Archive for Thursday, June 21, 2012

Town Talk: Plans for new Kwik Shop at 19th and Mass. may change; Bowersock warns of dam dangers for fishermen; perhaps hope remains for city’s small curbside recyclers

June 21, 2012


News and notes from around town:

• This project hasn’t exactly put the "K" in quick. Officials with Kwik Shop in January filed plans with City Hall to rebuild and expand their Kwik Shop location at 19th and Massachusetts streets.

The project, though, still hasn’t won the necessary approvals from City Hall. Mary Miller, the lead planner for the project at City Hall, told me she is now expecting Kwik Shop officials to submit new plans for the project because city officials have indicated the current plans try to put too much development onto the 19th and Mass. corner.

“The way it is proposed right now, it is hard for us to see how it all would work,” Miller said.

The current plans call for the new store to be about 40 percent larger than the existing Kwik Shop. But the real changes are with the number of gasoline pumps at the location. The current store has two double-sided pumps, meaning there are four places to fill up. The new plans call for six double-sided pumps, meaning 12 vehicles could be on the site trying to fill up at any one time.

The project does try to add space by moving the building to the east. If you recall, there is an empty grass lot directly east of the Kwik Shop building. The current plans call for the new building to be located on the back third of that lot, or a little more than 30 feet or so from New Hampshire street.

But that design puts the 24-hour convenience store closer to homes that are along New Hampshire street. But New Hampshire Street is not expected to become a new vehicular entrance to the store. Miller said the current proposal only has an entrance for a trash truck to service a Dumpster. The store, though, will add a new sidewalk along New Hampshire Street and will have a pedestrian entrance on New Hampshire to encourage neighborhood residents to walk to the store.

Anyway, several folks had asked about the progress of a new Kwik Shop. It looks like it will be at least several more weeks before the company even has the necessary approvals to begin work at the location. Much to their chagrin, I suspect, Hy-Vee will beat Kwik Shop to the punch of having a new convenience store in town. In case you were wondering, that construction work at the southwest corner of Clinton Parkway and Crossgate is for a new Hy-Vee convenience store.

Kwik Shop is owned by the Kroger Company, which is the giant company building the new Dillons store just a bit north of the Kwik Shop site. I’ve also had questions about when that store is scheduled to open. City commissioners gave the store the necessary approvals in July 2011. At that time Dillons officials said construction likely would take 10 to 12 months to complete. But work didn’t begin right away. Dillons demo work began in early November, so here is guessing the store will be open by Thanksgiving.

But guessing is all I’m doing at the moment. I’ve called Dillons corporate office a couple of times for comment, but they haven’t exactly put the “back” in the phrase call back.

• Kwik, kwik, sign this guy up for father-of-the-year. The good folks at the Bowersock Mills & Power Company passed along this story as way of an example of what they would like to see less of: As water levels on the Kansas River have dropped, more people have been attempting to go onto the top of the Bowersock Dam to fish.

Last weekend, one father was out on the top of the dam — near the south end — with his young kids. When Bowersock officials told him that wasn’t safe and asked him to leave, he became belligerent. When the police arrived, the man took off running toward the north end of the dam but left his kids on the south end of the dam because they apparently were too young to pull themselves up over the toe of the dam. (Now, that’s just good parenting. If you help your kids run from the police, they’re never going to learn to do it on their own.)

Bowersock officials told me that was just one of four incidents last weekend. Bowersock leaders are concerned someone is going to get hurt. They stressed that even though water may not be rushing over the top of the dam at a particular moment, a slight change in operations at the Bowersock power plant could cause that to change in a hurry.

Bowersock leaders also said federal regulations require them to do all they can to keep the public off the top of the dam, and that includes calling the police and pursuing trespassing charges against anyone found on the dam.

• Here’s a quick leftover from last week’s City Hall trash and recycling discussion. There still may be hope for the small curbside recycling companies that currently operate in Lawrence.

