Archive for Sunday, November 2, 2008

North needs

November 2, 2008


To the editor:

The plan for a development near Johnny's Tavern excites me because we will have a tourist attraction right around the corner from me. However, it will increase the traffic, which a lot us here in North Lawrence don't want. But as long as we keep adding retail of any kind we are sure to get the traffic. As long as newcomers come to Lawrence to visit or go to college and find Lawrence attractive enough to settle here, our town continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This is why the city managers continue to approve more retail stores to come in.

However, what concerns me is that the city managers continue to turn deaf ears to the real needs here in North Lawrence. I would like for the city managers to explain to us the reason why we can't have a grocery store, Walgreens, Wal-Mart or hardware store, and I wouldn't even mind having a McDonald's. That would be great! That would make it worthwhile fighting the traffic.

The city managers are probably saying we wish it would be that easy to make that happen, but all I'm asking is an explanation as to why we can't have these businesses on our side of North Lawrence. West, south and east Lawrence continue to add to their growing needs, so what about us?

Mary Nunez,


ChasL 9 years, 4 months ago

I'll take a North Lawrence fire station, something besides a "ditch" drainage system, a fixed 2nd and Locust intersection, and representation on the City Commission for North Lawrence over a grocery store. Other than those, I'll vote with Write2Know.

lawrencian 9 years, 4 months ago

As another North Lawrence resident, I agree that it would be nice to have all of those things here. But I don't think the city commission is the only group of people to blame for this situation -- you have to have retail store owners who want to come to North Lawrence first!Denak, the Dillons at 18th & Massachusetts is actually the closest grocery store, and I think Checkers is also closer than the Dillons on 6th at Lawrence Avenue...

lunacydetector 9 years, 4 months ago

just to correct a misperception, the city of lawrence does not want new retail dollars coming into lawrence anymore. in fact it was written as a requirement by the previous city commission, about 4 years ago, to make it as difficult as possible for new retail businesses to come to lawrence. the way it was written then is the same as today, it is required that larger impervious surfaces must be created for new retail businesses and this requirement severely limits financially any new retail businesses from coming to lawrence who's interest is in existing locations or something brand new. this also creates a storm water issue for us, the citizen. this also explains some of the vacancies around town.i worked as an executive in the retail industry for over 25+ years, and from personal observations, lawrence's local government is the most restrictive of any community i have ever seen. does the city manager realize the restrictiveness of our community, how could he not? does the city commission realize how restrictive lawrence is? you betcha.north lawrence does not have a walmart because, most likely, their demographic studies concluded north lawrence didn't fit their criteria to have a successful business. north lawrence had numerous grocer operators where harley davison is today. the majority of people in general are bargain shoppers and not enough of the north lawrence population supported that store and it went out of business. it would be very difficult for a grocer to locate in north lawrence today. the defunct tanger outlet mall does not help matters. the old adage, 'lawrence is business unfriendly' certainly rings true.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 4 months ago

Things to consider:Over building retail or residential is business unfriendly. Over building residential depreciates property value for the long term = homeowner unfriendlyOver building retail saturates the market thus makes it difficult for most all retail establishments to maximize sales and tax revenues which the city needs to operate and cover the expense of maintaining infrastructure = unfriendly to retailers and taxpayers. If retail cannot generate tax revenue to pay for itself taxpayers are asked to pick up the tab by way of increased fees,property or sales taxes = unfriendly to homeowners Who wants this situation?Lawrence retail is a flooded market. There are only so many retail dollars in Lawrence,Kansas. Any flooded market does not payback thus additional increased taxes and fees on current property owners and/or residents. Lawrence is a small town. A flooded retail market is unfriendly to retailers and homeowners alike.How much more is anyone willing to donate to our local corporate welfare receiptients? New development does not come free to way jose'. Does Lawrence government mandate substantial proper analysis from uninterested parties to protect taxpayers from over building either in residential or retail? No!

