanding. karen

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 7 months ago

You mistake communism for socialism, peppermint.

lunacydetector 7 years, 7 months ago

i am so tired of living behind this "iron curtain" i call lawrence. i am seriously thinking about leaving this city of mine of over 40+ years.

the kooks are still in control, and all they think about is control. it was our past commission that set it in place after years of planning the overthrow. now, the years and years it will take to remove their hand picked puppets - i just don't have the patience.

i want to move to a progressive town, one that is truly "progressive." this town is dying. it is time to start thinking about jumping ship.

isn't it funny that lawrence prides itself in being so "open" and "liberal" but in reality it is restrictive and confining?

when the chamber of commerce started promoting tax increases, the end of having a wonderful town was in sight.

it is a plague of liberalism. change the word liberalism to fascism, because that is lawrence.

i have never been an advocate of lawsuits, however there is clearly a conspiracy from a select few to bring this town down hard. i think it is time people start suing these weirdos as they try to impede any potential progress.

it's too bad that people are so closed minded that they have to dictate to the rest of us that they want lawrence to be like it was when they moved here 10-15 years ago.

stuckinthemiddle 7 years, 7 months ago

SettingTheRecordStraight FDR was a socialist. Hugo Chavez is something else, I believe. But still, your suggestion that peppermint go to Venezuela is, of course, ridiculous. On the other hand, it might make sense for you to go to Olathe.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 7 months ago

**Just because speculators purchase property does not guarantee that construction will be allowed for it is NOT the duty of the taxpayer or local government to maximize profits for speculators. Speculating=gambling. Land speculators know these things.

**New retail is suppose to create NEW ADDITIONAL revenue and NEW ADDITIONAL employment for a community NOT merely spread current retail dollars to the point where nothing NEW or ADDITIONAL is realized. Certainly it is not to replace existing retail for nothing is gained. Otherwise taxpayers realize TAX INCREASES to cover the cost of additional demand on community services.

** Specific projects should be accompanied with independent Retail Impact Studies,Economic Impact studies,Environmental Impact Studies, Traffic Impact Studies etc etc.

** Taxpayers get stuck with paying for maintenance of all new infrastructure which is why new housing does not cover the cost of community services. Each new home adds to the cost of community services = more taxes for existing property owners. Over built residential drives down the value of homes which is happening as we speak which could increase taxes.

** Overbuilt communities realize Economic Displacement NOT Economic Growth

** Over built retail does not generate revenue enough to cover the cost of community services nor does it generate the level of sales tax projected/necessary. The only industry that makes money is the real estate industry. Over built retail means spaces sit empty not generating revenue or jobs and comes back on the taxpayer. Every community needs each retail space to generate maximum revenue.

**Just because speculators purchase property does not guarantee that construction will be allowed for it is NOT the duty of the taxpayer or local government to maximize profits for speculators. Speculating=gambling. Land speculators know these things.

** Every home,office or retail space that sits empty is a tax burden on property owners. Growth and sprawl are expensive drains on capital budgets and tax dollars.

**Sprawl is inherently harmful to the environment.

** Growth needs to be confined to developed areas already served by public facilities and mass transit in order to keep the cost of community services contained.

** Growth and sprawl consume land and spoil natural landscapes. Green space cost taxpayers nothing!

** Additional development can often cost local governments more money than it generates. Communities will use protection of open spaces as a means to avoid having to extend sewer lines and build new schools and infrastructure thus avoiding tax increases.

** With land conservation generally a whole community benefits because it gives people access to nature. It helps to keep energy costs down, improves the air quality and it can avoid or at least minimize traffic congestion. Vacant land cost existing property owners.

ControlFreak 7 years, 7 months ago

Hey Stuckinthemiddle,

What is Wal-Mart "sewing you" in to? Maybe a blue vest, or possibly a new pair of jeans for some shopper looking for a good deal.

Do you think you'd end up on the price reduction rack?

stuckinthemiddle 7 years, 7 months ago

ControlFreak ~chuckle~ Quite a brain glitch, there, eh?

(hmmm... that would make Walmart a sewer... sounds about right)

phogm 7 years, 7 months ago

justthefacts (Anonymous) says:

"...In this specific situation, the property interest that is being asserted by Walmart and its tenants is not simply their intended use of land they own. In this situation they are also asserting a vested property interest in the building permit that they were originally granted by the city. Based upon that permit, they proceeded (full speed ahead) with their plans. They spent money (quite a bit of it) in reliance upon that permission.

Then, the city council's membership changed. And the new people yanked that permission (took it back). Not once, but twice (after there appeared to be a settlement - i.e. Walmart agreed to scale back the size of intended building - the city council again changed it's mind).

So, that gets us to where we are today. Private property owners tried to "play by the rules" set by zoning laws/ordinances. And they were told to "go ahead" with plans. THAT is why Walmart is going to win the law suit, if it gets that far..."

First, THERE HAS NEVER BEEN ANY BUILDING PERMIT APPROVED AT THIS SITE! A search of the records shows nothing in this regard. Justthe facts is simply wrong. I guess he needs no facts; he can make them up. I would stand corrected if we can be shown the exact date and copy of the document that grants a building permit. I couldn't find it anywhere.

Second, the City Commission DENIED 3 different proposals; one for 200,000 sf, one for 157,000 sf and one for 99,990 sf. It has NEVER been approved by the Commisison. There was nothing to 'yank back". Get real.

Third, it does appear there was a compromise struck by Mike Amyx when he was mayor. He evidently agreed to the 99,990 sf store IF the tenant followed certain well defined guidelines. In October of 2006 they came in with a plan that DID NOT meet the guidelines. Therefore, they lost this third attempt at approval by a 3-2 vote.

Fourth, the city has legal grounds for denial based on its defenses in the SEVEN lawsuits that the landowner and tenant filed against the City. The taxpayers are being sued by them; the city is defending itself in the lawsuit. Don't blame the city for the lawsuits; blame the plaintiffs. They could find another appropriate tenant but refuse to do so.

stuckinthemiddle 7 years, 7 months ago

Maybe Walmart will win such a huge settlement that they will literally own the city. Then they can change the name of to Wallyville and run KU out of town, tear down all those old buildings that are falling apart and build a massive-super-ultra-mega Walmart on top of Mount Oread.

Just think of the jobs and sales tax dollars that would bring in.

Jamesaust 7 years, 7 months ago

God help us from the extremists who hide their agenda of controlling (less intelligent) others under the guise of "convictions." Zoning is not a loophole to single out specific business entities for micromanagement (hence, the zoning laws that apply equally to all similarly situated actors and the development approval that flows from them according to due process, which isn't a vague term but an enforceable legal protection).

Go back to the Soviet Union, sister.

"I'm also sick of hearing that the city "changed the rules in the middle of the game." Gwen Klingenberg's editorial yesterday cleared all that up."