Mayor Bob Schumm made a comment that was a bit of an eye-opener in regard to a possible city-wide curbside recycling service. The owner of one of the small recycling companies attended the meeting and said if the city did start its own curbside recycling company, it would be nice if the city did something to buy out the small companies that would be shut out of the Lawrence market.

But Schumm said the small companies may be assuming too much. The mayor said he isn’t yet convinced that having one single provider do all the curbside recycling in the city is the way to go. He said it is possible the city may choose to have multiple companies that are licensed to do curbside recycling service.

Schumm didn’t go into any specifics, but he indicated there could be a system where the city would be in charge of sending out bills — as part of its monthly utility billing system — but residents would be responsible for choosing which service provider they want to use. That could open up the possibility of different types of service levels. Perhaps Provider A won’t take glass at the curb but Provider B might.

It is hard to see how a multiple provider system would be more efficient than a single provider system, but City Hall is very much into touting itself as a friendly place for business, so commissioners may balk at putting about a half-dozen small recycling companies out of business.

While we’re on the subject, I’ve also had questions about the state law we reported on that essentially will stop the city from starting a new mandatory, citywide curbside recycling service until at least 2014.

Specifically, people have been asking whether Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, knew anything about this law. Folks have been interested in Davis because he has been very active in the trash and recycling scene in Lawrence. Davis is a local attorney who has Deffenbaugh Industries — the giant trash and recycling company out of Kansas City — as one of his clients. As such, Davis attended almost every one of the city’s Solid Waste Task Force meetings. He never alerted the task force of any state law that would delay the city’s ability to start a curbside recycling program.

I recently caught up with Davis, and he said the reason he didn’t alert the city is because he didn’t know. Although he was in the Legislature at the time the bill was passed, he didn’t recall that provision of the law. If he had, he said he would have alerted the city, which was caught off guard by the law. Davis also pointed out that the law isn’t a popular one with his client, at least not in regard to the Lawrence situation. He said Deffenbaugh wants the city process to move quicker not slower. The company is interested in submitting a bid to serve as the city’s curbside recycling provider.


TheBigW 2 years, 6 months ago

"but City Hall is very much into touting itself as a friendly place for business"

That is the biggest line of manure ever printed about trying to do business in this town.

ssteve1 2 years, 6 months ago

No kidding! There for a minute I thought I was readng a Topeka article.

Chad Lawhorn 2 years, 6 months ago

Just to be clear, Davis isn't on the task force. He attended most of the meetings as a member of the audience. Thanks, Chad

Chad Lawhorn 2 years, 6 months ago

Just to be clear, Davis isn't on the city's Solid Waste Task Force. He attended most of the meetings as a member of the audience. Thanks, Chad

irvan moore 2 years, 6 months ago

i have talked to several dillons employees (management) who say the new store will be ready to open by or before september 1st, i like the new dillons store but don't think a supersize kwik shop is going to do much for that corner.

frankfussman 2 years, 6 months ago

Chad, et al., Tom and Linda Cottin and their staff have been having problems with the Kwik Shop people, and are worried about the size of the expansion. Kwik Shop supply trucks in the past used the hardware store's driveway to park to unload. Lately, Cottin's have closed off that access to the rear, which is on their property.

Bigdog66046 2 years, 6 months ago

The city needs to stay out of the recycling. There is enough options now for people to choose. Charge people for extra trash bags or cans if needed. But don't make it a mandatory charge, Especially if the city isn't doing the work!! They are just trying to figure out a way to get some $$ off other peoples work! STAY OUT OF THE RECYCLING!!

Steve Jacob 2 years, 6 months ago

19th and N.H. is bad already. Southbound, trying to make a left turn, you have to get almost to the street to see traffic coming. Dillions will make it worse.

Eugehne Normandin 2 years, 6 months ago

why not use an alternate route instead of adding to the problem.

