Archive for Friday, August 20, 2010

City planners, developers square off over proposal for Lowe’s in northwest Lawrence

The home improvement store wants to build a location near Sixth and Folks streets, but a Lawrence group is recommending against it.

August 20, 2010

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In northwest Lawrence there’s another battle brewing over a big box retailer.

The Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Department is recommending denial of a plan to build a Lowe’s near the northwest corner of Sixth Street and Folks Road.

Several neighbors have come out against the plan for the nearly 150,000-square-foot store, and now city planners say they are concerned about how the development would change the area.

“We already have a reasonable plan approved for that intersection, and it has created expectations for people who own property in the area,” said Scott McCullough, the city’s director of planning. “With this new plan, those expectations would go away.”

Lawrence-Douglas County planning commissioners will begin debating the issue at a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

The area proposed for a Lowe’s has been approved for a mix of residential and office development contained in a “new urbanism” style center that highlights walkability. The city’s comprehensive plan specifically states only a limited amount of retail development should occur between Folks Road and Wakarusa Drive.

But a representative for the development group — which includes local businessmen Mike Treanor and Doug Compton — said the Lowe’s opportunity is one the city should seriously consider.

“I understand that some people don’t like the fact that we’re going away from the plan that we proposed,” said Bill Fleming, an attorney for Treanor Architects. “But I don’t think that is the issue. The issue should be whether this is a good plan.

“The issue should be whether we want a Lowe’s in our community. Lowe’s will provide a lot of jobs, will provide a lot of property tax revenue, will provide a lot of sales tax revenue, and it will help the existing retailers who are already out there.”

But like a proposal to build a Wal-Mart at Sixth and Wakarusa — which ultimately happened after a lengthy court battle — this proposal is highlighting larger issues. The Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods has opposed the project on grounds that it could open up Sixth Street to the type of “strip” commercial development that has made 23rd Street a congested corridor. The association also argues Lawrence already is overbuilt with retail space.

The city’s planning department has taken up some of those same issues. McCullough said planners are concerned that approval of the project may set a precedent for other vacant property along Sixth Street to apply for retail development.

McCullough also said the department is seeing more signs that Lawrence income levels and population are not keeping up with the increase in the amount of retail space. Planners said it is concerning that studies show that since 2000:

• Lawrence’s population has grown by 13 percent.

• Incomes have increased by 0.3 percent.

• Retail space has grown by 22 percent.

Those concerns long have been expressed by some members of the Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods, but have not gained much traction recently at City Hall. McCullough said the numbers, though, are significant.

“I think what it means is that future rezoning requests for commercial development are going to be scrutinized to a greater degree,” McCullough said. “There is no doubt that what helps support commercial development is income growth and population.”

Fleming, though, says such analysis doesn’t take into account numbers that suggest Lawrence is losing more retail sales to other cities than it has in the past.

“The marketplace makes its own analysis too,” Fleming said. “Lowe’s has made an analysis, and they must see something that says Lawrence is a market we want to be in. We should be pleased about that. I don’t think we want to have a public policy that protects Home Depot from competition.”

Comments

Shane Garrett 4 years, 9 months ago

Don't do it. Lawrence people should have to drive to Topeka to go to Lowes.

loosecaboose 4 years, 9 months ago

I drive to Olathe's Lowes. Lowes has Home Depot and Westlake beat in every way. But I buy in Lawrence anyway for most hardware items, just to keep my tax dolars in Douglas County, but I go to Lowes for power tools.

lawrencechick 4 years, 9 months ago

We need a Lowes, but not there. Put it on the lot west of Walmart, not right in front of Free State High.

notyourmom 4 years, 9 months ago

But think of all the after school jobs they could walk too!

alm77 4 years, 9 months ago

Agreed. I was/am against the new Walmart, but since it's already there, west of it makes the most sense.

bse007 4 years, 9 months ago

If we want to keep our neighborhood schools and attempt to keep our taxes from increasing, we should probably consider increasing the tax base by other means such as job creation. I think we are doing okay on our number of homes available in this economy too.

d_prowess 4 years, 9 months ago

I am not sure how I feel about this proposal yet. But I disagree with the notion that opposition of this Lowes store is a protective policy for Home Depot. It is more of a protective policy to not create excess development. Home Depot was here first and I commend them for that. But if it was Lowes that was there first, I think the same concerns would be present with a Home Depot proposal.
The name of the store in this case seems completely irrelevant to me.

Sue McDaniel 4 years, 9 months ago

Once again, the city does not want a good solid business that might offer a decent job to people. Let everyone go to KC or Topeka for a choice on anything they want

kernal 4 years, 9 months ago

"... a decent job...". Yep, that job will do this town a whole lot of good.