Uh...well, sorry you're sick. Nothing cleared anything up yesterday. Saying the same thing again and again doesn't make it one bit more true. The district court has already found to be a FACT that property rights to carry forward the commercial development did vest with the owner and that the City Commission later tried - unlawfully - to undo the decision. Most (albeit not all - we're still dickering around about the precise size and the design of the parking lot, etc.) of the zoning power to shape this development has PASSED already. Whether the incompetent former Commissioners should or should not have made various decisions is now MOOT. So, take an aspirin and get used to it. Remember, there are consequences to electing the incompetent to office.

George_Braziller 7 years, 7 months ago

"There is nothing convenient about North Lawrence unless you live there"

It's a hell of a lot more convienent for those of us who live in the northeast part of town than trying to get anywhwere west of Iowa or south of 19th

stuckinthemiddle 7 years, 7 months ago

The incompetence of former commissioners took place when they allowed for a school to be built without adjusting the surrounding zoning in order to maintain the safety of students.

This is why, I believe that the city can win this in court, because it is a matter of what is best for the city with regards to the safety of children.

commuter 7 years, 7 months ago

For all of the people who do not want another Wal-mart here in town or would want something else in that area. Why don't you all get togther and pool your money. Then you could try to buy the property from 6 & Wak LLC? I bet you won't becasue you are afraid to risk any of your own money-

Or would you rather just sit back and complain and spend someone else's money defending a lawsuit that the city should lose. In my own personal opnion, if the city loses the lawsuit, the Three KOMMISSIONERS ( Comrades. Comrades, Comrades) should have to pay the city's legal fees!!!!!!! Maybe they will learn.

ControlFreak 7 years, 7 months ago

stuckinthemiddle,

"sewer", I like that. I laughed out loud at that one.

stuckinthemiddle 7 years, 7 months ago

ControlFreak Well, you made me laugh at myself, so I owed you one.

stuckinthemiddle 7 years, 7 months ago

commuter You're blaming the wrong commissioners.

No one in their right mind would say:

"Hey, lets build a big Walmart that will draw thousands of cars right next to our high school."

You need to go back to that commission of the 90s, with all the pro-growth folks to find that amazing lack of vision.

phogm 7 years, 7 months ago

Lunacydetector is tired of the "iron curtain" after living here for 40+ years. The statement is made that the "kooks" are still in control, they should be sued, that Lawrence is not really "liberal", blame is placed on the the Chamber for proposing tax increases and people want the town to be like it was 10-15 years ago.

Lunacydetector needs to decide which side of the fence is the right side!

Reference to the "kooks" being in control must be a slam against the formerly "progressive" City Commission. Well, these so-called "kooks" are now out of office. How are they still in control?

What in the world would be grounds for a lawsuit against a so-called conspiracy? Who is part of the conspiricy? Is it unlawful to want some reasonable limits on growth by not wanting the fox to guard the chicken coop?

How is Lawrence restrictive? The development machine has been hard at work for many years. The only thing that has kept it from entirely becomming an Overland Park, Lexexa, Leawood, you name it suburb type place is the so-caled "kooks".

The Chamber is part of the heart and soul of the development machine; they are not made up of these "kooks". Don't blame the "kooks" for the actions of the Chamber. They are on the other side!

Sure many want Lawrence to retain some semblance of charm, dignity and not become yet another cookie-cutter place. Are all of these people "kooks"?

If Lunacydetector wants to live in somewhere like those places mentioned above, then go ahead and move tomorrow. Nobody is holding Lunacydetector in Lawrence.

stuckinthemiddle 7 years, 7 months ago

gl0ck0wnr Would you support the same logic the next time neighbors complain about a proposed homeless shelter? Will you suggest to them that if they don't want the shelter next door that they should all get together and buy the property?

conservative 7 years, 7 months ago

I love how some of the people who complain that 6th and Wak can't handle the traffic (even though it was designed to do exactly that), are the same ones who think it should located at the old Tanger mall. Not like the intersections to the 6th street bridges aren't already overtaxed.

stuckinthemiddle 7 years, 7 months ago

conservative What about the high school? Do you think it's a good idea to have that much traffic that close to a school?

ControlFreak 7 years, 7 months ago

stuckinthemiddle,

I'm so tired of hearing about Wal-Mart, I'll either laugh or cry. I'd prefer people started laughing and stopped all the crying.

Surely people can see how ridiculous this entire discussion is. No matter how much we argue about it, what is done is done.

commuter 7 years, 7 months ago

"stuckinthemiddle (Anonymous) says:

gl0ck0wnr Would you support the same logic the next time neighbors complain about a proposed homeless shelter? Will you suggest to them that if they don't want the shelter next door that they should all get together and buy the property?"

Yes, I would. I would also tell them to build it next to merrill's house since he wants a socialists Lawrence.

stuckinthemiddle 7 years, 7 months ago

ControlFreak I agree, to a certain extent. I'm tired of it as well, but the issue is still in limbo. If the current commisioners are going to give Walmart what they want they need to come out and say that. I personally don't care for Walmart but I understand that most people like to shop there. And I don't even care about their crappy wages or any other business practices. Walmart is actually pretty typical as far as those things go. The only issue I have had with this all along has been the high school. It was a stupid mistake by past Commissions not to take care of the zoning before the school was built. The world won't come to an end if the Walmart goes in at 6th and Wak but we will have created a less safe area around our school.

stuckinthemiddle 7 years, 7 months ago

commuter How about an adult book store or a strip joint?

commuter 7 years, 7 months ago

Yes- But for me the worse of all would be another Merc. I shopped there once I am really got tired of a male employee looking at my butt.!!!!!!!

commuter 7 years, 7 months ago

I would rather have a Whole Foods instead of the Merc.

Merrill- since reatil is over built- I suggest we close the Me5rc, a Dillons, and a few speciality shops. If you don't agree, please let me know what stores are on chopping block?

stuckinthemiddle 7 years, 7 months ago

Thank you for your answer, gl0ck0wnr. I don't think it's a very realistic way to stop unwanted activities close to your property, but I appreciate your consistency on the logic.

stuckinthemiddle 7 years, 7 months ago

So, does anyone else have a concern about increased traffic that close to the high school.

If someone can convince me that there shouldn't be any concern for the traffic, I'll jump onto the other side and even be at the groundbreaking, shovel in hand.

conservative 7 years, 7 months ago

stuckinthemiddle,

No frankly it doesn't bother me to have that much traffic next to the high school. I grew up in KC and it is not unusual at all to have high schools in high traffic areas. Think of Shawnee Mission West on 75th and ??? (big intersection) Heavy traffic at all times of the day. Many others also are in high traffic areas.

Tanger is a loser of an option. Not that much business from I70, and the towns up north can get to 6th and Wak just as easily. So we're back to the traffic bottleneck of the 6th street bridge for the rest of Lawrence. No way Wally would ever seriously consider that location.

peppermint 7 years, 7 months ago

conservative: There's an elementary school just down the road, that will be affected by all that Mercato retail too. And kids of all ages frequent the pool at Free State High. Just because unsafe traffic exists elsewhere doesn't mean we should create it deliberately, here. I'm going to take a wild guess that none of your kids attend Langston-Hughes or Free State High. Mine do, and I'm concerned.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 7 months ago

The so called experts that brought us Tanger Mall and Riverfront Plaza were members of the real estate industry who became elected CC members and appointed Planning Commission members. They are not urban planning experts. Now this same group are back in the majority on both commissions.

