Archive for Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Planning commissioners recommend denial of Lowe’s plan

August 24, 2010

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Lawrence-Douglas County planning commissioners recommended denial of a plan to build a Lowe’s store near the intersection of Sixth Street and Folks Road.

The planning commission meeting to discuss the request started Monday evening and continued for hours, with the decision being reached just before midnight.

Planning director Scott McCullough said the recommendation for denial was supported by a vote of 8-2.

Comments

LogicMan 5 years ago

Again, like others, Lowe's = strong yes, built there = a resounding no.

Further west on sixth such as just west of Wal-Mart (on the old horse farm), or at K-10 and 6th.

matthewjherbert 5 years ago

Good thing the Commission rejected a proposal that would have created jobs and brought money to the community. In great economic times like these, we can afford to turn down opportunity. Besides, it helps keep that area classy........since nothing says classy like Taco Bell and Smash Burger.

average 5 years ago

"Brought money to the community"? How the heck do you figure that?

Anyone more than about 15 miles from Lawrence would continue to go to Lowe's in Topeka or KC, because they'd still be closer than one on 6th. It's not drawing some new traffic.

95% of the home improvement dollars in the Lawrence area are being spent here already. My guess, anyway.

So, you're talking about 40,000 Lawrence/near-Lawrence households, and the amount they currently leak out to Lowe's stores in Topeka/KC. I'd be surprised if it was anywhere near a million dollars a year.

Competition would be good for HD, so I'm fine with Lowe's (on a proper site). But, let's not pretend that it's going to bring a windfall of cash to the community.

Jeff Cuttell 5 years ago

Your guess? When using percentages and statistics, you might want something to back it up. Lowe's in Topeka would be much more difficult to get get to for people in Eastern Topeka than a new one on 6th street. The 15 miles thing does not fly. And, you must be crazy to think someone would continue to drive to KC or Topeka to a Lowes if there is one in their own town.

That also means more tax dollars in our city. Plus all of the dollars from permits ect.

Not to mention jobs. Either in the building of Lowes or people working there after it's open, it is good for Lawrence.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

" And, you must be crazy to think someone would continue to drive to KC or Topeka to a Lowes if there is one in their own town."

A whole lot of them work in those cities, and will likely continue to stop by on their way to work or home to do their shopping. That's a fact of retail in this town that is largely permanent.

average 5 years ago

Of course people will shop there. I assuredly would if it were built. But, they are people who would otherwise be shopping at Home Depot or one of the Ace's.

They see the Lawrence pie as big enough to accommodate them. Almost certainly right. But, I was just disagreeing with matthewherbert above who thought that it was going to "bring money to the community". That's insane. The community isn't going to suddenly have more home improvement demand just because there's another store in the mix. And, it's not like it's going to be some super-regional draw.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

Some customer's may prefer Lowe's over HD, but the fact is that the product mix and pricing between the stores is about 99% the same. Add in the availability of products at the other lumber yards and hardware stores in town, and Lowe's really doesn't bring much of anything that isn't already available. And that means that Lowe's would largely be pulling sales from existing stores, so that it will not result in any significant overall increase in sales tax collections or employment.

That doesn't mean Lowe's shouldn't be allowed to build somewhere. But this location was already approved for one type of development, and Lowe's just plain doesn't fit.

Practicality 5 years ago

Acording to your logic bozo, why have more than one hamburger stand in town? Or more than one gas station? Or more than one pizza place? Or more than one (fill in the blank).

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

No, that's the logic you're projecting on me.

Why you do it, I can't say. I guess you think it makes your argument easier, although the net result is that I can't tell what your argument actually is.

Practicality 5 years ago

You said

"Some customer's may prefer Lowe's over HD, but the fact is that the product mix and pricing between the stores is about 99% the same. Add in the availability of products at the other lumber yards and hardware stores in town, and Lowe's really doesn't bring much of anything that isn't already available. "

That would imply that because similar products offered by Lowes already exist at other stores, then there isn't a need for one.

I realize, though, that you ended your statement with

"That doesn't mean Lowe's shouldn't be allowed to build somewhere."

Which is why you have been accused, more than a few times, of talking out of both sides of your mouth.

average 5 years ago

Bozo is not talking out of both sides, here. He's not saying there isn't room for two stores. He's just saying, as I agree, that matthewjherbert's expectation that it's going to "bring money to the community" (i.e., increase net citywide sales of said items) is improbable at best.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

There isn't any great "need" for Lowe's to come here. As I've already pointed out, 99.9% of all the products they sell can likely already be bought here for prices comparable to that of Lowe's.

They are interested in coming here for one reason-- they think they can grab just enough of the market share to meet whatever profit expectations they have. They really couldn't care less whether Lawrence "needs" a Lowe's, regardless of how you want to define that. And they also aren't the least bit concerned with whether their store generates any net gain in either sales taxes or employment for Lawrence or Douglas County.