The reasons against the location outweigh the few jobs that will result. Personally, I would like a Lowes in Lawrence, but not so close to Free State High School. I think some folks are trying to turn that area of town into a major commerical area which I do not think is in the best interests of that neighborhood. I agree with putting it in a commercial area such as near the South Walmart or better yet, along the K10 Corridor which should be seeing more development in this next decade.

tanaumaga 4 years, 9 months ago

' I think some folks are trying to turn that area of town into a major commerical area which I do not think is in the best interests of that neighborhood.' ...trying??!?it's already been done mate.

parrothead8 4 years, 9 months ago

“The issue should be whether we want a Lowe’s in our community. Lowe’s will provide a lot of jobs, will provide a lot of property tax revenue, will provide a lot of sales tax revenue, and it will help the existing retailers who are already out there.”

And then they will send all of their profits to their HQ in North Carolina. This is just a thinly-veiled way to strengthen Carolina basketball at KU's expense.

overthemoon 4 years, 9 months ago

Well, with that bit of insight, we'd best cancel all negotiations!

overthemoon 4 years, 9 months ago

Lowes corporate requires a HUGE amount of parking for their stores and refuses to 'share' parking requirements with other stores nearby. One reason to be very careful with changing development plans is that the planned or installed storm water management may not be able to deal with the runoff from a large expanse of pavement. If we allow a Lowes (which is a much better store than Home Depot, IMO), the city should insist on onsite storm water management and more than the basic landscaping and a neighborhood enhancing site plan. I agree that putting a big box in front of the high school isn't such a nice idea. North of Walmart would be better...and would take advantage of the twenty miles or so of entry drives they built there. ( ! )

Shane Garrett 4 years, 9 months ago

But Lowes has to support that NASCAR they have!!!! Home Depots Tony Stewart is making a late championship charge.

Jake Esau 4 years, 9 months ago

Do the same thing that should have been done to the Wal-mart... let them build by 6th and the Bypass.

optimist 4 years, 9 months ago

The story references a study that shows retail has grown by 22% over the last 10 years while incomes have grown by only .3%. That seems disparate. However in order to believe that we must believe that retail in Lawrence was adequate enough 10 years ago to sustain our sales tax revenue needs. I don't know the answer but by leaving such information out of the story concerns me. I'd like to see comparisons to other communities and some insight into what an adequate retail base is in a city the size of Lawrence. The necessity for competition definitely should be considered as well. I don't want the city to become a defacto protector of any business. I am further concerned that this story reflects a bias because the statistics presented do not tell the whole story.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

Statistics never tell the whole story.

And, the main issue is that the city approved a certain kind of development at that area, and now, after the fact, developers want to change it. I believe that's called "bait and switch".

imastinker 4 years, 9 months ago

There are a lot of people that live out of town that would love to shop in Lawrence. The south side of Lawrence is time consuming to get to, so I shop elsewhere. This would be much closer.

Rich Rodgers 4 years, 9 months ago

Damn, there went my weekend plans for a glass block outhouse.

Actually, I'm just kidding. I'm a tech geek and I know how frustrating it is to need to drive to Johnson Co or go online to get that specific item that just doesn't exist in Lawrence.

Justin Roberts 4 years, 9 months ago

Consumers like to shop at Lowes, they like the products Lowes has to offer. If we don’t build a Lowes in Lawrence then consumers will go to KC or Topeka. The economy is in the toilet and the city needs the tax revenue. 10 years ago the economy was in better shape and the city could pick and choose the retailers they allowed in, they don’t have that luxury anymore. We need to take what we can get. In the end whatever the city decides they need to decide quickly and not waste a bunch of money on lawyers like they did with Wal-Mart.

Moderateguy 4 years, 9 months ago

Planning department recommends denial. City Commission overrides and approves. It should be pretty simple math to predict the votes guys. Sad, but true.

New Urbanism indeed. Actually, it's New, New Urbanism.

RoeDapple 4 years, 9 months ago

Lowes = Jobs for Lawrence/Douglas County Lowes = Tax income for Lawrence/Douglas County Lowes = Alternative to Home Depot Lowes = Profit going elsewhere?

Kinda like the profits from your import . . .

puddleglum 4 years, 9 months ago

Lowes = Tax income for Lawrence/Douglas County

you meant:

Lowes = 2.7% Tax income for Doug Compton (thanks TIF) on everything you buy at Lowes

so you buy a $1000 lawn mower from Lowes....Big D gets $27.00 of your money.

really COOL!

RoeDapple 4 years, 9 months ago

Well another example might be; A B&D router bought downtown might cost 15% less at Lowes, in which case I would have no problem paying the additional tax of $2/$3 to save $24 . . .

Mr_B9 4 years, 9 months ago

How do you think he pays for his Zebras?

Practicality 4 years, 9 months ago

Retail will balance itself out in the market. Does Lawrence have favoritism to Home Depot or something?