KsTwister 7 years, 7 months ago

Jamesaust is most certainly the one who is right at this point. Just like the roundabouts, taxpayers usually are aware as soon as the first footing gets poured---which is too late. So the best I wish for is a swap for the location which offers more to both sides of a problem----like Tanger.

commuter 7 years, 7 months ago

kstwister-

Since you would like the Wal-Mart to go into Tanger space, what are you going to give to Wal-mart to facilitate this move? They probally have spent a lot of money trying to a suitable location and they wanted top locate at 6th & Wakarusa. Go ahead a give them a reason to change their desired location.

KsTwister 7 years, 7 months ago

Money. More sales better location for THEM (.....and we don't have the kiddies running over each other trying to get to the store).

karensisson 7 years, 7 months ago

KSTwister - good idea but there is an elephant in this room that isn't being acknowledged: the landowner. Unfortunately the landowner seems to have a greater interest than Wal-Mart in this project, and he's the main plaintiff. He wants Wal-Mart to lease his land, not some other land.

You'd hope the city would do what's best for the city, but expect them to do what's best for this landowner instead, the citizens be damned!

karensisson 7 years, 7 months ago

stuckinthemiddle (Anonymous) says: So, does anyone else have a concern about increased traffic that close to the high school.

Yes, yes, and yes. It's insanity to put schools and that much traffic-generating commercial activity in close proximity. The poster was right who faulted the city for failing to rezone that corner when the two schools were added nearby. I wonder why this was not done; a favor for the landowners, perhaps? It was an incompetent omission, no matter which commission did it (and I don't know that bit of history). Does anyone know why this wasn't done?

karensisson 7 years, 7 months ago

commuter: How about we just say no to Wal-Mart at the 6th/Wak? There's their incentive. We the city don't owe Wal-Mart anything. They certainly don't feel they owe the city anything. They're happy to waste our tax dollars by filing lawsuits and they're also happy to bully their way in where many don't want them.

KsTwister 7 years, 7 months ago

Ok, good point Karen, so how about the city trade land parcels with the landowner? They trade for a portion out by the airport/i-I-70 they already own and have zoned for development. The landowner still gets the money from the development and Wal-mart still gets more revenue from the access of more people to their store. City becomes owner of green space on 6th&Wak and everyones happy again????? Like that can happen.

ModerateOne 7 years, 7 months ago

Phogm says: "First, there has never been any building permit approved at this site! a search of the records shows nothing in this regard. Justthe facts is simply wrong. I guess he needs no facts; he can make them up. "

Phogm's words, if taken literally, are wrong. However, Phogm's sentiment may be correct depending upon your perspective. The facts are these: Victor Torrez, who is the designated authority under city code to approve building permits, approved the issuance of the original Wal-Mart building permit. The depositions and documents quite literally say so.

Dave Corliss (probably at the urging of the city commission) then stopped the building permit before the property owner picked it up at city hall.

So the real facts are that the building permit was "approved" by the designated city authority. But the property owner never received the building permit.

The chief argument in one of the lawsuits (as I understand it) is that the property owner had an absolute right to receive the building permit once Mr. Torrez approved it.

coneflower 7 years, 7 months ago

ModerateOne: Who had the ultimate authority? Surely there was a clear chain of command. How could such a thing be in dispute? Was Corliss required to sign off?

ModerateOne 7 years, 7 months ago

Actually, probably not correct above to say that it was the "original" Wal-Mart building permit. Sorry.

karensisson 7 years, 7 months ago

KSTwister: Good ideas, and you'd have to float them past Liberal/Pilgrim and ilovelucy to guage whether they have a chance.

Jamesaust 7 years, 7 months ago

"This is why, I believe that the city can win this in court, because it is a matter of what is best for the city with regards to the safety of children."

That's just not an issue on the table for the court. The court's decision is quite narrow. The big question of whether a Wal-Mart may develop on the spot is decided, and has been for some time. Its a basic due process right that W-M has claimed, and won so far; the City Commission is jerking them around for political reasons when the heat from their poor job performance got too hot. (The City forwent any objection for "children's safety" at the time of development approval.) The question at hand is how much of the detail remains "unvested" to the property owner, subject to City zoning power versus already approved.

I believe there are only three issues of contention left to the City: (1) layout of the project - the City wants the W-M to be located much closer to 6th St. with parking behind or beside, (2) general aesthetic issues, and (3) maximum square footage. At least on (1) and (2), I'm with the City; those are proper concerns and nothing in the earlier development approval stays the City's hand from demanding compliance. I'm unsure about (3). W-M has rather nakedly (and petulantly) demanded the maximum sizing they've ever considered, taking back earlier concessions. Frankly, the parties should just compromise on it and move on. (And the City should get a professional zoning code implemented pronto!)

Besides, a school next to a busy road is NOT "unsafe" - it is less safe than not next to busy road. What's more, if it were so unsafe then why is the school located next to a major street and state highway to begin with? This has always been more of an excuse than a policy objection as virtually every school in Lawrence is on a busy street.

ModerateOne 7 years, 7 months ago

"Who had the ultimate authority?" Mr. Torrez.

"Surely there was a clear chain of command." Under city code, yes. One basis for the lawsuits is that the city's practices may not have conformed to its code.

"Was Corliss required to sign off?" No.

karensisson 7 years, 7 months ago

Jamesaust said... "What's more, if it were so unsafe then why is the school located next to a major street and state highway to begin with?"

Big mistake on the part of the city in my opinion. At least they should have had the vision to zone it better. Somehow that corner got out of control and now it's becoing dangerous.

No need to make a bad mistake even worse.

karensisson 7 years, 7 months ago

Jamesaust you said (The City forwent any objection for "children's safety" at the time of development approval.)

More incompetence. But to be fair, traffic is mch worse now than when this all started. More development has occurred and still more has been approved.

It's a pity that the city comm. has to be reminded about traffic safety from pleading parents and neighbors. Why do we have to beg for our children's safety?

coneflower 7 years, 7 months ago

Jamesaust said: "What's more, if it were so unsafe then why is the school located next to a major street and state highway to begin with?"

Really poor planning. The way the high schools are arranged in this town is awful. In any other town, each high school is in the center of a somewhat squarish zone of town, so no student has to travel too far to go to school. Not in Lawrence! Here, there kids who have to go 6 or 7 miles to their high school when there is another high school only a mile away. School buses don't help when kids have 0 hour classes or extracurricular activities. At least there is the city bus, for which I'm grateful.

Now both high schools have terrible traffic, or soon will have. There's not much to be done about LHS which was already there, but do we have to make a dangerous situation for Free State High and Langston-Hughes, too?

coneflower 7 years, 7 months ago

And it appears that Gresham, Oregon has more heart and soul and brains than Lawrence, Kansas.

