Letters to the Editor

Dillons issue

April 26, 2011


To the editor:

A Dillons drive-through pharmacy in the right-of-way of New Hampshire Street is 100 percent wrong for Barker Neighborhood. Commercial activity fewer than 50 feet from residential property and facing single-family homes is wrong. That’s why no other drive-through in Lawrence encroaches into a neighborhood like the proposed Dillons drive-through would. No other business conducts business on the New Hampshire side of the street. A drive-through would dramatically alter Barker’s environment. New traffic, new congestion, much more noise, worse air quality — and all throughout day and evening hours, seven days a week, hours that are now quiet the vast majority of the time.

We want the new Dillons store, but the concessions neighbors have already made are enough. These include zero setbacks bringing the store 25 feet closer to homes even without a drive-through, increased traffic, an ingress from New Hampshire to the main store, an emergency exit on New Hampshire, more traffic congestion during peak hours, a north-facing store, and a loading dock on our historic Massachusetts Street.

Preserving neighborhood integrity is a City Commission goal. We ask the City Commission to insist that the drive-through be located elsewhere or not at all. Dillons may suggest it is critical to their success, however there are many instances when CVS and Walgreen’s stores have gone into residential areas without drive-throughs. If pharmacies can do it, surely grocery stores can too.


Maddy Griffin 6 years, 7 months ago

Quityerbellyakin", if you don't lke the idea of a drive-thru pharmacy then don't use it. Park and walk in. Unless you own one of the 2 or 3 houses that sit directly behind Dillon's, you don't get to complain.Seems to me that those people are really the only ones effected by this. Cry- babies like this impede progress.

grimpeur 6 years, 7 months ago

Get out of my car? Are you serious?


I only get out of my car to visit the refrigerator, couch and/or TV.

ivalueamerica 6 years, 7 months ago

Ah, the Homer Simpson mentality, it does not matter because it happens to someone else, but when it happens to you, you would have no idea why others were not enraged.

You fail.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 7 months ago

America must be reduced to a sprawl of repeating patterns of consumerist plantation every 3-4 miles.

A Walgreens on the corner of every major intersection. Fine McDonalds dining for the masses. Home Depots sitting cathederal-like with football stadium sized parking lots filled with neon orange shopping carts. Concrete and paving as far as the eye can see.

And drive through pharmacies!! Americans cannot be expected to waddle out of their cars for their Paxil and Viagra.

From $ea to $hining $ea.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 7 months ago

I too don't like stores like McDonald's and I don't have much need for places like Walgreens. I use Home Depot sometimes. Their expansion is due to the fact that people shop there, presumably because they do like those stores. Whether it's convenience, price, whatever, people are choosing to spend their dollars in those stores. I suppose we could tell people where to spend their money, how to spend their money and how much of their money to spend. But that seems worse than having those stores every 3-4 miles.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 7 months ago

People would chose to spend their money in establishments giving dollar bills to naked young women, but some don't seem to have a problem dictating whether that is allowed. What, I wonder, is the difference?

Personally, I think the obscenity of our "developed" landscape is far worse than these local citizens exercising some zoning control in this instance.

Mark Zwahl 6 years, 7 months ago

Thanks Mary. Your point is a good one. I've watched you and the Barker Neighborhood Association tackle this issue with reason, clarity and understanding. I applaud you drawing this line in the sand. It is a grocery store after all.

And thanks for all you've done!

kuhusker 6 years, 7 months ago

Thanks for nothing! Instead of a nice new store for our neighborhood, we're going to have an empty, abandoned eyesore that will gather garbage and weeds for years, until eventually it gets redeveloped....years down the road. And meanwhile, no neighborhood grocery store.

All because a few malcontents are offended by a drive-through lane on the next block.

This "neighborhood president" hardly represents the views of the majority of people of that neighborhood (although, I'm sure she probably represents the views of the few people who actually attend meetings, but hey, that's how politics works)

jafs 6 years, 7 months ago


If you're concerned about it, you really should go to the meetings - how is the group supposed to "represent" you if you don't do that?

irvan moore 6 years, 7 months ago

Dillons is wanting to make a large investment in our neighborhood, it will help anchor the neighborhood and keep property values steady. it appears Dillons is working very hard to be neighborhood friendly and take concerns into consideration. we need to appreciate that fact and understand there are going to be some things everyone might not like but that are necessary in order to buold the store in a cost effective manner.

kuhusker 6 years, 7 months ago

Ms. Wharff is the minority among the citizens of that neighborhood. Most of us want the new Dillons. If Ms. Wharff gets her way, the store will close, and instead of a new Dillons, there will be a big, empty, ugly building there, and neighbors who now can walk or drive to their neighborhood store will now be forced to commute across town for their groceries

But at least it will be quiet.

jafs 6 years, 7 months ago

From the letter - "we want the new Dillon's store".