The fact is, any such considerations would violate the primary, fiduciary responsibility of the corporation, its board, officers and executives to the shareholders to maximize profits.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

Your problem is that you can't distinguish the difference between what Lowe's needs, and with what Lawrence needs.

And did you even bother to read what I said in the previous post?

"They (Lowe's) are interested in coming here for one reason-- they think they can grab just enough of the market share to meet whatever profit expectations they have. They really couldn't care less whether Lawrence "needs" a Lowe's, regardless of how you want to define that. And they also aren't the least bit concerned with whether their store generates any net gain in either sales taxes or employment for Lawrence or Douglas County."

Maracas 5 years ago

Comparing the impact of a Lowe's to that of a taco or burger joint is rather silly.

Jonathan Becker 5 years ago

The Planning Commission approved a proposal for the Bauer Farm a couple of years ago with 62,000 sq. ft. of commercial development, with all of the commercial development west of Champion Lane. That proposal was amended to add an additional 10,000 sq ft. last year.

The Lowe's proposal plans a store with 145,451 sq. ft. all east of Champion Lane. This would put over 600,000 commercial sq. footage at the 6th and Wakarusa regional node, for which Horizon 2020 says there should be 440,000.

sherbert 5 years ago

Would like to have more details in the article. Why did they vote it down and what does it mean? Will it be resubmitted? I agree it should be further West, but don't let it get away!!

grammaddy 5 years ago

Agreed! That one has very little selection compared to the other one. It really is a waste of space.I'll never go there again.

grammaddy 5 years ago

How about an Olive Garden, or Red Lobster instead?Maybe a Popeye's chicken or Church's too? Too much pizza and burgers in this town. Let them shop at Home Depot.

tolawdjk 5 years ago

Nothing makes me laugh more than the "How about a Red Lobster" crowd. Red Lobster, the paragon of Midwestern seafood. Red Lobster, where if you are feeling adventerous, you go for the shrimp scampi over the fried shrimp platter.

If you want seafood, I recommend finding a nice shushi joint and getting to know the staff. Ask them what is fresh, sit at the prep station and watch them work. Even bad tempura is 400 times better than the swill they pass you at Red Lobster.

Liberty275 5 years ago

Wow! You are really hip! It's nice to see a human telling another what to eat because they are cool enough to eat raw fish and cucumbers..

You do know that Lawrence has several places to get sushi/sashimi but precious few to get blackened swordfish, right?

whats_going_on 5 years ago

have to agree with Liberty on this one.

momof2ku 5 years ago

Their cheesy buscuits make it worth having one alone!

John Hampton 5 years ago

You can make pizza and hamburgers and fettucini alfredo and tacos at home, real easy too.... but I think that's where the whole idea of the restuarant came from... not doing it yourself now and then? Am I right?

I know it's novel.

jafs 5 years ago

Slowponder's post is good.

What's the point of having planning for the city if they just change it at the whims of developers?

oklahoma 5 years ago

This would be a great question if the ? came after city, as in "What's the point of having planning for the city?" Certainly not to create economic development, job growth and a healthy economy, as this body continues to demonstrate.

seriouscat 5 years ago

Good thing they are showing some backbone on this.

whats_going_on 5 years ago

What is all this fuss about 2020. That's only a few years away but those complaining will be at Pioneer Ridge by then.

Pioneer Ridge is pretty close to the proposed build site, so...I suppose it still applies.

MasterShake 5 years ago

Wonderful!

NIMBY!

No LOWE'S in Lawrence!

jnixon 5 years ago

I worked at Lowes when I moved to Idaho. After seeing all they had to offer in the way of products, assistance in planning projects, employees training, customer service and the general demographics, I told them, 'Hey, you folks need to put a Lowes in Lawrence, KS!' Not saying that they listened to me, but very disappointed to see that our own City Planners have shot it down. I guess that Lowes waited too long to get with the program and probably should have moved on it when Walmart did. How many times do you see a Walmart and Lowes side by side? Just sayin'. Lowes, don't give up! I'd still like to see you here!

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

Lowe's comes in Home Depot goes out = no new economic growth = higher taxes for all.

It was like finding a needle in a haystack to find anyone to come in after Payless went out of business. Two home improvement stores is retail suicide. Not enough home improvement dollars to support two large stores.

Bozo said it right. There are other choices such as the former Whelans store on sixth. They have lumber,tools and tons of other supplies. I believe it is called McCrarys? Pleasant enough to deal with.

Cottins has some supplies as well plus knowledgeable staff. Cottins can special order in just about any power tool available with comparable pricing.

There are other choices.