Goodness, everyone is clamoring about jobs in this town and when a company wants to put a store in, everyone tries to stop them. And don't give me this "new urbanism" nonsense. That is just a made up term that means "We get to decide what businesses fit our idea of acceptable" by a few people who are all businessmen. How conveniant.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 9 months ago

"Retail will balance itself out in the market."

Yep, and if an area has more retail space than it can support, it balances itself out with empty buildings and blight.

Practicality 4 years, 9 months ago

bozo, I wouldn't start complaining about blights on the city to loudly. You might find yourself strung up on a rail and run out of town for being one yourself.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 9 months ago

My, aren't you getting testy. Should I take that as a threat?

Practicality 4 years, 9 months ago

Of course it is not a threat. I would just hate to see you get re-zoned out of town. You would probably have to go all the way to San Francisco to find another city that will let you in if that happened. I also know that it is hard for kids to change schools in the middle of the 8th grade. Just looking out for you bozo!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 9 months ago

I thought maybe you were just being sophomoric, but I guess I was a couple of years off.

Practicality 4 years, 9 months ago

I agreed with your earlier post none2, I don't know if HD was restricted in its size, but if it was, I don't think that was right. I also agree that the private tax is immoral. I am also not opposed to it being somewhere else, especially North Lawrence. I just think that it should be up to Lowes (within reason) though, where they think their store should be. I don't consider the area they are proposing to be a residential area because there are plenty of stores there already.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 9 months ago

The size restriction was because that intersection can only handle so much traffic. And anyone who goes through there can see quite easily that that assessment was quite correct.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 9 months ago

I know your reading comprehension isn't that bad, so I'll just assume that in this instance you were just looking for a way to throw in a gratuitous insult.

I didn't say I have troubles negotiating that intersection. But if the Home Depot store were 50% larger, as they had initially proposed, what is currently a very curiously designed intersection would likely be a nightmare at peak hours.

unelectable 4 years, 9 months ago

I can't wait to walk to Lowes to buy some lumber.

gccs14r 4 years, 9 months ago

If Compton wants it, it can't be good for Lawrence.

Ken Harris 4 years, 9 months ago

I don't think anyone is against having a Lowes in town. But there are other places to put it than right across the street from Free State, especially when we already have a development plan for that area. Are they going to pay the costs associated with changing the current development plan?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 9 months ago

No, that's an issue of rightwing bigotry and intolerance. This is a zoning issue.

deec 4 years, 9 months ago

These jobs will mostly be low wage, part time jobs for a company who has the attitude that if you take off in the middle of your shift because your wife is in labor, they threaten to fire you. This happened to a co-worker of my son's when he was employed at Lowe's.

deec 4 years, 9 months ago

Or maybe he was telling the truth. This was in the context of my son telling this particular manager that his (my son's) wife was near term.My son was advised that if he did leave, he could be jeopardizing his job. The manager opted to stay at work and nearly missed his child's birth.

stopit 4 years, 9 months ago

Build a Lowe's please but not in front of the high school. We need choices in Lawrence besides big HD.

allamerican4ever 4 years, 9 months ago

omg buy a tree and a yard. if the city ,rd johnson an doug compton wantit it will happen. its called purse strings. who pays who

kernal 4 years, 9 months ago

Doug's trying to amass his fortune as fast as he can so he can build his McMansion in the Santa Barbara area for his retirement. Give the poor guy a break.

Lindsey Buscher 4 years, 9 months ago

spotted three zebras grazing at the Compton compound the other day.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 9 months ago

I know you're just trolling, as usual, but fact is, current zoning would likely allow a small mosque, synagogue, church or some other community center.

parrothead8 4 years, 9 months ago

You DO know that the planned mosque isn't actually AT Ground Zero, right? It's two blocks away and, until the new WTC gets high enough, you won't even be able to see the WTC from the mosque. And, uh, it's not even a mosque. But, you know, go ahead and seize on whatever terminology helps you further your uninformed belief.

overthemoon 4 years, 9 months ago

Ditto. Vicblthndr Says you 'are one'. I'll assume that means that you are a reasonable, open minded, and informed citizen.

parrothead8 4 years, 9 months ago

Maybe he meant I am "The One?" Like the guy in The Matrix? I can't dodge bullets, so I'm pretty sure I'm not, but it's a nice thought.

kernal 4 years, 9 months ago

You're the tops for inane comments. Guess everybody needs some kind of talent, no matter how moronic.

Ralph Vickers 4 years, 9 months ago

I would prefer Low's to Home Depot, better choices. Parriothead! You really are one!!!!!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 9 months ago

Ironically, that location was a lumber yard previous to being a failed strip mall.

scopi_guy 4 years, 9 months ago

Yep, I remember. Lowes is more than just a lumber yard, so it might do OK there.
Right off the turnpike, as a lot of Lowes seem to be. I was kind of half joking when I posted that, but...

matchbox81 4 years, 9 months ago

The city isn't picking what businesses can and cannot go there, it's enforcing the land use plan in place for that site. Nothing says that a Lowes can't go somewhere else in northwest Lawrence, it just has to be a site that's zoned for that type of development.

