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Letters to the Editor

Bait and switch

May 27, 2010

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To the editor:

The most recent proposed change to the Bauer Farms project (replacing the currently approved residences with a big box store at Sixth Street and Folks Road) would be a gross violation of Horizon 2020 and should be rejected by the City Commission.

At the time the Bauer Farms proposal was originally approved, more retail space had already been allocated to Sixth and Wakarusa than allowed under Horizon 2020. The original Bauer Farms proposal was consistent with that allocation — but the amount of retail square footage was later significantly increased at the request of the developer.

The original Bauer Farms plan had commercial buildings located close to the street to create a more pedestrian-friendly streetscape — but this was subsequently changed at the request of the developer. The original Bauer Farm proposal included a residential neighborhood with front porches and a mix of housing types, within walking distance of the commercial part of the development — but now it looks like this, too, is mostly about to be eliminated.

Bauer Farms started out as a moderately progressive project, but is well on its way to becoming more of the same old suburban sprawl. If the new change is approved, it will secure Bauer Farms’ place as the most outrageous bait-and-switch development plan in this city’s recent history.

Boog Highberger,

Lawrence

Comments

donjuan 3 years, 10 months ago

Consider Bauer Farms - "new urbanism, walkable office/residential/retail." With seven drive through fast food restaurants and a car wash. The Lawrence City Commission - a wholly owned subsidiary of Lawrence developers. The best commission they could buy.

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donjuan 3 years, 10 months ago

agree with BOOG

kind of a hard SELL here - sounds like 'misrepresentation' on how this approval was obtained.

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donjuan 3 years, 10 months ago

maybe the planning department needs to install a blowout preventer.

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donjuan 3 years, 10 months ago

what's a new urbanist farm?

do they grow BMW's?

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donjuan 3 years, 10 months ago

will it be called LOWE's FARM now?

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donjuan 3 years, 10 months ago

Imagine if X number of years ago when looking for a site for a new High School - would anyone have picked the current site for FreeState if LOWE's had been there right in front of it 20 years ago?

Please answer this question City Commissioiners?

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donjuan 3 years, 10 months ago

five leaders?

how bout marci, boog, rundle, charles jones, amyx?

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oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 10 months ago

Of course 2020 should be updated, but is about 20 years behind. Any plan now would be tittle 2050.

Lawrence is so slow and the Planning Department is just pushing paper around to make it look like something is happening aka job preservation.

Some issues are studied for over a year. A year, think about it. Do you study going to get your car fixed for a year? Do you study whether or not, you need your furnace fixed for a year? Do you study for a year whether or not you go to Free State to have a beer?

Lawrence has lost it's leadership period. Name 5 great leaders in this community since 1980? Not money donors, not some whackos that go to meetings all of the time, not someone who promotes the homeless shelter into perpetuity, but a REAL LEADER, someone who has contributed to the community and can walk into any group and be respected.

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JackRipper 3 years, 10 months ago

"If we could have the big, comparison-shopping anchor, Wal-Mart, on one corner, then on our side we would have more of the specialty stores, lifestyle, pedestrian-oriented shopping," Treanor said. "We think it would be a good mix."

Yep, those specialty stores like CVS, Taco Bell, Lowes, that's what makes Lawrence different then all the other places and will draw people! So is it ok to walk through those drive through lanes? I tell you, the ol boys that destroy this town for their profit can spin some pretty tall tales.

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beobachter 3 years, 10 months ago

Last time I checked USD497 is not controlled, fortunately by city. Because if it was, the chamber would be running all the schools.

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beaujackson 3 years, 10 months ago

Why should anyone trust a city commission that allowed dist. 497 to Astro-Turf over TWO high schools with eight (8) sports fields without allowing the taxpayers to vote on the $ 18 Million fiasco?

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BigPrune 3 years, 10 months ago

The word "Progressive" is a bait and switch. When Boog was in office and ran as a progressive, he and his ilk were nothing but regressive.

Please enlighten the community how you and your cohorts conspired to create vacancies in retail throughout town by the development code you passed. You want to rent a space somewhere for 3 years? How about a new site plan requiring thousands of dollars in architectural or engineering expense? What? The new parking code says you cannot rent that vacant space anymore. Why? Because Lawrence (and Boog) made it one of the most restrictive in the country. Looks like a parking variance is in order.....So when Boog was in office, he and his cohorts made it as difficult as humanly possible for vacant space to be re-rented again. You want to rent a space for 3 years? Well, you'll have to spend $10-$15,000 more than any other community and you'll need to wait 6-9 months for approval. Then, when something new retail wise came to town, our dadaism following commission could use the excuse that we don't need more retail, look at all the vacancies.