John Hampton 5 years ago

As do most of the rest of the town.

matthewjherbert 5 years ago

at 7:30 last Monday night Home Depot had three registers open and each one had 4-5 customers waiting in line. The paint counter had two employees mixing paint....both occupied with customers when I went to get paint mixed. Somehow, I don't think Home Depot will close its doors when Lowe's comes to town......Westlake Hardware on the other hand just might. I will cry no tears when that happens.

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

Baur Farms simply is a failure. Tenants do not want to come into a flooded retail market. The market was saturated at the time Baur Farms was approved. Lawrence,Kansas is not a retail mecca......not enough available retail dollars.

Baur Farms should have been filled and booming years ago. Special interest pressure forced a wrong decision ON the taxpayer. Empty retail buildings cost taxpayers money = tax increase.

Lawrence,Kansas is not a retail mecca......not enough available retail dollars.

CountyResident 5 years ago

Maybe retail doesn't want to locate in this area because of the higher sales tax they will be charging.

Practicality 5 years ago

I imagine Lowes and Home Depot both know how to run their respective companies. It is nice of you to be worried about them, but I think they can manage.

Something is going to go into that space. Likely, it will be retail of some kind. Lowes is not some terrible business. It will not affect the kids at Free State's education nor do I doubt any of those kids even care. Sure Lowes wants to put their store at that location because they think it will be the best for their business. What is so wrong with that. Again, something is going to go in that location eventually, why shouldn't it be Lowes instead of a Burger King, gas station, and Little Ceasars?

Boston_Corbett 5 years ago

Nothing is wrong with Lowes going in. But Lowes shouldn't call the shots on our city's land planning.

I get a little annoyed that the LJW speaks of this as an application for Lowes. It really isn't. It is an application which would change existing land planning on behalf of Lowes.

Lowes can come anytime that they want. They just have to live with our existing land planning decisions. What is wrong with that?

Practicality 5 years ago

According to the current planning, what is acceptable to go into that location? Serious question, I do not know?

d_prowess 5 years ago

I sort of agree with Boston. This area won approval by the city and the surrounding communities for a certain type of development (walking friendly, small stores). The Lowes project would be completely different than what the area has been approved for.
Of course, I don't think the city can't change their vision for the area, but that process would need to involve the surrounding areas that agreed to the previous proposal first.

d_prowess 5 years ago

I sort of agree with Boston. This area won approval by the city and the surrounding communities for a certain type of development (walking friendly, small stores). The Lowes project would be completely different than what the area has been approved for.
Of course, I don't think the city can't change their vision for the area, but that process would need to involve the surrounding areas that agreed to the previous proposal first.

Jimo 5 years ago

Probably correct. Based on LJW reporting, apparently there was no reason given for the requested variance from the zoning plan other than Compton had worked on selling Lowe's on the spot and stood to make good money on the deal. That's not really an acceptable reason to alter things.

Unlike Wal-Mart, this isn't an example where approval has been given only to be yanked back and with zoning code written vaguely.

Let Lowe's move on out further west where they fit the zoning code. Some smaller retail or office space will fit into this space.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

"Unlike Wal-Mart, this isn't an example where approval has been given only to be yanked back and with zoning code written vaguely."

That's not what happened. What happened is that one group of city commissioners decided to ignore H2020 and approve a variance requested by Compton, et al, primarily because they stood to make good money on the deal. A later group of city commissioners ruled that planning documents are meant to be followed or amended properly.

In the end, another set of commissioners decided that Compton, et al making lots of money was good enough reason to rezone.

Jimo 5 years ago

I stand by my original statement. It didn't need your spin.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

How is it "spin?" It's precisely what happened.

CountyResident 5 years ago

It wasn't approved for a Lowes or a gas station.

Sue McDaniel 5 years ago

I was so excited to hear we might get a Lowe's, too good to be true.........

jnixon 5 years ago

I disagree merrill. The newer stores have succeeded because of what they have to offer...lower prices and better selection! I agree that a bunch of this city's development has been politically motivated. That's where the money is. There's no use denying that. Bauer Farms is still under development so I think it's a little soon to tell if it will be the booming retail mecca that we need to boost the town a bit. Seems that location is everything in Lawrence. People want to be able to get in and out of these retail areas with ease and some locations are lacking in that area. Too much traffic congestion 'in town' than on the outer bounds. When's the last time that you 'intentionally' drove down 23rd St from Wakarusa all the way to Harper and stopped to shop along the way? Or, Sixth St from Massachusetts to Wakarusa. Or, Iowa from 6th St to 31st? The City has grown tremendously. I just wish there would be some growth to the North of the River. That's a whole different subject, entirely...

d_prowess 5 years ago

So if I lived next to you, Liberty, should I be able to sell my house and land so it can be torn down and be replaced by a slaughter house? I just want to be sure I understand your point.