She's not opposed to the store, she's simply opposed to the drive-thru pharmacy.

By the way, there's a Dillon's store on 23rd St. and Alabama - hardly "across town", just a little bit away.

I'd like to see the new store where it is, and upgraded, but it's hardly a tragedy if that doesn't occur, except perhaps for folks who actually walk there to shop, and can't drive.

kuhusker 6 years, 7 months ago

"Hardly a tragedy?"

Well, compared to what's going on in Libya, yeah, sure, but having an empty, run-down ugly building where Dillons currently is would really hurt the neighborhood. It would lower property values, it looks ugly, and yeah, for the people who walk to get groceries (which is a lot, including many elderly), it would really stink.

The letter writer is acting like the drive through pharmacy is going to be her driveway. If you look at the plans, it is across the street, and blocked so you can't exit onto NH.

Right now, the people on that said of NH get to look at the ass-end of the existing store and watch semi trucks come through. SOmehow that's better then a pharmacy drive though?

jafs 6 years, 7 months ago

Sure, if that's what happens - of course, another business could choose to locate there, one that doesn't need to expand.

She's the president of the neighborhood association, so I imagine she's speaking for that group, not just her own personal point of view.

If you disagree, maybe you should go to those meetings and express yourself there?

The concern about the elderly is valid, and I would be sorry for them to have problems shopping, especially since many of them don't/shouldn't drive much.

jafs 6 years, 7 months ago

You know, I'm also not sure why Dillon's has to expand. Why couldn't they just clean up and remodel the store?

Then there's be no neighborhood issues, need for variances from the city, etc.

dontcallmedan 6 years, 7 months ago

"...having an empty, run-down ugly building ... would really hurt the neighborhood. " You mean like Allen Press' building on Mass Street?

pizzapete 6 years, 7 months ago

I want the new Dillions and live in the neighborhood, too. I think the letter writer has a valid point. Why not put the drive up pharmacy on the Mass st. side or keep it as is, ie, get off your fat bottom and walk in.

ashamedofyou 6 years, 7 months ago

not to be argumentative, because I usually walk in to the pharmacy anyway but I know when I have a sick and puking 2 year old or an elderly person just out of the hospital for surgery (I, personally, have been in both situations) the drive thru pharmacy is just much more convienient.

Adrienne Sanders 6 years, 7 months ago

Get your prescriptions filled at a different pharmacy if you really need a drive through? That's what I would do.

ashamedofyou 6 years, 7 months ago

excuse me, but as I recall, when I was a kid, they knocked down houses at 23rd and Ohio/Louisiana to put a Walgreen's WITH a drive thru. Just sayin....

Stuart Evans 6 years, 7 months ago

excellent solution. dillons should buy the other side of the street and knock all those houses down. no neighbors, no complaints.

kuhusker 6 years, 7 months ago

I think a lot of these neighborhood associations are tiny cliques of just a few people, who hardly represent the views of all the people in their neighborhoods, and usually they are very parochial, "NIMBY" (Not In My BackYard) folks.

So something like the Dillons plan comes along, which would benefit 90% of the people in the area but upsets one or two people, well, it has to be stopped!

I don't think there's anything unusual about this, it is human nature, and how politics often works, but still it is sad to see something that would obviously benefits thousands of people get potentially shot down because a couple folks get the willies when they imagine a drive through pharmacy on the next block.

jafs 6 years, 7 months ago

Then the people in the neighborhood who disagree can/should go to the meetings and express themselves there.

Otherwise, it's a bit like people who don't vote complaining about the outcome of elections.

kuhusker 6 years, 7 months ago

At least everyone knows when elections are. The neighborhood association meeting times are well-kept secrets.

And, keep in mind that the Dillons serves much of East Lawrence, including areas immediately west of Mass...yet those neighborhoods are not considered part of Barker for the purposes of the neighborhood association.

jafs 6 years, 7 months ago

You've got to be kidding me!

I bet you I could call Ms. Wharf and find out when the meetings are, without any trouble at all - have you tried that?