GSR1855 4 years, 9 months ago

Compton is not going to support moving the Lowe's project west on 6th to the by-pass because he doesn't own that land. Schwada does. And developers do not do what is best for the community, they do what is best for their own pocket.

kernal 4 years, 9 months ago

No, they don't, because that's how they survive. Although, I've known some developers in other states who did some projects that were best for the communities and because of it built up their businesses even further, especially after the recession in the mid 1980s.

If any developers in Lawrence do any philanthropic work, I've sure never heard of it.

chocolateplease 4 years, 9 months ago

BAD BAD BAD location for a Lowes! We saw three accidents between 3-4pm yesterday in the vicinity of the highschool out there. There's residential housing straight across the street from that intersection (6th & Folks). Lawrence is the only town I've ever heard of that will let big box stores go right up against single family dwellings like that.

homechanger 4 years, 9 months ago

Really? I see this kind of development all the time.

tomcats 4 years, 9 months ago

Put Lowes North of the river over by Pines start building that area up it needs cleaned up anyway. I would like to see a Lowes and I wouldn't mind driving across town to get to it.

kernal 4 years, 9 months ago

Neither would I and I don't live in that area of Lawrence.

Dixie Jones 4 years, 9 months ago

AMEN ! ! and they need a groc store in that area as well.

independant1 4 years, 9 months ago

N. Lawrence is blighted but you'd seiously drive two ways through the intersection from he11 for lumber? With a trailer? Think we'd kill fewer by the high school.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 9 months ago

“The issue should be whether we want a Lowe’s in our community. Lowe’s will provide a lot of jobs, will provide a lot of property tax revenue, will provide a lot of sales tax revenue, and it will help the existing retailers who are already out there.”

Somebody doesn't understanding why zoning laws are in place.

If this was truly the issue, then let's build a Lowe's next to Memorial Stadium! Let's build it next to Compton's house, there's lots of land there.

Practicality 4 years, 9 months ago

There are not any other retail stores next to Memorial Stadium. There are not any other retail stores next to Compton's house. How do you justify saying yes to some and no to others?

average 4 years, 9 months ago

How do you justify it? By writing a neutral-to-specific-store-names (specifying sizes, parking, uses, etc) planning document years before any stores are being built in the area. Then bloody well sticking to it.

The fact that there were all sort of zoning exceptions made for Walmart will make legal mincemeat of that prior planning, though, so we've already let the camel's nose into the tent.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 9 months ago

Size. How do you justify keeping multi-unit apartments or a trailer park away from Compton's house?

Same way - size.

LogicMan 4 years, 9 months ago

Like others, yes to Lowe's, no to the location. Further out on sixth street.

blindrabbit 4 years, 9 months ago

Darn: I was hoping to avoid the 23rd Street and South Iowa Street uglyness out on 6th. But, Walmart got the ball rolling a couple of years ago.

weeslicket 4 years, 9 months ago

sorry. in way late on this again.

from the article: But a representative for the development group — which includes local businessmen Mike Treanor and Doug Compton
(not from the article: anyone surprised by that??) again, from the article: “I understand that some people don’t like the fact that we’re going away from the plan that we proposed,” said Bill Fleming, an attorney for Treanor Architects.

didn't walmart pretty much put an end to these arguments? we had a plan, we didn't follow it, we were beaten into submission by walmart and compton corp to build these businesses on the 6-wak property..... other like businesses followed in the wake of walmart.... and now you have a lowes.

aside: i prefer lowes to home depot, but... this is already a done deal.

thanks walmart.

conservative 4 years, 9 months ago

No big box store will be going into north lawrence. Issues are not enough people live north of the river to support the building and the bottleneck of only having one way to get north of the river.

mom_of_three 4 years, 9 months ago

Please build a lowe's somewhere in Lawrence. I don't want to drive to olathe. (and home depot does not always carry everything we need)

gccs14r 4 years, 9 months ago

Couldn't you have gone to Capitol Concrete north of town?

Evan Ridenour 4 years, 9 months ago

Does anyone in the city commission think to consider that the reason people drive to other cities to shop is because Lawrence doesn't have the stores people want?

Hudson Luce 4 years, 9 months ago

I think Lawrence ought to be cut in two, with the line being Iowa Street (and McDonald Drive north of Sixth Street) running from north to south. Then there'd be Lawrence, comprising North Lawrence, East Lawrence, and Old West Lawrence, and the neighborhoods to the south; and West Lawrence, which would be everything west of Iowa. There's already a building suitable for a city hall in what would become West Lawrence, the Lawrence Police Department building on 15th Street near Wakarusa Avenue. The division of the city could bring an end to the constant fighting over development philosophies that we see now, with developers like Compton given more or less free rein to do as he pleases with his land, and eventually developing West Lawrence into an Overland Park-like city.

