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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

Number_1_Grandma 4 years, 8 months ago

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

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 8 months ago

So, Grandma, do you agree with what he said in the letter, or not? After all, he's not on the commission any more, so gratuitously bashing him does nothing to further the discussion of the issue.

justforfun 4 years, 8 months ago

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

Ken Lassman 4 years, 8 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!

Truthspeaker 4 years, 8 months ago

And we just found the name Boog posts under.....

Phil Minkin 4 years, 8 months ago

Either a typo, you can't add or you're living in the past. Maybe all 3

dontcallmedan 4 years, 8 months ago

fboy--do as I do and skip right on by oneeye's posts. Life is too short...

tomatogrower 4 years, 8 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.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 8 months ago

An open field is not "blight," and it requires no expensive expansion of taxpayer-funded infrastructure. But when unnecessary development creates vacant buildings elsewhere in the city, that is blight, and eventually, it's taxpayers who pick up the tab, not the developers.

puddleglum 4 years, 8 months ago

actully, I would take an empty field over Chinese-led sprawl-stores any day.

but let them build it. It, along with the new wal-mart will not sustain the sales required to break even. then we can have a nice empty building or ten to give to the highschool. call it a press box, or new basketballl arena.

Build it and they will come is a joke. just ask all of the indepently owned business around the 6th & wak intersection. Ask them how much profit they are enjoying. Pretty bad when a chain like Quizno's can't even cut it. and the dollars that Hereford House lost must be some kind of Lawrence record.

Jaylee 4 years, 8 months ago

Yeah the HH thing was a big, obvious hit.

Anyone who knew Hereford House (not that I ever ate there) immediately could not recognize it

whats_going_on 4 years, 8 months ago

pretty sure Juice Stop, Mariscos, and J&S do pretty well?

puddleglum 4 years, 8 months ago

libby sez:Hereford House never did lose money in Lawrence

(laughter) so all those months that they were closed and still paying rent they were raking in the cash?

Hereford House never made money in lawrence. there-I fixed it for you. Quiznos has plenty of money for prime-time ads on tv, yet can't keep a store going at 6th & wak? Must be all that competition from taco casa, oh wait-they are long gone as well. thanks for playing, Liberal. please come back soon!

puddleglum 4 years, 8 months ago

did they need more than one book? according to every employee and manager I have known that worked there, they lost money after immediately-never filled up the enormous basement-never could get enough business to sustain operations, cut staff-suffered more-closed-continued to pay rent-reopened because they couldn't get out of their rent agreement (isn't it a twenty year deal?) then closed again after it was obviously cheaper to just pay rent to an empty space than to operate. That is a loser, no matter how you cut it. Don't you remember the original manager complaining in the paper all the time about how 'once wal-mart opens, we will begin to recover.'??? Now as far as Quizno's...they have to pay for those ads, but elect to close a store in 'prime' location like 6th & wak?
my point here is that there simply is not the revenue needed in this area to make business profitable. Sure, Mcdonalds is probably leading the profit out there, but they chew up large part of a very small pie. And just because you build ten more ovens-does not make any more pie.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 8 months ago

Good ole Solomon, still engaging in hysterical hyperbole and baseless character assassination.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 8 months ago

Are you serious? That particular article was specifically about Rand Paul and the racist position he took with regards to civil rights. (ie, racial discrimination is just peachy keen as long as it's done on private property.)

The letter here was BY Boog, not about him, and if someone is going to threadjack by attempting to make it about him, and not the bait-and-switch development tactic, I'm gonna call 'em on it.

In other words, apples and oranges.

somedude20 4 years, 8 months ago

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

seriouscat 4 years, 8 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.

Katara 4 years, 8 months ago

Oh c'mon now, seriouscat. That would be advocating responsibility and we don't want that! It's too hard! The system is rigged! The little guy can never win against such big powerful people!

I mean, why try? All is lost. Everything is hopeless.

pace 4 years, 8 months ago

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

puddleglum 4 years, 8 months ago

yeah, well at least he has something to say.

Boog Highberger 4 years, 8 months ago

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

Richard Heckler 4 years, 8 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

Ken Lassman 4 years, 8 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.

Boog Highberger 4 years, 8 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.

geekyhost 4 years, 8 months ago

Really? Parking lots are rarely oversized? When have you ever had to walk to WalMart from a neighboring store because the parking lot was full?

BigPrune 4 years, 8 months ago

Please enlighten the community how you and your cohorts conspired to create vacancies in retail throughout town by the development code you passed five years ago. 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 just about anywhere except the downtown.....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 1,000 square foot retail space for 3 years? Well, you'll have to spend $10-$15,000 more than any other community on a new site plan and you'll need to wait 6-9 months for approvals, but there are no guarantees you'll get 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.

Robert Rauktis 4 years, 8 months ago

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

mr_right_wing 4 years, 8 months ago

Boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooog!!

svenway_park 4 years, 8 months ago

I guess Treanor has never given donjuan any work. I sure bet he has asked for it.

Donjuan has a habit of criticizing and attacking others when they don't hire him. Just check with Van-Go and Professor Rockhill.

svenway_park 4 years, 8 months ago

I wonder why the City didn't hire Donjuan when he applied for that job on the planning staff?

I guess Treanor has never given Donjuan any work etither. I sure bet he has asked for it.

Donjuan has a habit of criticizing and attacking others when they don't hire him. Just check with Van-Go and Professor Rockhill.

BigPrune 4 years, 8 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.

beaujackson 4 years, 8 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?

svenway_park 4 years, 8 months ago

Beobachter.....you have to remember that you are receiving code land use information from donjuan. Donjuan the non-degreed architect that ranted for months about the illegalities of the LHS field development, only to totally lose out on his frivolous lawsuit.

He is incapable of even understanding he does not own the house he lives in. So beware.

Flap Doodle 4 years, 8 months ago

Relax and have a popsicle, juan. It's a cool and fruity treat on a spring day.

Susan Mangan 4 years, 8 months ago

Ok...I think you're an idiot. But that was funny. I can see the farm-hands picking up giant leaves and finding little BMW's underneath. Nice image!

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