How about that Boog? !

At least the new commission used logic and changed your horrific code.

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Liberal 3 years, 10 months ago

Boog is 100% correct with the exception that that intersection in 2000/01 had a lot more retail associated with it. Some where in the neighborhood of 600,000sf. Horizon 2020 or the area plan was modified to reduce it to I believe 200,000sf.

Most of you bb commentator's do not have a clue. try doing a little homework before you spout off.

Bauer Farms was indeed designed and sold to the city and public as a new urbanism project, walkable mixed used residential/office/retail all in one area with increased density. It was approved based on this plan...Now what they have done is more of the same nothing unique, come on Taco Bell? A car wash? It is looking like this was the plan all along get the approval and than go for changing the plan. I have no problem with this kind of development however we were sold a bill of goods and it is SHAMEFUL! That original plan was never economically feasible there is no way it could have penciled out. They had to change directions.

I would say this. Do what you say you are going to do. Exceed expectations, not lower expectations, undersell-over deliver, I do not think it is to much to ask. If you want traditional retail present it and get it approved on its merits. I wonder how much this plan was to wow the city and the sellers.

I can tell you this, if they would have tried what they originally planned they would have gone bankrupt so I got to hand it to them they played us like a fiddle...good work....uhhh...do I smell a fire?

BTW does anyone have tar and feathers I can borrow?

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donjuan 3 years, 10 months ago

july 2007 in the LJW

Lawrence architect Michael Treanor said city commissioners soon will see new plans for the Bauer Farm development, which seeks to put a mix of retail, offices and residential units on the northeast corner of Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive. That places it across the street from a proposed Wal-Mart store that received Planning Commission approval last week.

The Wal-Mart store - which has been fought by neighbors for nearly five years - still must receive approval from city commissioners. But Treanor is excited that plans for the mega-retailer are moving forward.

"If we could have the big, comparison-shopping anchor, Wal-Mart, on one corner, then on our side we would have more of the specialty stores, lifestyle, pedestrian-oriented shopping," Treanor said. "We think it would be a good mix."

The Bauer Farm development, which would have a mix of about 220 homes and apartments along with a retail area, has been billed as the city's first significant foray into the concept of New Urbanism or Traditional Neighborhood Design. That means the project will feature narrower streets, homes with alleys, and a business district that mixes retail, office and residential uses like a mini-downtown.

"It is a little bit more like the traditional neighborhoods around downtown," Treanor said.

Treanor said he would like to start moving dirt for the project in late fall, with construction beginning in early 2008. Treanor has touted the project to city leaders for the last three years. The project received the necessary rezoning approval in January 2006, but it has been slow moving because potential retail tenants wanted to know whether Wal-Mart would be on the opposite corner, Treanor said.

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donjuan 3 years, 10 months ago

wow - things change huh?

The project, though, is tentatively scheduled to go before city commissioners again on Aug. 14. Treanor will be asking commissioners to allow for more retail space than previously approved and to lift conditions that prohibit liquor stores and businesses that sell liquor-by-the-drink.

Treanor wants commissioners to allow 72,000 square feet of retail space in the development, up from 62,000 square feet that has been approved. Treanor said the intersection can handle the additional retail because the proposed Wal-Mart store is significantly smaller than what traffic designers previously planned for.

On the liquor issues, Treanor said that he saw no reason to prohibit liquor stores or restaurants that sell liquor from the development. The conditions were placed on the plan by a previous Planning Commission as a last-minute addition, Treanor said, presumably because of its proximity to Free State High School.

Planning staff members are recommending approval of the liquor changes. The development meets the state liquor requirements for being the necessary distance away from schools.

"Any liquor store operator in that location is going to be more cognizant of young people rather than less cognizant," Treanor said. "If you're going to have a neighborhood, we just feel you should have a place to go walk to and buy a bottle of wine."

Planning commissioners already have recommended approval of the liquor changes and the increase in retail space.

"I think this is probably the most exciting real estate development I've seen in about a half century of living here," said Planning Commissioner Joe Harkins. "I would like to do whatever I can, within reason, to help it succeed."

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tange 3 years, 10 months ago

"Boog?"

Show me the birth certificate.

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blue73harley 3 years, 10 months ago

Makes me wanna see some clog dancing! Just like the (not so) good old days.

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Pilgrim2 3 years, 10 months ago

Wow. Another re-run of the Three Stooges.

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donjuan 3 years, 10 months ago

Lowe's at this location is a disaster people - support Boog on this one!