Mr_B9 4 years, 9 months ago

Others have said it and now I will say it. Lowes needs to be in North Lawrence. Who cares if it goes in Doug's development? I bet Doug doesn't even care. If Lowes wants to come to Lawrence then let Lowes go to where the store would most help Lawrence. We need to keep the city balanced but obviously our commission has not yet figured that out. Everyone who would like to see some much needed clean-up, growth and maybe even a real grocery store in North Lawrence say YES to Lowes in NL. Call the city and be heard....

blindrabbit 4 years, 9 months ago

Just like Joni Mitchell sang "They tore down paradise and put up a parking lot". Granted that property could hardly be called "paradise" but you get the idea.

Entice Lowe's to build (modify/tear down) the blighted Tanger Mall Property in North Lawrence; parking lot is already there. Figure out a way to allow West Lawrence patrons to use the turnpike to access that location, thus avoiding driving back toward downtown Lawrence on an ever increasing congested 6th Street.

jobohe 4 years, 9 months ago

Interesting thought. Will the KS TPA ever let it fly?

As I recall in years past bridge maintenance such as resurfacing could never be done quickly (all lanes at once, back in the day of the single 1916 bridge) because the TPA didn't want to give up the nickel it would receive with each Turnpike river crossing.

Entice Lowe's to use the Tanger site; allow shoppers to show Turnpike receipts in order to receive rebate for round-trip toll; subsidize Lowe's as it rebates shoppers; increase Lowe's property taxes in order to fund rebates.

Arrrrgh!

Jimo 4 years, 9 months ago

It's disturbing that once again Lawrence insists on confusing two separate issues:

  1. How much should planning and zoning be set in stone versus adjusting to unforeseen opportunities that arise?

  2. This bizarre attempt by government to second-guess how much retail development is appropriate.

The first is harder. Mike Treanor and Doug Compton just stand to make a tidy profit if an exception is made for this land but will make nothing if Lowe's builds on some other developers' land. I would recommend that if the answer here is no that the City work closely to identify a different, appropriately zoned site. As the Wal-Mart fiasco showed, this can't devolve into a whimsical like/don't like game of favoritism to certain businesses.

The second is easy. Who is more likely to have adequately judged the need for retail space in Lawrence? The Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods, which has no expertise on the topic and doesn't stand to lose a dime either way, or Lowe's, which routinely makes these judgments and stands to risk considerable money if they invest to build out a store that underperforms or even loses money? The answer couldn't be more obvious. Centralized planning of what consumers needs are (or should be) went out with the Soviet Union.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 9 months ago

"1. How much should planning and zoning be set in stone versus adjusting to unforeseen opportunities that arise?"

Horizon 2020 is the master zoning and development plan. It was written with the input of many if not most of the communities' stakeholders. It isn't set in stone. It can be changed and amended. But it should be amended with input from the entire community, not just from developers who find its provisions inconvenient to their plan of the moment.

"The Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods, which has no expertise on the topic and doesn't stand to lose a dime either way"

LAN may not do market studies, but that's not why they exist. They exist to protect the interests of the neighborhoods they represent. And neighborhoods most certainly do stand to lose a dime or two from developments lower quality of life and negatively affect property values.

"Lowe's, which routinely makes these judgments and stands to risk considerable money if they invest to build out a store that underperforms or even loses money"

First of all, market studies are notoriously inaccurate. And second, when Lowe's does a study, they only look whether their sales will be adequate. They couldn't care less how the sales of other stores are affected, even if it results in empty stores elsewhere in the city. But it is a rightful concern for the city.

Jimo 4 years, 9 months ago

". And neighborhoods most certainly do stand to lose a dime or two from developments lower quality of life and negatively affect property values."

There is no connection between some dumb ass opinions about how much retail services Lawrence's consumers need and "quality of life" and "property values." Again, you're confusing zoning issues with central planning. Have you learned nothing from the Wal-Mart fiasco you pushed?

"market studies are notoriously inaccurate"

Uhh... no they are not inaccurate at all. Indeed, billions are invested annually by the Lowe's of the world who are exceedingly accurate in predicting where their own money is best put at risk. In fact, for Lowe's to be choosing to open a Lawrence location means that Lawrence has beat out all other potential new locations in this year's limited budget for expansion.

And pardon me but who gives a damn how "other stores are affected"? How is it that it's the City's business to shield existing inefficient operations from competition - and at the consumer's expense? Where you see empty stores the taxpayers see an empty treasury. How long are we to substitute your "notoriously inaccurate" opinions - never testable in any way - for those whose opinion of retail needs is either accurate or they lose money and have to find some else to do with their lives? Lawrence is not touristy theme park.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 9 months ago

"There is no connection between some dumb ass opinions"

Thanks for demonstrating that we all have them.