Put the burden of proof regarding traffic safety on the developer.

http://www.theoutlookonline.com/news/story.php?story_id=118064996433235800

peppermint 7 years, 7 months ago

commuter (Anonymous) says: For all of the people who do not want another Wal-mart here in town or would want something else in that area. Why don't you all get togther and pool your money. Then you could try to buy the property from 6 & Wak LLC?

I doubt it could be bought. The reason is that Doug Compton wants to LEASE it to Wal-Mart, not sell it. Then there's the personal relationship between Compton and the Wal-mart clan.

Anyway, can you imagine how hard it would be to jointly own property with dozens of people who may agree that a high-traffic store is inappropriate but who probably agree on little else?

George_Braziller 7 years, 7 months ago

"commuter (Anonymous) says:

Yes- But for me the worse of all would be another Merc. I shopped there once I am really got tired of a male employee looking at my butt.!!!!!!!"

Oh please, this has to be the most lame, sad and pathetic comments that I have ever read in response to anything in response to nothing.

peppermint 7 years, 7 months ago

George Whaddaya think? A size 24, or sat in bird poop?

Just kidding of course, I'm certain it was sincere lust and you are hot, commuter!

peppermint 7 years, 7 months ago

someone above said "This being Kansas, a land where you can see an Adult Superstore in the middle of nowhere right next to a God Hates Fags sign and a Jesus Saves sign, I'm sure that an adult superstore would do well at NW 6th/Wak."

Make that a Christian Adult Superstore and sell Bibles and posters, too. If you build it, they will come. But there's that high-traffic problem again...

RKLOG 7 years, 7 months ago

It's funny how the most common response to something that people find offensive in this forum is to tell the offender to leave the country and live in Russia, or Korea, etc. This is a college town, be a little more creative in your responses. Or maybe try listening and curbing the knee jerk.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 7 months ago

Meanwhile: What is the Myth of Development? Many hold a false belief that all development is good.

Examination of the facts shows this to be incorrect.

  1. No net gain in employment

While it is true that the company would have hired many employees, there would be no net gain in employment in the community. The total number of jobs in the retail sector is a function of the total spending in the retail sector. Adding new stores does not mean new spending. New stores do not add new people or new income. The new stores only displace workers from one store to another. We saw this when the Wal-Mart on south Iowa expanded; it caused the closure of the Food-4-Less. The gain in jobs at Wal-Mart was canceled by the loss of jobs at Food-4-Less.

  1. No net gain in income and possibly a loss

If retail workers will not see any increase in their numbers, will they at least see a gain in their wages? With Wal-Mart, the answer is "No". Kroger will probably close the Dillon's store at 6th and Wakarusa if a Wal-Mart opens at the intersection. The Dillon's workers will lose their wages and benefits. Wal-Mart is notorious for paying low wages and offering few or no benefits to its workers. Thus, there is certainly no gain in wages, and probably, there will be a loss. More workers will be without a health plan, leaving the community vulnerable to greater unpaid usage of the City's hospital facilities.

  1. No new sales taxes

Sales taxes from retail sales are paid by the consumer, not the vendor. Adding more stores does not increase the population or its income. It only changes the location where the sales tax is paid. Thus, adding a new Wal-Mart will not provide any increase in sales tax revenues for the community. It will only take it away from other stores and send it through Wal-Mart, with no net gain to the community.

  1. Short-term gain in property taxes with a long-term loss

There will be a short-term gain in property taxes. A new Wal-Mart store will pay property taxes. This is an immediate gain to the City. However, because the retail maket in Lawrence is saturated with a surplus of stores, opening a new Wal-Mart will only cause other stores to close. As these stores close, they are still subject to property taxes, even if they are empty. But chronically empty stores create blight that is expensive to fix through redevelopment. This redevelopment generally comes with high public expenditure. A short-term gain with a new store will be lost through the high, long-term cost of blight elsewhere in our community.

It is a myth to believe that all development is good. There is little doubt that growth is good, but excessive growth is cancer. Lawerence, like any growing community, needs to be smart. It needs to distinguish between well planned beneficial growth and growth that does not serve the long-term interests of the community.

commuter 7 years, 7 months ago

Merrill:

Since when do we live in Balcksburg or any other place than Lawrence?

The issue really is did Wal-mart receive the approval to build? From where I see it, yes!!

Then Boog, Schauner and Rundle didn't want them to and change th rules!!

As for the school being close to a busy street- move the school. The school board should have known the area was going to be developed, if not they should have TALKED to city staff. They have known for years based on projections.

As for building something else there- I think the landowner already has a lease with Wal-mart. If you want something else there buy the land and try to entice those companies to come to Lawrence. So far our headline about bringing in business or expanding businesses doesn't look good. Example Wal-Mart distribution center, American eagle and Second Wal-Mart. We may look better with the the amigos out of power.

conservative 7 years, 7 months ago

Peppermint,

Sorry, but you're wrong (as usual). My kids will be attending Free State High School in a few years, and go to the pool there quite often now. The traffic is still not a concern.

The point I was making about other high schools (I can point out many elementary schools too) in high traffic areas is that there is not a problem with it. These schools do not have high accident rates like you seem to be implying will happen if we allow this development.

peppermint 7 years, 7 months ago

conservative: Other parents have expressed to me that they are nervous even with current traffic volume, about their kids crossing a highway (Sixth) - four lanes plus turn lanes - where speeds are higher than on residential streets. And when they finish Bauer Farms, Mercato, and the NW corner, traffic is going to get much, much worse.

There is the additional issue of traffic cutting through the residential streets - Congressional and George Williams and Harvard. When 6th/Wak gets congested, that's what happens. People who live in that neighborhood don't like it at all.

People are just trying to protect their neighborhoods and their kids.

We keep hearing about "property rights." We homeowners believe we have property rights, too.

wyn 7 years, 7 months ago

The Letter Author. I was not going to add another comment, but ...

Merrill....thank you so much for the input on the Oregon town.

And one aside....I think everyone agrees the bridges over the river need repair and expansion anyway.

I would like to see some discussion about citizens' ability to influence what happens in Lawrence, Nothing is written in stone except death...not even taxes sometimes. It doesn't matter legally where anything stands. Contracts can be torn up; handshakes can still mean something; apathy can destroy anything; the system doesn't ALWAYS have to win.

Mr. Thompson, how do we get Wal-Mart to literally come to the table? Mr. Compton, explain to us why you see this as a good thing for Lawrence...other than making you money? Mayor Hack, why have you changed your tune now that the Commission has changed?

I haven't read one comment that says, "Yeah, I really want a Wal-Mart at that intersection; I can hardly wait!"

I actually sat next to a Wal-Mart exec on a plane once who told me that he had had more than one conversation with their Real Estate Division about their need to consider changing how they do things. As I said, Wal-Mart has cracks in the foundation; perhaps we should insert a wedge.