Richard Heckler 9 years, 4 months ago

Building space faster than growth in demand for that spaceThe greatest threat to Lawrence is the excessive pace of growth in the supply of real estate. The community should expect, even demand, good design without offering subsidies or accelerated access to building permits. The community should be a part of the development process from the zoning decision all the way through to the final development plan approval.The development industry confuses growth in supply with growth in demand. Economic growth is assessed by the growth in demand, which is the growth in people and their income. When we have more people and these people have more income, then their spending will demand more goods and services.These goods and services may include more homes and support more retail stores. Note that building more homes and stores does not generate more people or income. Demand must precede supply and support supply. If supply is built beyond the available demand, then bad things happen. Older shopping centers empty out and become blighted. Older neighborhoods decline. Developers never pick up the cost of this blight; they simply look to the taxpayers to pay the very expensive costs of redevelopment. Even this expensive redevelopment fails unless there is sufficient demand for the revitalized space.Sustainable growth means supply growing no faster than the growth in demandIt is crucial to the health of any community that the growth in supply be kept at a pace that matches the growth in demand. Unfortunately, the development and construction industries are prone to overbuilding. Cities, under pressure from developers, are prone to over-zoning. This is true throughout the nation, not just here in Lawrence. Preventing excessive growth in supply is easy and costless; it only takes well-managed growth controls by the community.This is the purpose of the market analysis requirement integrated into the planning process. Lawrence has ignored this analysis because it has, for years, indicated that Lawrence is building more homes than it needs and more retail space than it needs and more office space than it needs. Developers and builders have brought political pressure on the planners to ignore the market signals indicating that the market is building at an unsustainable pace. Except at the extreme, developers make money even in overbuilt markets. Thus, the builders and developers have captured control of the political process to prevent the community from taking steps to slow the pace of growth.What Lawrence needs is smart growth management tools not misnamed smart development codes that are giveaways to a development industry that has proven itself prone to overbuilding.

grimpeur 9 years, 4 months ago

"lawrence's local government is the most restrictive of any community..."Do you have some examples of this? I didn't think so.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 4 months ago

Without proper analysis on the table I will say that a new grocery,small hardware,laundromat could have made Tanger Mall a success. People always need grocery and hardware stores. The older grocery store did not offer enough and was a little difficult to enter and exit.Tanger Malls are typically found out in the middle of rural country sides where there is no other place to shop. It would seem that a grocery store and hardware store could draw from close by Jefferson,Leavenworth and north Lawrence residents because there are no other choices.

wifemotherslave 9 years, 4 months ago

Warren: Are you Kidding me?! There are lots of residents in N Lawrence. I have to agree a laundromat, a hardware store and grocery store could greatly improve N Lawrence. Many of the residents I know could benefit from these, especially if there is a loss of the "T". I have often wondered why there are no stores of the like in the Tanger, such nice wasted space for N Lawrence.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 4 months ago

"in fact it was written as a requirement by the previous city commission, about 4 years ago, to make it as difficult as possible for new retail businesses to come to lawrence."Really? Can you cite that regulation?

Write2Know 9 years, 4 months ago

I like North Lawrence just the way it is.

Warren6032 9 years, 4 months ago

Do people really live in North Lawrence?

denak 9 years, 4 months ago

I with Mary on this. One of the reasons I won't move over to North Lawrence, is because there is no grocery store close by. The closest would be Dillons on 6th and Lawrence Avenue. Why so far away?There isn't even a convienant store close by. Just gas stations.Lord forbid you forget something simple. You either pay an exhorbitant price at a gas station or drive all the way to Dillons.I live in East Lawrence and there are three stores within 5 mile radius if even that. Dena

khawk1949 9 years, 4 months ago

There was a retail mall in north lawrence, closed due to not enough shoppers . River front retail now offices. When no business they close or move elsewhere. None of you take care of what you have in the neighborhood. Drive to Iowa street, 23rd. and 6th like everybody else or take the T.

SMe 9 years, 4 months ago

Mary the answer to your question is quite simple. Because when you did have a nice (not big and purty like those you've mentioned) you folks in North Lawrence didn't support it!If you'd come they wouldl build it but you won't so why should they?