Jimo 4 years, 9 months ago

I guess that's the best you can do when you have no facts to marshal.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 9 months ago

Given that you blasted right on by anything I said, and argued about, well, I'm not sure what yourwere arguing, the comment was more than your post warranted.

Jimo 4 years, 9 months ago

Hard to "blast on past" while quoting you.

Again, it's obvious you don't have a counter-argument or you would have made it.

Practicality 4 years, 9 months ago

bozo is notorious for his opinion based arguments. I can't for the life of me understand why people are against Lowes.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 9 months ago

I don't know what their findings were, and I don't care.

I just don't agree with Jimo's contention that just because Lowe's has a "magical market study" that it somehow trumps any other considerations by anyone else that this development may (and almost certainly will) affect.

That market study was done for one reason, and one reason only-- to tell Lowe's whether it will make money or not. It doesn't say a thing about anything else, and that's what the rest of the city needs to have the chance to consider.

Practicality 4 years, 9 months ago

So is that consideration made for all businesses bozo. What was the consideration given to Arbys when it went in, or dillions, or any of those businesses that are in that strip mall across from Free State. Oh, and lets not forget the great big bar over there as well.

Jimo 4 years, 9 months ago

The only "magical" study here comes from the Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods claiming Lawrence already is overbuilt with retail space. Is it: (A) there is already a building Lowe's could move into elsewhere in Lawrence? or (B) there is no excess market in Lawrence for the goods Lowe's sells? If (A), please tell us where. If (B), then why do so many people here purchase so much outside of the city? (Indeed, wasn't the exact same argument made about Home Depot?)

The Association has no expertise, experience or trackrecord to be making such claims about overbuilding. I'm not making an argument about "other considerations."

Lawrence consumers demonstrate every day that there is not an excess of retail by journeying to and purchasing outside of the city. And the City Treasury demonstrates year after year that we cannot afford the loss of tax revenue from our Retailphobia.

jobohe 4 years, 9 months ago

Is this Lawrence or Portland?

I'd rather drive to Lowes than live in a walkup apartment or condo on a quaint block of Sixth Street.

The city and county planners don't understand that Lawrence has grown and the tax base must expand.

Godot 4 years, 9 months ago

Truth be known, the planning commission is holding out because they have been told by an organization with $18,000 in the bank that it has plans to build a $110,000,000 mosque there. The commission would prefer to see the land used for a non-tax producing venture.

blindrabbit 4 years, 9 months ago

Godot: From your "name" and religious reference maybe time for a little "coming home to the real Jesus" and not the dittoheaded BS from the Right (wrong). Also, might want to stick to the subject. Suggest you read the LJW article and blogs today on religious intolerance.

Godot 4 years, 9 months ago

blindrabbit, from your "name" it appears you cannot see and are easily frightened. Perhaps you should get someone with a soothing voice to read some existential literature to you.

JustNoticed 4 years, 9 months ago

“I understand that some people don’t like the fact that we’re going away from the plan that we proposed,” said Bill Fleming, an attorney for Treanor Architects. “But I don’t think that is the issue. The issue should be whether this is a good plan.

That's right, just reframe the issue, hired scum.

Wrong, the issue is simply whether Doug will start providing Vaseline when he has his way with Lawrence - again.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 years, 9 months ago

Being former military, I have lived in a few other localities besides Lawrence, Kansas. But I have never ever seen such a situation as develops here when a new business wants to locate here. "You can't build here" "You can't build there" "You can't have a sign like all your other franchise locations" "NIMBY!!!!!!!" "You can't compete with "Beautiful Downtown Lawrence" (Lawrence's "Aggieville") "We don't like your hiring practices", "We don't want Doug Compton to make any more money, he already gets too much now!" Yadayadayadayadayada. The beat goes on.

Actually I have never seen a city government so beholden to such a small minority and who's elected representatives represent the views of those who will buy them yard signs in quantity so they can get (re) elected and continue to throw the largesse to their fawning supporters ignoring the greater good for the community. Wonder if this will ever change? I have lived here over 35 years and I doubt it, Lawrence is just another bucolic Joe College town without any sort of rational city government.

JustNoticed 4 years, 9 months ago

Being former military afforded you some travel, but apparently no insight into what planning and zoning is all about. So just shut your pie-hole, Joe.

puddleglum 4 years, 9 months ago

dude, it is simple. Lawrence does not want to end up looking like Topeka.

if you want to just let anyone do what they want with their property, move to topeka-you'll fit right in.