Comments?

conservative 7 years, 7 months ago

Peppermint,

Yep, as a homeowner you do have property rights. However you also have a responsibility to do your research before you buy. The zoning for 6th and Wak has included retail development for many many years, and 6th street has always been busy. Buying a home in a location where you know there will be retail and traffic growth, and then complaining when that growth becomes a reality is ridiculous.

peppermint 7 years, 7 months ago

conservative: Zoning is a dynamic thing, as you well know. Moreover, the interpretation of the zoning is not something that can be anticipated fully. New development keeps getting approved. And neighborhoods keep growing. George William Way didn't even exist when I bought my home, now it can be used to cut through my neighborhood by drivers wanting to avoid 6th/Wak. It's the city's responsibility to manage growth so it doesn't ruin life for residents. It's the city's responsibility to manage traffic. It's my right as a citizen and homeowner to expect them to fulfill these responsibilities as the town grows. I do what I can as a citizen, but ultimately the city has the power, hence the responsibility.

News_to_me 7 years, 7 months ago

Retail planning experts-a new oxymoron. None of these experts are experts because they come from out of town, hang around a coupla' weeks and then make ridiculous recommendations. Case in point-PlaceMakers recommending that a new library be built in the park (I think it's Constant Park) north of 6th and east of the 500 block of Tennessee. Absolutely incredible that they would suggest that with one qualifier-only the basement would flood. Just move the Walmart out to the intersection of 24-40 and the SLT. Problem solved. You get your second Walmart and the traffic can be better managed.

peppermint 7 years, 7 months ago

The discussion of what ideally would be approved at that corner is in reference to all the claims that a Wal-Mart would solve our city's tax revenue problems. Some posters think different businesses would be more likely to increase sales tax revenue.

Everybody knows the landowner has more right than we do to decide what goes there. Duh.

That doesn't mean we can't express our opinions about what we think would make our city nicer.

The so-called "experts" are foolish to ignore the wishes of the people who might shop at that corner. If they listen, they might end up making more money than ever. I wouldn't shop at a Wal-Mart, but I sure would shop at some of the other stores and eat at some of the restaurants mentioned in this forum. To have those in walking distance would be wonderful.

But only if the developers start to treat the citizens better than they do now. The pro-development posters in here - some of whom are the interested parties themselves - have been so rude and so filled with disdain and name-calling for all who want to participate in this discussion, that when all is done, I doubt I'll feel like patronizing anything they build. I do look at the names attached to businesses, and I do vote with my wallet.

P.S. 90% of the name-calling and dismissing out of hand of opponents with a smear, comes from the pro-development side. They do not seem to be good people.

blackwalnut 7 years, 7 months ago

gl0ck0wner said, How stupid do you think these people are? They do this for a living. If Compton thought he'd make more money from a Pottery Barn, he'd probably put up TWO Pottery Barns there.

Well, exactly. Compton rightly wants to do what makes Compton, the landowner, the most money. That isn't necessarily the thing that would make the city or the business owners the most money. A collection of stores may well generate more sales revenue than a Wal-Mart, but if Wal-Mart's leasing the land nets Compton more income than selling/leasing the land to other businesses, the sales revenue is irrelevant to Compton because sales revenue is not where Compton will make his $$$. He will make his dollar only by selling or leasing his land.

The city needs to consider what will make the city money. That isn't Compton's job. His short-term self-interest is not the city's interest.

As eager as he is to send dollars to China and Bentonville, he doesn't seem to be a person with the vision to understand that the long-term health of the city is important to his future bottom line, if he wishes to continue to make money here. Don't look for Compton to consider what's best for the city.

So the city needs to look out for itself. We, the citizens, have part of that responsibility.

anyport 7 years, 7 months ago

"Build something at 6th/Wak that will keep dollars in Lawrence. Put in a small but really nice movie theater, an Olive Garden, an Outback Steak House, a Buco di Beppo, a seafood restaurant, a Pottery Barn, a Haagen Daaz or an old-fashioned malt shop, and people will slow down with the going to Kansas City."

Wow, if you want a development which IS in direct competition with downtown Lawrence, you've listed the exact type of boutique shops and restaurants that can do it. That's in contrast to Wally World which doesn't go after the same retail dollars.

Now a branch library in that area makes great sense. Think of all the gasoline that won't need to be consumed if we don't force everyone to go downtown to check out a book.

blackwalnut 7 years, 7 months ago

anyport:

People are doing some shopping in Kansas City. Adding a Wal-mart would not improve that situation one bit. The city should try to keep more dollars here in Lawrence. Yes, it would compete somewhat with downtown. And those that you mentioned are chain restaurants that I don't prefer. But if we're talking about keeping people from spending so much money in Kansas City, those are the kind of stores that would do it. (An upscale department store would do it too, but that is disallowed at that corner.) It would increase overall sales tax revenue - a net increase - much more than a cannabilizing Wal-Mart would. Just my opinion.

blackwalnut 7 years, 7 months ago

wyn (the letter writer) said: "I actually sat next to a Wal-Mart exec on a plane once who told me that he had had more than one conversation with their Real Estate Division about their need to consider changing how they do things. As I said, Wal-Mart has cracks in the foundation; perhaps we should insert a wedge. Comments?"

I'm optimistic, and think Wal-Mart could change its ways and be a force for good. The current generation of Waltons is afflicted with unmitigated greed. It all went ballistic when the old man died. Sam Walton wasn't that way, he understood the well-being of his customers was important. This generation of Waltons lost that vision. Perhaps as the sales continue to go downhill and more people become educated, someone at Wal-Mart will wake up. Wal-Mart has had quite a few disappointments lately, quite a few failures. Most alarming to them should be that their customer base has lost buying power, which is why they now support an increase in minimum wage and are trying to launch a 'gracy' model of store to compete with higher-end Target.

Wal-Mart's greed may have killed off something they needed in order to continue to grow.

karensisson 7 years, 7 months ago

I lived in a town with an old-fashioned drug store malt shop, that had been there for a hundred years. Grilled cheese sandwiches on white bread, a soda jerk, the whole experience. The soda counter did a great business. So much fun, and mmmmmmmm!

justthefacts 7 years, 7 months ago

I had to work, so could not stay on line all day responding.

I stand corrected (see - I can admit to being wrong). Don't know where I got the idea that a building permit was ever granted. It was a zoning change that was granted - SEE below:

http://www.lawrenceks.org/web_based_agendas_2006/10-24-06/10-24-06h/pl_z-06-16a-06_z-06-16b-06_pdp_06-06-06_pc_minutes.html has minutes from the 2006 meeting where the city approved re-zoning the property (subject to a few minor things that needed to be done by staff):

The Commission then voted on the original motion:

Motion by Commissioner Finkeldei, seconded by Commissioner Lawson, to recommend approval of rezoning of 2.21 acres from PRD-2 to PCD-2 and forward it to the City Commission with a recommendation for approval based on the findings of fact outlined in the staff report and subject to conditions 1-4, 6 and 7 noted above.