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blue73harley 3 years, 10 months ago

Boog hasn't heard....we are now all about hope 'n change.

When Home Depot went in, they restricted the size of it so it is only a half-a$$ store. I hope WHEN Lowes gets built it is just as big as their "regular" stores.

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mr_right_wing 3 years, 10 months ago

Boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooog!!

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Robert Rauktis 3 years, 10 months ago

Gasoline goes to four dollars, the sprawl will wilt the way Lew Perkins is. Until then, bye-bye pedestrianism.

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Boog Highberger 3 years, 10 months ago

The original Bauer Farm proposal had some new urbanist elements along with some more typical suburban sprawl. In addition to the features I mentioned in the letter, the project included (and still does, to the best of my knowledge) a 3-story mixed use building in the commercial part of the development-- but it remains to be seen if it will ever be built. If the original Bauer Farm proposal had been rejected, what we would have gotten was what the pre-existing zoning would have allowed by right: fast food restaurants and a strip mall at 6th & Wak, each with their own oversized parking lot, and dozens of cookie-cutter apartment boxes at 6th & Folks. Unfortunately, it looks like the ultimate result may be no better than that, or even worse.

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MacHeath 3 years, 10 months ago

My Dad used to buy Allis-Chalmer parts from Boog's dad.

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Ken Lassman 3 years, 10 months ago

Who has had curbside recycling since 2009? Olathe, not Lawrence.

Whose public schools were given national recognition for their energy efficiency? Bonner Springs/Edwardsville, not Lawrence.

Who has been a leader in putting vegetation strips down to purify storm water runoff before it goes back into the Kaw? Topeka, not Lawrence

Who has made it a policy for new public buildings to meet LEED standards of sustainability and energy efficient design? Olathe, not Lawrence

Who has seen an increase in residential permits in the core neighborhoods rise from 12% to 27% in the past decade? Kansas City, MO, not Lawrence

Lawrence is losing its leadership in creating livable, sustainable neighborhoods, transportation and city services to surrounding cities, something it traditionally has felt itself to be a regional leader in. While people are trashing Lawrence for not being business-friendly enough, neighboring communities are quietly embracing the green message and racing ahead of Lawrence, realizing that these things are what attract the good businesses to town more than a round heels attitude to any developer who approaches.

Things like Horizon 2020 need to be updated, and Lawrencians are more than willing to participate in that process. Growth for growth's sake has long been discredited and is a sign of a lack of vision.

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donjuan 3 years, 10 months ago

BRAVO Merrill!

tell it like it is!

this change of zoning should be denied.

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donjuan 3 years, 10 months ago

interesting comment from Boog.

the original Bauer Farm proposal was a faux new urbanism proposal.

more sprawl, more Bourgeoisification.

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Boog Highberger 3 years, 10 months ago

Just, for the record, folks, I voted FOR the original Bauer Farm proposal.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 10 months ago

Baur Farms should never have been approved in the first place.

Obviously tenants are NOT interested or the place would not be mostly vacant.

Business people know Lawrence,Kansas is not a hot retail market and also know Lawrence is over built in retail which makes Lawrence unfriendly to business and unfriendly to taxpayers.

Lowe's will NOT make west Lawrence anymore attractive. It will remain boring. Lowe's may realize the retail market in Lawrence is all talk and that so many roof tops have no one living in them.

It seems silly to place a home improvement store in a brand new neighborhood. Lowe's should have considered the old Tanger Mall.... a much better location and in an area where home improvement is alive and well.

Careful folks. Prices may be higher at this Lowe's Store and selection may well be limited after all Lawrence is a small town.

How much more will this development cost WE the taxpayers?

Taxpayers are taking the hit and will for years to come.

Thanks Boog for answering a question that was in my brain today.

Baur Farms is a retail failure = tax dollar money hole!

Bye bye Home Depot..... Hello empty building = drag on the economy

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puddleglum 3 years, 10 months ago

yeah, well at least he has something to say.

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barrypenders 3 years, 10 months ago

Boog always makes me go 'Dada'.

Boog is so 'Anti Bourgeoisie'. His 'Progressive Articulate Dada' artistic expression, appears to reject logic and embrace chaos and irrationality

Stimulus, Go Boog Dada, and Posercare live unprecedented

Darwin bless us all

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parrotuya 3 years, 10 months ago

It is clear that the city commission gives developers whatever they want. Just look at all the empty buildings in town. But since I don't live in West Lawrence, it would be nice to see more empty retail space sit empty in someone else's side of town.

DOWn, baby, DOWn!

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donjuan 3 years, 10 months ago

pace, a question.