Ok - I assume those other neighborhoods would have their own association then - you can't expect one group to serve all neighborhoods, can you?

nativeson 6 years, 7 months ago

It is unfortunate that the neighborhood association is opposing this development plan. Preserving neighborhood integrity continues to be a goal of the City Commission. However, so is promoting economic development and improvement in private services within the core of Lawrence. They actually go hand-in-hand. Without improving services in neighborhoods, they will deteriorate. There has been a lot of dialog about the impact of closing neighborhood schools on home valuation. How about a huge vacant retail space in the neighborhood that once provided an important service to the area.

Every new pharmacy built will want to have a drive-through. This is the pattern of behavior for the consumer, and I think the project does not happen without it. These are the tradeoffs required in any type of development, and it seems reasonable to want what other modern stores are providing to their customers. The benefits far outweigh the detriments in this instance. This full service store will serve not only East Lawrence, but it is the nearest store to North Lawrence residents as well.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 7 months ago

A vacant store like that would really be an eyesore right on Mass. St. But if it does happen, perhaps a new homeless shelter could be put there. Oh, wait, they would also have a drive thru "pharmacy".
Better a Dillons with a drive thru than the alternative.

sallyone 6 years, 7 months ago

Let those cry babies keep their ghetto dillions if they want it. They would just trash a new one anyways!

Adrienne Sanders 6 years, 7 months ago

Doesn't the Walgreens at 23rd & Louisiana have a drive through that's practically in people's backyards? Not that that makes it okay... I agree that having a drive thru at the proposed new Dillions is a bit ridiculous in the space available.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 7 months ago

"At least everyone knows when elections are. The neighborhood association meeting times are well-kept secrets." How so?

"And, keep in mind that the Dillons serves much of East Lawrence, including areas immediately west of Mass...yet those neighborhoods are not considered part of Barker for the purposes of the neighborhood association." So?

kuhusker 6 years, 7 months ago

Basically, you have a very parochial neighborhood association trying to block something that benefits a portion of the city much larger then their neighborhood. That's not a good thing.

jafs 6 years, 7 months ago

The neighborhood association represents the views of folks in their neighborhood who make those views known to them.

As do other neighborhood associations.

And individuals.

It's messy, and hard to sort out, but that's democracy for you - if you don't like what they're saying, say something yourself. Did you go to the meetings Dillon's held and express your views?

Richard Heckler 6 years, 7 months ago

The ghetto Dillons is one of the most profitable Dillons stores so we hear.....perhaps listening to the customers is not a bad idea.

I've not heard anyone say they don't want the Dillons store at that location.

What would be a plus is this store developing a cool household/kitchen goods section. Could be real handy. The neighborhood then would two choices..... Dillions and Weavers.

ferrislives 6 years, 7 months ago

This is only directed to the "Dillons blowhards" as I like to refer to them.

Before this proposal, all I heard from people like you is complaining about the "ghetto Dillons", and wanting a new store. Now that they're building one, and they're truly taking neighborhood input on the design, people like you b*tch about every little thing. I think there are plenty of people in North Lawrence that wish they had your "problem".

Maddy Griffin 6 years, 7 months ago

..as well as many of us on the far East side.Dillon's on 23rd is the next closest for me, but it's twice as far away.

gccs14r 6 years, 7 months ago

Maybe the real solution is to buy all the houses on the east side of New Hampshire between 17th and 19th, cul-de-sac 18th, then build a sound wall/fence along the west edge of the remaining residential properties. Then Dillons can widen and use New Hampshire as a regular ingress/egress road without disturbing the neighborhood.

Kujay1966 6 years, 7 months ago

Mary, Maybe the solution is for Dillons to close their store on Mass, and you guys can have to drive and shop else where. Once they close it they can sell the land to McDonalds, Taco Bell, and than you can see traffic,

pace 6 years, 7 months ago

I was just thinking how I would miss exiting on New Hampshire when I go to Dillons. I think the design bends over back wards to accommodate the neighborhood. My husband walks to Dillons. We appreciate it being close. The pharmacy exit seems quite reasonable. Good luck to Dillons and to the neighbors.

jafs 6 years, 7 months ago

Well, this issue has been resolved - the city commission voted to allow the project with the drive-thru pharmacy.

The only dissenting vote was Cromwell's, who happens to live a block from Dillon's.

pea 6 years, 7 months ago

RE: Connection between customer and the help: The older guy at customer service needs to find a new line of work. What an unpleasant man. Also, the service at the deli is usually poor at best.

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