Motion carried 6-4, with Commissioners Eichhorn, Finkeldei, Harkins, Jennings, Krebs, and Lawson in favor. Commissioners Burress, Erickson, Haase, and Harris voted in opposition.


http://www.lawrenceks.org/EServFiles/revised_07202004_minutes.html June 2004 minutes: Ordinance No. 7803, establishing a temporary building permit moratorium during the preparation of the 6th Street Area Plan, was read a second time. As part of the consent agenda, it was moved by Hack, seconded by Schauner, to adopt the ordinance. Aye: Dunfield, Hack, Highberger, Rundle, and Schauner. Nay: None. Motion carried unanimously.


http://www.sprawl-busters.com/search.php?readstory=1721 Wal-Mart contends it is a "variety store" and thus met the city's zoning code, while city officials say the retailer is a "department store" and did not fit into the zoning. According to the Lawrence, Kansas Journal-World, Wal-Mart's legal appeal has heated up the Douglas County district courtroom. Wal-Mart attorneys argued that the city commissioners ignored expert opinions from their own staff when they turned down the retailer's plans to build a superstore on the northwest side of the city. Wal-Mart is seeking to overturn a city decision in 2003 that denied Wal-Mart a building permit.


justthefacts 7 years, 7 months ago

And here is a copy of the actual petition - read what it alleges happened:

http://www.ljworld.com/specials/walmart/Verified_Petition.html

On October 23, 2001, the City Commission approved the Wakarusa Place Preliminary Development Plan, PDP-08-07-01, and approved the rezoning of various lots within Wakarusa Place for residential and commercial development, including the rezoning of Block 3 from Agricultural to PCD-2, which contemplates a restaurant use. The City Commission's approval is reflected in an October 26, 2001 letter, attached hereto as Exhibit "A", and incorporated herein by reference. Also attached and incorporated herein by reference as part of Exhibit "A" is the Wakarusa Place Preliminary Development Plan.

On December 19, 2001, the Planning Commission approved the Wakarusa Place Final Development Plan, FDP-11-14-01, and Final Plat for Wakarusa Place Addition, PF-11-39-01, as reflected in a December 21, 2001 letter from the City, attached as Exhibit "B" and incorporated herein by reference. Also attached and incorporated herein by reference as part of Exhibit "B" is the Final Development Plan.

The conditions set forth by the City in connection with the approval of the Final Development Plan, as reflected in Exhibit "B", have been completed and/or satisfied.

On or about January 2, 2002, the City Commission approved the Final Plat for Wakarusa Place.

On February 26, 2002, the City passed and approved Ordinance No. 7491, and published the same on March 8, 2002, a copy of which is attached hereto as Exhibit "C" and incorporated herein by reference. Ordinance No. 7491 enacted the rezoning previously recommended for approval by the City of certain lots within Wakarusa Place from Agricultural District to Planned Commercial Development.

On April 1, 2002, the approved Final Plat of Wakarusa Place Addition, which had previously been approved by the City, was recorded in the Douglas County Recorder's Office at Plat Book P-17, Page 409. A copy of the recorded Final Plat is attached hereto as Exhibit "D" and incorporated herein by reference.

Ordinance No. 7491 and the Wakarusa Place Final Development Plan allowed for the construction of a restaurant within Wakarusa Place.


justthefacts 7 years, 7 months ago

Last post:

THUS - the city did approve a lot .... AND THEN it yanked the OK's once the "correct" city council members were elected.

Same principles - concerning vested rights - apply.

Government 101. The government can regulate land use, prospectively. It cannot, however, (without (a) completely outlawing a particular type of use - e.g. brothels) or (b) Paying for the land) change the rules after the fact. For example, if chicken farms are legal (they still are, aren't they?) and one has existed for 50 years, it's darn near impossible to make one shut down simply because the city residents have gradually decided to build their new $250,000 homes near by. The chicken farm was there first. BUT if a chicken farm wants to go into a well established residential area, it can be prevented (if the zoning laws are already in place). Get it now?

phogm 7 years, 7 months ago

justthefacts (Anonymous) says:

I had to work, so could not stay on line all day responding.

I stand corrected (see - I can admit to being wrong). Don't know where I got the idea that a building permit was ever granted. It was a zoning change that was granted - SEE below:

http://www.lawrenceks.org/web_based_agen: has minutes from the 2006 meeting where the city approved re-zoning the property (subject to a few minor things that needed to be done by staff):

The Commission then voted on the original motion:

Motion by Commissioner Finkeldei, seconded by Commissioner Lawson, to recommend approval of rezoning of 2.21 acres from PRD-2 to PCD-2 and forward it to the City Commission with a recommendation for approval based on the findings of fact outlined in the staff report and subject to conditions 1-4, 6 and 7 noted above.

Motion carried 6-4, with Commissioners Eichhorn, Finkeldei, Harkins, Jennings, Krebs, and Lawson in favor. Commissioners Burress, Erickson, Haase, and Harris voted in opposition.

I'm glad to see you admit you were wrong on the building permit issue.

However, this claim that the zoning change was granted is also wrong. Yes, the Planning Commission did approve the zoning change, BUT the City Commission overrode that with a 4-1 supermajority vote. Therefore, there was no ultimate approval by the City and the propsed zoning change by the Planning Commission was only advisory. It held no weight of law. The City Commission had the final say and rejected the proposal. Therefore, no "rules" were ever changed and the City never gave ultimate approval to the project.

WWoftheW 7 years, 7 months ago

Justthefacts; Just which Planning Commission do you think was in session in 2003 when the PC approved Wal-Mart but the city overrode it with a 4-1 vote against. Check you facts. Eichhorn, Finkeldei, Harkins, Jennings, KrebsIf were not on the PC. If you mean the 2003 PC in which the court case is set on. If you mean last August's PC meeting, it was a 5-5 tie and since the vote was in support of the plan it was denied. The zoning maybe approved, but Wal-Mart was denied by both the PC and the CC in 2006.

phogm 7 years, 7 months ago

"justthefacts (Anonymous) says:

And here is a copy of the actual petition - read what it alleges happened:

http://www.ljworld.com/specials/walmart/:

All of this was for a plan that WAS NOT Wal-Mart. It was before Wal-Mart was ever in the picture. So, then Wal-Mart came in with their plan and it has been going on ever since. Their plans have been denied 3 times. Again, no "rules" were changed.

By the way, each plan has been exactly identical but for the size. They were prohibited from bringing back a second plan within 12 mouths unless there was "substantial changes". There were no such changes but brought it back again before a year had passed. That shouldn't have been allowed. It didn't ultimately matter as the second plan was also denied, but is instructive of how the so-called "rules" have been ignored by Wal-Mart.

By the way, as to Wal-Mart's blueprints of each plan, all the pages state that the subject project is a "department store". Meanwhile, Wal-Mart has claimed in court they are not a "department store". The zoning prohibited a "department store", Wal-Mart's own proposal to the City states they are a department store, yet they still are arguing in court they are not such. Once, again, who is following the "rules"?