scaramouchepart2 4 years, 9 months ago

If Lowes knows they will make money along 6th street, why are they set on a place that requires so much development change instead of going down the street to the Scwada property which is already zoned and has two big boxes approved and would only require some minor changes and they could have been building already? Does Doug Compton have family in that Corporation also? Does he go around getting to be a godfather to all the big retail businesses? Why is Lowes so set on 6th and Folks? In reality there is no need for more retail, but the city has a committee that is designed to end up saying that after all their research, and these are not planners either, that what we need is variety in business to stop leakage from Lawrence. Why not fill in all the vacancies? Why do we need to build a variety of vancancies? If, as so many have stated, let Lowes and Home Depot fight it out there is are two conclusions. One: we end up with a big box blighted empty building. Two: they both keep asking to enlarge their footprint to out do the other and we end up with at least one if not two bigger box blighted empty building.

blindrabbit 4 years, 9 months ago

frwent: Also former military, agree with most of what you say. But, would you have wanted to live in any military town you served in, not me! Also, I've moved around a bit (both coasts) and have always chosen to live in college towns, even if it meant a longer commute; all of these have had similar problems to Lawrence; but that seems to go along with the territory. It seems that this kind of existence suits you as it does me.

Lawrence needs to consider a Strong Mayoral form of government, managed by a professional who is directly elected and reportable to the electorate. Maybe that will get away from the mess we have now.

Shelbyrules 4 years, 9 months ago

I'm not against a big box store, but I wonder if the original city plan for this site had this in mind, ...don't think so

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 9 months ago

Exactly. This isn't a debate about Lowe's. This is a debate about location.

scaramouchepart2 4 years, 9 months ago

Remember that Bauer Farm's businesses already are getting an extra cent on the dollar through a TIF agreement. So add that on.

scaramouchepart2 4 years, 9 months ago

To be fair those extra taxes are supposed to pay the city back for service they provided like the streetsand infrastucture the city paid for and put in which is the TIF. Not sure what the city is paying for so Lowes can build here.

irvan moore 4 years, 9 months ago

let me do my Karmac imitation, i see the city commission falling all over themselves to bow down to the developers.

scaramouchepart2 4 years, 9 months ago

Mr. McCullough is reffering to the neighborhoods who were already here and worked to get commercial that was acceptable in the plan. We are not newbies. I have been here since the late 90's. The neighborhood across the street on Folks was here long before Bauer Farms was even considered commercial which it was not supposed to be when the neighborhood was created. So oneeye your premise is wrong from the start.

jobohe 4 years, 9 months ago

Why didn't we ever realize this land south of Free State was the perfect location for the Free State High School Stadium and Athletic Center?

Godot 4 years, 9 months ago

Why did TPTB choose to put Free State High School one block from the major east west artery in Lawrence, at a major intersection? First of all, this effectively removed acres of prime commercial land from the tax rolls. And, as we have seen, any and all new commercial business that would naturally thrive at this intersection has, and will be, scrutinized through the lens of what effect it will have on the high school. This is a perfect example of government planning (or ill planning) that is structured in such a way as to stop the growth of business and the success of commerce.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 9 months ago

"Why did TPTB choose to put Free State High School one block from the major east west artery in Lawrence, at a major intersection?"

In order to drive residential development, schools are required. I suspect that's about all the thought that was put into it.

Mari Aubuchon 4 years, 9 months ago

In the course of our renovation, we have been forced to shop at the Lowes in KCK for items that are not carried in any Lawrence stores more than a few times. I think Home Despot needs some competition and I think the placement on the outskirts of Nouveau Lenexa seems quite reasonable.
As for the supposed New Urbanist plan for that area: it just seems like the same Old Suburbanism to me. I've lived in that area and almost every other part of Lawrence and if you want a walking, talking neighborhood move to one of the older parts of town.

Mari Aubuchon 4 years, 9 months ago

If HD wants to apply for an expansion, I would have no problem with that.

It isn't all about the space, however. HD's lumber inventory is pathetic. Just try to find decent wood for exterior use!

Mark Kostner 4 years, 9 months ago

You guys must be doing really well financially in Lawrence for a store chain even wanting to build a store there in the first place and then to not need them and shoo them off. I'm sitting in a place with scores of unstarted and unfinished projects and the precious few business openings there are draw masses of applicants. For Lawrence to cherry pick businesses in this economy, it must be be really well off, among the most prosperous economies in the country. I envy you guys, having enough cash in your local tax coffers to say no thanks to any more revenue. Local government is expanding services, not cutting back, I assume.

Godot 4 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, but, Lawrence is so "special," it doesn't need to dirty itself with retail that fills a real need. What Lawrence leaders think we need is more bead shops and tatoo parlours.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 9 months ago

I haven't seen many (any?) posts here that are against Lowe's.

The problem is the process, or in this case, the lack of one. And that's exactly what made 23rd St., and to some extent, S. Iowa, the messes that they are.

Lowe's wants to move here because they think they can suck up a significant share of the market they serve, but that market is already pretty well covered by Home Depot and the contractor lumber yards (Schmidts and McCray's) and the smaller hardware stores (Westlakes, Cottin's, Ernst, Tractor Supply, Bargain Depot, Orscheln) so overall sales of goods is not going to increase much. They'll just take sales away from these other stores. So it's unlikely that the new Lowe's will significantly increase either sales tax collections or employment over what there is currently.

