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Letters to the Editor

Letter: Market forces

August 3, 2014

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To the editor:

I am genuinely disappointed by the planning commission’s recent recommendation against the proposed Southpoint Development.

Arguments against included: A development at the intersection of two major highways is not a good idea AND the Southpoint development deviates from the comprehensive plan. In addition is the seemingly desperate push by certain commission members to create a market for retail development near the Rock Chalk Park, an area not chosen by the public, an expenditure of public tax dollars not approved by the public and a zoned retail development area not chosen and to date spurned by all retailers.

At the July 21 planning commission meeting, the Mercato attorney expressed disapproval of the proposed Southpoint development solely because the project would be in noncompliance to the comprehensive plan. How many times has the comprehensive plan been amended since its inception? Didn’t the proposed Mercato development plan require and receive a change to the comprehensive plan?  Why is this different?

The retail market is speaking to Lawrence citizens and our planning and city commissions through actions. Dick’s Sporting Goods goes to Iowa Street. Menards goes next door to Home Depot.  Now Southpoint comes in asking for NO taxpayer subsidy in a locale where every retailer wants to locate.

The continuing attempt to force a market for a remote retail center by local developers and certain city and planning commission members is detrimental to local retail options and Lawrence taxpayers.

Comments

Ken Lassman 6 months, 4 weeks ago

It has taken Topeka decades to recover from the wholesale rush that was allowed toward Wanamaker on the west side of town, leaving retail deserts in other parts of town. Kansas City has suffered similarly from areas that have abandonded infrastucture in favor of extending infrastructure to virgin areas, spurring sprawl and increased traffic in the process.

The question then becomes: does this huge expansion threaten to do the same thing to Lawrence? The Planning Commission seems to think so. Similar recommendations in the past have spared Lawrence a number of mall-ificent disasters in the past and left the downtown a vital, living legacy through those years, avoiding the urban decay that others both larger and smaller have suffered.

In a way, holding out for the right kind of development is a bit like holding out for the right partner: taking the time to really explore the implications of such a long term relationship with prospective mates might mean forgoing the short term pleasures that will lead nowhere fast in the long run, but ultimately lead to far a more sustainable and mutually satisfying situation for all concerned. Perhaps we need to dig deeper into the reasons the Planning Commission has held up the red flag and consider their perspective that has been so valuable for Lawrence in the past.

John Yocum 6 months, 4 weeks ago

It's holding out till a friend who owns some land or wants to develop something says they want to. That's how they work.

Richard Heckler 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Where are the retail dollars to support this new development and all others in Lawrence,Kansas? Not in Lawrence,Kansas.

No community has an endless supply of retail dollars contrary to what developers have led communities to believe. Southpoint Developers discovered a new source to enrich their bank accounts which will not enrich the Lawrence quality of life. If Southpoint fails it's written off to bankruptcy not to mention developers do not use their money to build anything…. it's the banks money and/or taxpayer subsidies.

I have never understood how so many can believe that a deregulated laissez faire approach to urban economics is healthy for the taxpayers tax base and existing business owners.

Let’s support our existing retailers and their employees instead of cutting into their economic growth.

Supporting our existing retailers and their employees instead of cutting into their economic growth is fiscally responsible.

The retail dollar pie is not expanding which is to say why support economic displacement instead of strong economic growth? What is economic displacement? One more retailer being allowed to cut into the existing retail dollar pie thus taking dollars away from existing business people. Relatively speaking Lawrence is a small town retail market perhaps that deserves respect….. not abuse.

Really how many tourists leave town in search of another shopping mall? Zero….. When tourists leave their hometowns they are on vacation and/or seeking moments of relaxation.

Joe Herynk 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Let market forces determine winners and losers. Politicians are notorious for cronyism bail outs and protecting the status quo. Anytime an individual(s) wish to spend their own money, take all the risk and ask for no tax abatement, they should be allowed to precede without objection. Capitalism built America, not cronyism.

Richard Heckler 6 months, 4 weeks ago

If Southpoint fails it's written off to bankruptcy not to mention developers do not use their money to build anything…. it's the banks money and/or taxpayer subsidies.

If developers had to use their OWN money believe me they would be cautious to say the least.

Planning-must respect community vision http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2014/jul/28/your-turn-planning-must-respect-community-vision/?opinion

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