WWoftheW 7 years, 7 months ago

Justthefacts; In 2003 there was a plan for a 132,000 sq ft building and no department store. Wal-Mart denied twice. In 2006 Wal-Mart did not comply with the design standards that they agreed to in writing and were denied by both the PC and CC. Never has there been a time when Wal-Mart has had the right to pull a building permit except for an 80,000 sq ft building and only if they walk away from the court case and declare that the cities present zoning is the nodal plan of 126,000 sq ft total with the largest building be 80,000 sq ft.is in place and that they were wrong to try to pull a building permit back in 2003.

WWoftheW 7 years, 7 months ago

Justthefacts; Thanks for the link to sprawlbusters; If you read it all, the findings you state are inaccurate.

justthefacts 7 years, 7 months ago

Of course I can admit to being in error. No one can be right all the time, correct? Why is that so hard for some people to admit?

Unlike some posters on this topic (and many others) I do not have a firm opinion one way or the other. However, I am trying to decide where I stand on this issue. And in order to do that, I like/need to get as many FACTS as I can (and thus the name) BEFORE I form an opinion. NOT - as do so many - only look for, find, or recognize facts that support my already taken positions.

So I go looking for information, for myself and others to consider. But getting enough information to make informed decisions is very hard to do when so many people mistake or confuse personal opinions for facts. It would really be nice - and helpful - if more people would or could differentiate between the two!

Meanwhile, the information on the LEGALITIES of Governments regulating land use still stand uncorrected. The general rule is that the government CAN regulate land use, but only if it is done prospectively. Changing the rules concerning a specific type of land use mid-stream will almost always mean the government will lose the case (if one is brought in court). Anyone have proof that statement is not true?

justthefacts 7 years, 7 months ago

WWoftheW (Anonymous) says:

"Never has there been a time when Wal-Mart has had the right to pull a building permit except for an 80,000 sq ft building."

(Wish I could put the words starting with "except" in bold or italics).

So, based upon the last clause in this sentence, I am (again) confused about the FACTS.

Did these property developers, at any time, ask for and get granted (by all the necessary city authorities) a building permit for any building of any size!? What does "has had the right to pull a building permit" mean? The above quoted sentence appears to state that Walmart WAS granted a building permit (albeit for a 80,000 building).

Richard Heckler 7 years, 7 months ago

Merrill:

"Since when do we live in Balcksburg or any other place than Lawrence?" Just one more example of how Wal- Mart is not wanted for the same damn reasons many communities do not want them. Only their city fathers did something about it.

"The issue really is did Wal-mart receive the approval to build? From where I see it, yes!!" Not actually and whatever simulated approval was given was not kosher with the city plan. Furthermore a building permit was not issued.

"As for building something else there- I think the landowner already has a lease with Wal-mart." Finally you get it ...yes build something else there! How about a VoTech campus?

Wal-Mart will likely buy the property. They own a few hundred vacant buildings for which they refuse to sell thereby becoming even more of a liability to taxpayers.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 7 months ago

  1. History: This was a fall-back site for a home improvement center that proved to be unnecessary. When this fall-back zoning was written, specific language was inserted to prevent department stores and other uses.

  2. Traffic: Adding a retail development of this scale will have negative traffic implications for the intersection and the surrounding neighborhoods.

  3. Planning: The intersection was planned for 200,000 sqare feet. The intersection has already been built to this capacity. There is no need to build any more.

blackwalnut 7 years, 7 months ago

There is so much confusion on this complicated issue, and there are so many gray areas, that it really should be settled in court.

I think Wal-Mart would prevail with its bigger lawyers and deeper pockets, but a few things would be clarified and settled once and for all, and maybe it would help prevent a similar debacle from occurring in the future.

blackwalnut 7 years, 7 months ago

merrill says, "Wal-Mart will likely buy the property. They own a few hundred vacant buildings for which they refuse to sell thereby becoming even more of a liability to taxpayers."

I thought Wal-Mart doesn't buy land and buildings but leases them.

Anyway, if Wal-Mart buys the property, do you think the landowner will have enough money to remove that horrible particle-board structure he pasted on the front of the Masonic Temple downtown? Such a beautiful building, and it looks so tawdry and dirty. Couldn't he afford to make that look a little better, on the street that is Lawrence's crown jewel? It's been that way for what seems an eternity.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 7 months ago

  1. History: This was a fall-back site for a home improvement center that proved to be unnecessary. When this fall-back zoning was written, specific language was inserted to prevent department stores and other uses.

  2. Traffic: Adding a retail development of this scale will have negative traffic implications for the intersection and the surrounding neighborhoods.

  3. Planning: The intersection was planned for 200,000 sqare feet. The intersection has already been built to this capacity. There is no need to build any more.

Giving preference to local suppliers, even if it means spending a little more, can actually benefit a city's finances. Dollars spent locally generate additional economic activity even beyond the value of the initial contract as the local supplier in turn sources goods and services locally. Each additional dollar that circulates locally boosts local economic activity, employment, and ultimately tax revenue.

justthefacts 7 years, 7 months ago

FACTS versus OPINIONS - so hard to tell apart (for some). Just makes the issue all that much more hard to understand. Like me.

blackwalnut 7 years, 7 months ago

The allegation that the city "changed the rules in midstream" ignores the fact that one kind and size of store was approved (a Home Depot), and a different kind and size of store (a Wal-Mart) was not approved.

Apples and oranges.

Zoning is changed all the time, when a developer presents the city with a plan accompanied by a request to change the zoning to allow that plan. Is that also "changing the rules in midstream?" Or is it ok, because the developer likes it?

WWoftheW 7 years, 7 months ago

At present there is a nodal plan at 6th and Wakarusa that is approved for 126,000 sq ft of commercial, now whether that is retail commercial or if it includes non retail commercial, your quess is as good as mine and the largest building being no more than 80,000 sq ft. After the Wa-Mart was denied in 2003 the city commission, after the neighborhoods requested a downzoning, and using the lesser change table downzoned the amount allowed at the NW corner of 6th and Wakarusa. Unfortunately the City Commission did not remove a department store use from the use table. Wal-Mart has never requested a building permit for the 80,000 sq ft building. Therefore Wal-Mart has never requested a building permit that was approved or allowed.

coneflower 7 years, 6 months ago

Pilgrim: Why are you always calling people insulting names?

karensisson 7 years, 6 months ago

gl0ck0wner says: How stupid do you think these people are? They do this for a living.

You tell me. "These people" made that mess on South Iowa. We should save our city from them.

justthefacts 7 years, 6 months ago

Black walnut says: The allegation that the city "changed the rules in midstream" ignores the fact that one kind and size of store was approved (a Home Depot), and a different kind and size of store (a Wal-Mart) was not approved.

I did NOT allege that had happened. I am trying to figure out if it did.

I get it that people do NOT want a Walmart at this spot (or in some people's cases, anywhere). Do you get that I don't care either way, yet, and am trying to make up my mind by gathering FACTS? I simply am trying to figure out the facts of the situation, sans philosophical or emtional or other non-fact based information.