Richard Heckler 9 years, 4 months ago

Unfortunately Reaganomics has permeated our local and state governments so this is the decade to not vote for republicans.Allowing local developers to control our city and county governments plus the planning commission = voodoo economics aka reaganomics

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years, 4 months ago

"I would like... a grocery store, Walgreens, Wal-Mart... and I wouldn't even mind having a McDonald's. That would be great! That would make it worthwhile fighting the traffic."Be careful what you wish for.

lunacydetector 9 years, 4 months ago

bozo, i suggest you read the new development code. it has restrictions and government regulation all over the place. your guys did a real nice job nitpicking through the old code and making things so ridiculous that lawrence isn't even a consideration to most.the impervious surface requirement the city has in place is completely insane. it essentially creates the need for more parking lots for anything new, thus creating the need for more storm water retention, more water runoff and more strain on our storm sewers. but it doesn't stop there, it also applies to the old stuff as well. if a business closes today, a new business has to wait for city approval in order to occupy the empty store which can take over a month for a yes or no decision, and now there is no longer enough parking to allow it, yet another hurdle and more time consumed for approval and a yes or no decision.check the book, bozo. the examples above give credence to the old adage that lawrence, kansas, is 'business unfriendly'.

lunacydetector 9 years, 4 months ago

those people would have to be making a huge tax payment if they were using the empty tanger for tax advantage purposes.bozo,as usual, no substance coming from you. you are either an expert on nothing, you are in denial of how bad lawrence is to businesses, or you were involved in this atrocity.

Chris Ogle 9 years, 4 months ago

What good memories of North Lawrence. Growing up, I had a blast. Both Grandparents, and my favorite Uncle lived in North Lawrence. One Grandpa sold vegetables in the summer, and traded furs in the winter months. My other Grandpa had a used car lot. Back then, it seems like everyone had at least an acre or two. Both Grandparent were just a few blocks from where they worked. And yes, they shopped at Rusty's, got hair cuts at Kennys Barber Shop, and when they ate out, they did so in North Lawrence. I learned how to garden, weigh the veggies, and make change at the vegetable stand. Learned how to work on cars at my other grandpa's, and was taught how to weld, and use a cutting torch from my Uncle. All this before the age of 12. Oh, can't forget Johnny's Tavern. Johnny Wilson made the best hamburgers, and he made sure I got at least one free bottle of coke. . Thanks North Lawrence!!

SMe 9 years, 4 months ago

None2. No not naive! Yes I was in that store when it was a good store and even then nobody from N.Lawrence shopped there! Ya'all wanted to go to the super stores out on west 6th street. I've been in Lawrence a year or two myself.

jonas_opines 9 years, 4 months ago

"I would like for the city managers to explain to us the reason why we can't have a grocery store, Walgreens, Wal-Mart or hardware store, and I wouldn't even mind having a McDonald's."Could it be that the city managers don't own Walgreens, Walmart, or McDonalds? It's possible that with all of those examples, they aren't there because analysts for companies have done the numbers and there just aren't enough people in North Lawrence to make a business profitable. Just possible. I've not run these numbers myself.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 4 months ago

If you're responding to jafs, I don't see that s/he made any sort of claim of a conspiracy. The tax code, does, in fact, make it easy for large property owners to sit on vacant property. Wal Mart is known for letting old buildings sit vacant when they move into new, larger buildings.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 4 months ago

I didn't think I'd get an actual answer to my question, luny-- thanks for not disappointing.

The_riot_is 9 years, 4 months ago

North Lawrence has two gentleman's clubs. What else do they really need?

jafs 9 years, 4 months ago

It's possible that the owners of the properties in the Tanger Mall are asking exorbitant prices for rent and are able to take their current losses off of their taxes.If the tax code makes it more attractive to leave the buildings empty and take a tax loss, that discourages the normal market forces - ie. supply, demand, and price coneections.

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