Who needs it?

We have Cottins, Ace, Ace, Home Depot, and Ernst & Young. For the few that need to go to Lowe's how about a trip over to KCK via I-70.

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pace 3 years, 10 months ago

Good letter. good points, Is there any ideas where Lowes should go?

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seriouscat 3 years, 10 months ago

C'mon guys. Communities all over the country have successfully negotiated with businesses to steer development in the direction that the actual people who live in the communities want.

Since when is it a good idea to simply cave in to the other party's demands and act all desperate?

Left to their own devices, developers will play to the bottom line always. Why let them? There are ways that everyone can win...but it has to involve some thoughtful negotiating and concessions on both sides.

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somedude20 3 years, 10 months ago

does not matter as we are all going to be dead on 12/21/12

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Eybea Opiner 3 years, 10 months ago

Good ol' Boog, still trying to kill economic growth and development in Lawrence, even after he and his were kicked out of power for their "just say no" (except to drugs) attitude.

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gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 10 months ago

Merrill post in 3... 2... 1...

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TrooGrit 3 years, 10 months ago

I agree with the other posters, boog, just go away. You are annoying.

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donjuan 3 years, 10 months ago

Bait & Switch is not allowed!

The Bauer Farms project(s) should be required to be LEED certified, green projects.

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donjuan 3 years, 10 months ago

in honor of the late KU professor Victor Papanek (1927 - 1999)

from his 1995 book, "The Green Imperative": p11

Lewis Mumford said, "Once-local manifestations of criminality and irrationality now threaten the whole planet, smugly disguised as sound business enterprise, technological progress , communist efficiency, or democratic statesmanship." We are guilty or implicated by not speaking out often enough to our clients whether they are governments, private enterprise, or individuals."

Most contemporary architecture has forgotten the age-old lessons of design which took nature, climate and the elements into consideration. Frank Lloyd Wright advocated a deeper attention to the ecological principles of natural building.

Deeply embedded in our collective unconscious is the intuitive awareness of our relationship to the environment. It is vital that we - all professionals and end users recognize our ecological responsibilities.

Approval of the Oread Hotel was wrong, approval of the Special Use Permits by USD 497 was wrong, and approval of huge modifications to the Bauer Farms development plan are wrong.

And at what cost to future generations?

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lawrenceguy40 3 years, 10 months ago

I had hoped we had heard the last of boog and grocery boy (the sack bagger). Most of this city's problems originated in their reign. But no, they still have enough life to continue their anti-progress whining.

Bauer Farms may have looked cute on paper, but when it was standing empty after five years it would have been a blight on the landscape. If something cannot make money it will not survive. Want proof, look at downtown retail.

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tomatogrower 3 years, 10 months ago

The developers have bought and paid for this commission. It doesn't matter what plans were laid out in the past, the developers run this town now. Keep real business out, open lots of retail, and build more roads so we can continue to be a bedroom community, dependent on the surrounding areas to come shop here. And who cares about building good communities. Retail, retail, retail. That's where these developers can just build, make a lot of money and run. Businesses that provide decent jobs are too risky for these guys, besides they might have to pay their own employees more.

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oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 10 months ago

Obsessed with 2010 this community is. Quite a few have not figured out that 2010 is only 8 years away. 2020 is an outdated plan. It should have been revised over 15 years ago and would now be referrred to as the 2050 Plan.

Lawrence continues to experiment and the professional meeting goers are in heaven spending what's left of their lives at worthless meetings.

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Ken Lassman 3 years, 10 months ago

This has nothing to do with Boog and everything to do with ignoring all of the community input that went into Horizon 2020. These developers seem to be using the planning process to get their foot in the door and then just doing whatever they please once they get in, and I'm glad that Boog is reminding us that we have higher aspirations than that.

If there's any chance that Lawrence will be anything more than some New Jersey suburb clone (and if you don't know what that's like, you're lucky), then it's because folks like Boog and many others before him have stood up to the impulse to make a quick buck and get out before the consequences start rolling in in terms of overextended infrastructure, neglected older parts, etc.

Lawrence has stood for a better future ever since it was founded, but resisting the slide toward short term gain at the expense of long term viability never goes away. Thanks for reminding us, Boog!

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thuja 3 years, 10 months ago

"Bait and switch" is a tactic the developers learned from our federal government.

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justforfun 3 years, 10 months ago

Oh Boob we had enough of you while on the commish and I must agree with Grandma GOOOOOO AWAY!!!!

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Number_1_Grandma 3 years, 10 months ago

You had your chance Boog. You were a huge flop for the progressives. Now it's time you just go away.

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