I did NOT allege that the rules were changed in mid-stream. I was trying to (a) state what the LAW provides with regard to rules on land use regulation and (b) find out IF the rules had been changed in mid-stream. Whether you want to admit it or not, the law is well established in one regard - government land use regulations may not be created (changed/modified/re-interpreted) and applied retroactively.

If those rules WERE changed mid-stream, or weren't, this may be a situation where people think if they call a pig a horse long enough, that it will become a horse. Good luck with that tactic (it actually works sometimes - there are many people who are willing to believe whatever they are told or anything that jives with what they aleady want to believe).

I may have to give up trying to get purely factual information in this forum. The factions on both sides do not seem able or willing to disengage emotions long enough (or well enough) to step back and candidly, honestly, and non-emtionally set forth bare bone facts.

Without information on what actually did and did not take place BEFORE the CC denied the permits and began to fight the Walmart at this location, I cannot form an opinion on whether or not the city has a fighting chance of winning the LEGAL battle.

I understand now why so many people give up on trying to help people get their way in the town; they run into the fact that some people are their own worst enemies!

blackwalnut 7 years, 6 months ago

justthefacts: I was not specifically addressing your comments with my statement about "changing the rules in midstream" and I'm sorry if you misunderstood and thought I was being critical of you.

justthefacts 7 years, 6 months ago

"I am sorry if you misunderstood" = "I am sorry YOU did something wrong." You may want to work on your apology skills .... I bet you tell your spouse/friends "I am sorry you are mad at me." Being sorry for something some else has done is not really any kind of apology - rather, it is another attack on them (albeit passive agressively done).

I am the one who used the phrase "changing rules in midstream." Thus, any statement that someone "alleged the rules were changed in midstream" was in fact aimed at me. I am not that thin skinned. Just very tired of trying to get to the bottom of the well to see if we have clay or sand.

It is true I did make an incorrect factual statement...about a building permit having once been issued.... at least I guess it was incorrect - I am still having a VERY hard time getting FACTS on this situation. (I.e. WAS a building permit ever issued to the people now suing the city???). But the statement that changing the rules in midstream is not allowed by the law (courts uphold property rights of owners in such situations) is not just a mere "allegation." It is a rule of law that will be very important in determining which sides wins - if this mess goes to trial (and costs us more $$ as a city).

Instead of calmly figuring out what can be legally done, at this point, people continue to throw barbs and argue about policies. It is most hard for some of us to figure out exactly what to think - because we like to think not just form opinions based upon feelings or where our friends are alligned - when those on both sides of an argument do not seem to be able to disengage long enough to be coherent about facts.

I know there may be no getting people to agree on any kind of compromise. However, if we could establish some agreed to facts, that might help elminate at least SOME of the things people fight over. More then once, I have seen fights evaporate when the sides calm down enough to find out what they can agree upon. That sometimes helps cut way back on violence and hate.

It seems to me there are those who just want to fight. And nothing - not even facts or survival instincts - will convince them that it's not healthy or productive to fight all of the time. It's no wonder to me that so many people must take pills for things like high-blood pressure, depression, etc. There seems to be no lack of passionate feelings. Just a real dearth of facts and civil conversation!

peppermint 7 years, 6 months ago

justthefacts: I am the one who used the phrase "changing rules in midstream."

I don't know how long you've been following this issue but that is one of the 2 main arguments, basis of the lawsuit, etc. Whether the city improperly changed its rules after WM got involved on that corner. You didn't raise this concept! In fact I'm the first to refer to that idea on this thread - although I didn't coin it!

Janet Lowther 7 years, 6 months ago

Justthefacts - You, along with the US Constitution make a fallacious presumption: That government is a good and necessary thing. The best government is one which has just barely enough power to prevent someone else from setting one up.

For fictional examples of how a society might work without the omnipresent hand of government coercion, see the fiction of L. Neil Smith and J. Neil Schulman amongst others.

wyn 7 years, 6 months ago

JW Editorial Staff....

How about being reporters and doing everyone in this town a favor. GET THE FACTS and please list a timeline with the facts from city records, etc. etc...... so everyone can speak from an informed place.

Might be interesting to see how many people bought the newspaper the day that's published!

coneflower 7 years, 6 months ago

wyn: That would be great for the Journal World to do, but...

The Journal-World has shown bias in its reporting on this issue. It's a question of the things they don't report, the way they phrase headlines, where in an article they bury salient facts. All the ways a journalist can spin a story one way or another without actually lying.

I don't think you could trust it to present ALL the information in an unbiased way.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 6 months ago

**Just because speculators purchase property does not guarantee that construction will be allowed for it is NOT the duty of the taxpayer or local government to maximize profits for speculators. Speculating=gambling. Land speculators know these things.

commuter 7 years, 6 months ago

Merrill:

Great point about spectulators. Lets also add, just because YOU want something doesn't mean it will benefit ALL of Lawrence.

If YOU want a GREENER Lawrence- YOU Start a company and do it. That would go outside of YOUR comfort zone and meaning to take a RISK.

Comptom and his group bought the land to put a Home Depot on it because they were not sure if the city commission would allow Home Depot to by built at 31st & Iowa. Since that location was approved, they had to alter their plan.

If you do not like their plan (I am going to start sounding like you Merrill, saying the same thing over and over and over and over, and may be some people would start to believe) buy the property from them and save the city a lot of money and embarrassment of losing a lawsuit.

blackwalnut 7 years, 6 months ago

commuter said: If you do not like their plan (I am going to start sounding like you Merrill, saying the same thing over and over and over and over, and may be some people would start to believe) buy the property from them and save the city a lot of money and embarrassment of losing a lawsuit.

Are you saying you want a city governed entirely by the almighty dollar - where the only citizen who has a vote is the one who has enough money to buy the city?

commuter 7 years, 6 months ago

blackwalnut- I said if you don't like their plan but the property from Compton. I hope that is clear to you ( I checked witha few other people and they understood my comment).

I have hope that the new city commission will do a better job than the previous one. I have a lot of faith in Chestnut and Dever. I must be bioased because I am a CPA and have known Chestnut for a few years. As for Dever, I have spoken to him and he seems to listen. This is a trait that was lost with Schauner and Rundle, from my perpective.

justthefacts 7 years, 6 months ago

"Justthefacts - You, along with the US Constitution make a fallacious presumption: That government is a good and necessary thing. The best government is one which has just barely enough power to prevent someone else from setting one up."

Where did I ever say the government is a good and necessary thing? I doubt you can find an instance. I explained what the CURRENT status of the laws provide. Not what I wish it provided. I never said if I liked it or not.

While I try to stick with the facts in most postings, my personal opinion jives a whole lot with the author Robert Hienline; the government should - as much as possible and until/unless it impacts others - stay out of people's private lives. However, I am a realist and know that once a government undertakes to do something "on behalf of the public" it is hard to get it to "BACK OFF" and give up power.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.