NutsForKU 2 years, 6 months ago

In a September 2, 2010 story in the jw Chestnut started this trash issue by considering a fee based system where you paid by how much you throw out. What happened to that, the only system that would effectively get people to change their habits. Too much of a threat to our consumerism?

The Pitch had a good story on Deffenbaugh in 2009 and how they worked in the KC area. It is hard to believe our commissioners are unaware of the issues brought up back then like the underpricing of the service to get in the market and then increasing rates substantially. What kind of fool commission would hang the people of Lawrence out on a deal like that? Oh, wait, we have that kind of commission.

It is disappointing to see one more democrat tied to an other mega corporation with the wrong solution for us. According to the Pitch article Deffenbaugh was and may still be owned by a Swiss investment group with billions of dollars so they can afford to play the bait and switch game as they take over the trash market.

NutsForKU 2 years, 6 months ago

Why would our city continue to do things that will kill local jobs while blabbing endlessly about everything they do for the developers is to create jobs? How much of our tax money leaves Lawrence to pay for services we use to be able to handle here? The bus service is ran by a company out of California. I believe the foolish gps monitoring of the garbage trucks is down in California. Consultants out the wazoo from outside. I do think there are plenty of people in Lawrence who knows what needs to be done.

Does our commission lack confidence in the leadership program they are part of? Is that the reason they send all our business out of town? Are the developers running this town into the ground so we have to figure out ways to cut spending by getting rid of services we could afford in the past? My recycling guy has been in business for quite a while, the kind of business worth supporting so why would we threaten their livelihoods while giving more things away to the developers who are increasing the costs of this city?

JackMcKee 2 years, 6 months ago

They need a committee to tell them which direction to wipe.

Steve Jacob 2 years, 6 months ago

Specking of gas, why is gas going up when a barrel has been around $80 for months? Two months ago it was also $3.50ish when it was $100.

CHEEZIT 2 years, 6 months ago

Closed below 80 today! Its that special summer gas!!!

Richard Andrade 2 years, 6 months ago

"(Now, that’s just good parenting. If you help your kids run from the police, they’re never going to learn to do it on their own.)"

Nicely done, Mr. Lawhorn. Nicely done.

ThePilgrim 2 years, 6 months ago

I am confused. It seems like businesses have to kowtow and beg the City to even open or expand their businesses. I know that Lawrence is zoning control happy, and they have fees like crazy, but this is ridiculous.

TheBigW 2 years, 6 months ago

"I know that Lawrence is zoning control happy"

No it's way beyond that and is so far out of line it not funny. The Director, Planning and Development Services, Scott McCullough, in all of his uneducated arrogance seem to think he has zoning control over the federal air commerce statues and that he can outlaw an FAA approved & regulated activity and that by making a change to the zoning he can keep out an aviation business from the airport. Here is his quoted statement to the airport manger.

(quote) Currently the Airport is zoned GPI (General Public and Institutional). The current zoning allows public institutions and uses but may not allow future industrial or commercial development at the Airport. The GPI district allows recreational facilities uses but would only allow parachuting activities through approval of a special use permit. The City is seeking to have the property rezoned to IG (Industrial General) which would allow better usage of the property for commercial and industrial purposes. However, parachuting is a recreational facilities use that is not permitted in an IG district.. The rezoning process will conclude in August. (quote)

TheBigW 2 years, 6 months ago

Also all the while they were playing these games, the City and FBO owner Mr. Hetrick , were tell me and the FAA, there is way too much air traffic over Lawrence Muni airport to allow skydiving to take place, when I asked to do so in 2009..... yet according to the Lawrence Journal World's story on May 31st 2011 and quoting Mr. Hetrick as saying:

(quote) Airport operator Lloyd Hetrick said fewer planes have been coming through the airport since 2008. He owns Hetrick Air Services, and his 22 employees account for about half of the airport staff.