So just because Treanor, Compton, et al, are salivating over putting a Lowe's in a location that has already gone through a community process to determine how it is developed doesn't mean that the existing scheme should be completely and unilaterally scrapped just to favor a supposed white knight

But that's probably what will happen.

scaramouchepart2 4 years, 9 months ago

Lawrence is saying yes and Scwada already made sure to have two big boxes: one for Lowes and one for Casco. If Lowes thinks Lawrence is a great buy and not just buying in a fight with Home Depot and the community is a casualty then there is already prepared to go site only 1 mile or so that Lowes could build and right on K10 and 1 mile 1/2 south of the turnpike and really a better spot. The questions remains. Why insist on 6th and Folks other than Doug. No is begrudging Doug money. He has open bank account with is father in law.

purplesage 4 years, 9 months ago

Thanks to the over-bearing concern for political correctness (it is fashionable to hate Wal-Mart) we got the Wal-Mart, Junior in NW Lawrence. I'm no fan of the giant retailer but I do shop there. Or, in the case of the junior version, try to shop there. Two-thirds of the time, they don't have what I am after. On the other hand, the folks in the smaller store are friendlier and more pleasant.

So, I hope Lowe's doesn't have a scaled back version. The N. side of town needs a business like that. So, as my preferred home improvement store, I hope they build.

The scaled down things still create the negative fallout (traffic, mostly). Lawrence is growing and big, full line stores are a part of that growth.

Nobody wants a Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot or Lowe's in their neighborhood - but thy drive to other neighborhoods to shop at those dreaded businesses.

BigPrune 4 years, 9 months ago

Either let them build or see that property empty for years to come. Don't muck this up like the new Walmart that should've been twice the size when it was built. The comprehensive plan everyone talks about was outdated the very day it was rolled off the presses.

The City already created the vacancies we see today, so any decision based on the current vacancies needs to be thrown out the window. The City restricted it so much for new businesses to occupy vacant places, no business in their right might will gamble thousands and months of wasted time on a now uncertain outcome. That's why there are vacancies. I also question the 22% increase the past 10 years. I ain't buying it.

greenworld 4 years, 9 months ago

I like the idea of west of Walmart also. I also see more places starting to go up near the Tractor Supply Co. and out that way by K10. I know there is a empty field just west of it and west of O'connell Rd. I know Hyvee looked at building there at one point in time. Also is there any land left south of the old walmart and crown. I know that payless building supply place would have been ideal after they closed for a Lowe's I think.

Mari Aubuchon 4 years, 9 months ago

I am not talking about fixtures. I am talking about lumber and other basic building and repair materials.

I cannot buy a water hammer arrestor or 3/4 inch T condulet at the Restore nor, it seems, at any other store in Lawrnece.

Mari Aubuchon 4 years, 9 months ago

1 The other lumber suppliers are contractor suppliers. They are not open on the weekends, nor in the evening. Since my husband and I share one (11 year-old energy-efficient) car, we also need transportation for our large purchases, which is also not available at these places.

2 Where are these plumbing supply stores? I don't know of any retail store in Lawrence that carries all the plumbing fixtures we have needed over the course of our renovations. We are working with a house that is more than 100 years old.

3 Why would I hire a plumber for a job we can do ourselves?

4 Yes, we have had to turn to the internet for certain things, particularly vintage items. However, neither of the items I mentioned should have to be purchased this way. How would buying items that need to be shipped to me individually be saving resources, anyway?

5 Not that is is any of your business, but we have donated all of the usable fixtures and furnishings that we have replaced in our home to the local animal shelter for their garage sale and through Freecycle for items too large for us to transport . We also share our tools with anyone we know who may need them. Does this meet with your approval?

6 Those of us who buy and renovate old houses in Lawrence ARE preserving natural and cultural resources. We have specific needs that are not currently being met within a retail sector that caters to contractors and newer construction. Cottin's is the only store that carries the sash cords and plaster that we have needed and we have been glad of their existence on more than one occasion. They are, however, a small store and cannot possibly be expected to carry everything we need.

7 I made my original point because i ahve done almost all of my shopping here in Lawrence for the past 25 years. I would rather see my dollars go into the local economy. However, if the only place that we can buy formaldehyde-free insulation, for example, is Lowe's, we will spend our money in KCK.

Rushing to judgement of others often leads one to erroneous conclusions about them.

independant1 4 years, 9 months ago

Don't like the scaled back Lowe's plan - I want the big one (Lowes).

Minaret? Mosque? Personally, I don't need one. How about a great big new wave christian church. Steel building with brick facade and neon billboard signs to advertise the venue? Then things would really be swell.

Ain’t but one thing wrong with every one of us in the world and that’s selfishness. (Will Rogers)

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