Thats_messed_up 5 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

jnixon 5 years ago

Zoning laws and Urban Planning do play an important part of a City's development. Otherwise you could wind up with a gas station right next to an Elementary School or some nonsense like that. You could say 'Bye-bye' to the whole neighborhood schools concept if we had no zoning laws and planners. It is people that have money that bring in businesses. It takes money to make money. I am by no means saying that the site for the Lowes is the right place, but the general area is the right area. Either, there or on Hwy 10 East or both, although I think that would be too much. I just hope that there can be some compromise that is acceptable to the planning & zoning folks. It's not about breaking the rules/zoning laws/fear of competition. It's about bringing in profitable, revenue generating businesses and corporations to our City.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

"People can rationally self-organize"

I believe that could be called "government."

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

"No, government is not self-organization."

Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't-- totalitarian or oligarchic regimes certainly can't be called "self-organization," unless there is a very limited definition of "self." This allows government to be seized by the few at the expense of the many. But this unfortunate tendency of humans doesn't obviate the need for organization, AKA government.

"Self-organization is like going to the beach and everyone picks a spot to put their towel by themselves. "

That's really not organization. I'd say it's a distinct absence of organization, and in instances like that, where no organization is required, it's the preferred way to go. But that doesn't make it a template for all human activity in a world with 7 billion of them.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

And we know it always works, too, don't we? There are never bullies that kick sand in someone's face and kick over sand castles. There are never jerks who bring their boomboxes and force others to listen to their music. But in the end, if you don't like it, I guess you can always leave and the only thing it costs you is a tan.

This is a really good metaphor for your ideology, since it demonstrates why it can't be extended to every area of human activity-- the option to leave isn't always there.

irnmadn88 5 years ago

The land grab was decided long ago by the creators of the 2020 plan. Can't go further S and SE of K-10 until there is a water treatment facility. Trust me, at some point there will be a levee built on the south bank of the Kaw probably after a K-10 to I-70 connector is built after US 59 is finished in DG County and the eventual boondoggle of the bypass is finished (hello ring road). Until then, can't go E and N of K-10 because it is a flood plain. Due west is Clinton Lake. SW is a flood plain also. So that leaves Lawrence to expand into NW Douglas County. Development at US 40 @ K-10 will be the linch pin to it all. USD 497 has purchased land out there too. Why do you think the District Divide rethink is coming? Now, why does Lowe's want to move to that part of town? Because that is where the money will be. When this happens, who knows. But it will happen.

irvan moore 5 years ago

does anybody know who the 2 votes for the Lowes were?

Centerville 5 years ago

Just in from the AP: "Neighbors in a central Maine town are upset that a landowner who can't build on his quarter-acre parcel has opened up his land as a "nature park" for the homeless." Huummm.

Janet Lowther 5 years ago

I'm not sure of the appropriateness of the location, but Lawrence would benefit from having a Lowe's, and that location would be marginally less out of my way than Home Depot is.

Besides, I like the product mix at Lowe's, and go way, way out of my way to go to the one in Topeka.

Jonathan Becker 5 years ago

The area is zoned Multi-residential, not commercial. It is zoned for single family homes, duplexes and apartments. The proposal last night was to take the 11 acres zoned for 270 units of a combination of homes, duplexes and apartments and re-re-zone it commercial.
When the Bauer Farms development was approved two years ago, the multi-use zoning was restricted that commercial space would be limited to 72,000 square feet total and all commercial buildings would be located west of Champion Lane. The Lowe's proposal violated Horizon 2020, it violated the previously determined zoning and it violated the restrictions of the commercial zoning restrictions on the Bauer Farms previously approved by the Zoning Commission.
Don't forget Lowe's also wanted to zone commercial the NW corner of 6th and Folks for a 7,500 sq ft pad site. That would have put the commercial square footage in the Bauer Farm at 72,000 in the area west of Champion Lane, 145,551 for Lowe's and 7,500 on the pad site. For those of you mathematically challenged that is 225,051 square footage, more than the original 2001 Bauer Farms proposal that was rejected 9 years ago.

Douglas_Co 5 years ago

The meeting was very interesting. The attorney for Lowe's began his presentation by making a very strong statement that Lowe's was ONLY interested in building a store at Bauer Farms. To those attending the meeting it sounded like an ultimatim: Bauer Farms or no Lowe's. Lowe's representatives in attendance were repeatedly told that they would be welcome at a location just 1.5 miles away (Mercato), planned for just such a business. Lowe's rigidly stuck to their position but then assured the community that they would be flexible and accomodating if allowed to move to Bauer Farms. It was hard to believe that they were capable of such flexibility after demonstrating such obvious rigidity regarding the location.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

If they didn't specifically define "flexible and accommodating" at the meeting, then it was meaningless.

Cindy Wallace 5 years ago

Build something we don't already have!! .....and not on Bauer Farms! I vote for a COSTCO or SAM'S Club...preferably Costco.

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