“Our traffic is down, there’s no doubt about that,” he said. “But probably what’s affecting us most, and eating into profits, is the price of fuel.”

Hetrick said there have been no layoffs because of the downturn, and he didn’t expect any. But less money moving through the airport means less tax revenue for the city. A 2009 economic impact study by the Kansas Department of Transportation estimated that Lawrence’s airport contributed $10.7 million to the region’s economy through payroll, purchases and taxes.

Because the municipal airport does not operate a control tower, exact figures relating to its traffic are not available. But estimates provided by the city government as part of an airport study show a significant drop in traffic. In 2001, total operations — takeoffs and landings — were estimated at more than 31,000. In 2009, FAA estimates showed more than 34,000 operations, but that figure dropped below 32,000 in 2010, a decline of nearly 6 percent.

Hetrick said the airport averages about 50 operations per day. At that rate, the airport would handle fewer than 20,000 operations this year. (quote)

TheBigW 2 years, 6 months ago

So not only do they talk out both sides of their backsides and complain about the decline in fuel sales, they do their best to run off any business they see as unfit, regardless of what the federal aviation laws say. Also another little funny thing about all this is, that zoning change they made, remember Scott McCullough said "the new zoning would not longer allow for a "recreational facilities use" at the airport, yet still to this day if you open the Cities website for the airport it clearly says the following statement:

(quote)The city of Lawrence has owned and operated the airport at its current location since its dedication in October 1929.

An uncontrolled airfield, LWC averages more than 100 daily flight operations of single-engine, twin-engine and business jets. With the assistance of a 5,700 feet runway and Class I Instrument Landing System, LWC is an outstanding all-weather airport for recreational or business flyer.(quote)

Seems that Mr. McCullough and the rest of the bright minds at city hall forgot all about the FAA "recreational" pilots license you can go get from the FAA, they also seemed to some how forget to kick off and ban all other forms of "recreational flight" and uses now that the City of Lawrence & the planning dept. has outlawed any kind of recreational use on the airport property via the zoning law.

Real bright minds at works here people, stand back! Seems they want to have both ways or what every way suits their fancy depending on what day of the week it is or who is asking to do some business here in town.

TheBigW 2 years, 6 months ago

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

lily 2 years, 6 months ago

Kwik Shop has no business expanding that store. It's causes a lot of traffic issues as it is. And it's not the cleanest or most efficient store around either. One person on duty in the morning rush when people stop to get a coffee or drink. Line takes forever. I refuse to stop there any more due to congestion both inside and out. Half the time the fountain doesn't work right. It's been this way for quite some time so they best not use the excuse that they wanted to expand that's why they haven't fixed things or added another staff at times. Clean it, fix it and staff it.

pizzapete 2 years, 6 months ago

Funny you should say that. I was thinking the expansion would be a good thing and an opportunity to add more staff, maybe a third register, and fix the parking/entrance and exit issues. I like the idea of 19th being a one way exit only right turn. Does anyone else have any constructive suggestions?

Richard Heckler 2 years, 6 months ago

I fully support keeping the local recyclers in business. The reason for licensing recyclers is accountability. Our service does a good job.

Not only that Deffenbaughs was bought out by investors from Belgium. Don't believe Belgium is local. Yes they are here but don't allow them to be the only choice thank you.

Paul Davis I cannot support you on this issue.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 6 months ago

As for the Dillons opening date I'm hearing August from some employees. Global Warming Climate Change gave them a huge construction opportunity so it appeared.

LadyJ 2 years, 6 months ago

"Tom and Linda Cottin and their staff have been having problems with the Kwik Shop people, and are worried about the size of the expansion. Kwik Shop supply trucks in the past used the hardware store's driveway to park to unload. Lately, Cottin's have closed off that access to the rear, which is on their property." Any negative impact the Kwik shop design would have on Cottin"s should be taken seriously. Given a choice, I'll take Cottin"s any day.

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