Plans for a new Wal-Mart at Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive are delayed again, but this time there's no controversy surrounding the project.
Instead, developers of the site just need more time to finalize the necessary documents that must be approved by the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission before construction can begin on the new store.
"There's nothing unusual going on here," said Bill Newsome, who is an owner of the site at the northwest corner of Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive.
Originally, Lawrence-Douglas County planning commissioners had been scheduled to approve the final development plan and the final plat for the project as part of their September meeting, but developers asked that the item be deferred until October.
But recently developers asked for at least another month's delay. All of this comes after developers battled with the city for five years to win approval to build a Wal-Mart at the corner.
Wal-Mart and the development group sued the city after a previous City Commission refused to grant approval for the new store. But following the April City Commission elections, the developers and the new City Commission agreed upon a set of plans that would allow for an approximately 100,000-square-foot Wal-Mart to be built at the site.
Construction on the project, however, can't begin until the final development plan and final plat are approved. Approval of both documents usually are technicalities because they merely are site drawings that reflect what already has been approved as part of the preliminary development plan, which city commissioners approved in August.
Sheila Stogsdill, assistant director of planning, said there weren't any new issues that had come up with the project. She said her understanding for the delays was that the development group hadn't had enough time to complete all the necessary drawings and site maps for the large project.
Newsome, who owns the site with Lawrence businessman Doug Compton, said that was the case.
"Nothing has changed on the plan," Newsome said, referring to when it was approved by city commissioners in August. "There are multiple tracts as part of the development, and it just takes a long time."
Wal-Mart hasn't yet announced a timeline for construction to begin on the new store, which is slated to have a grocery department. Previously, Angie Stoner, a spokeswoman for Wal-Mart, said it would take 10 to 12 months to complete the store once construction began. But Wal-Mart leaders have not said when they plan to start construction on the store. Attempts to reach Stoner on Monday were unsuccessful.