Archive for Wednesday, February 28, 2001

Bonner Springs group takes battle over Wal-Mart to court

February 28, 2001

Wal-Mart's plans to construct a Bonner Springs super center near the intersection of Kansas Highway 7 and Kansas Avenue have stalled.

Price Banks, a Lawrence land-use attorney representing a group of Bonner Springs citizens, said a lawsuit has been filed to prevent construction of the new Wal-Mart, which is planned on the east side of K-7, near the existing Wal-Mart store.

Banks declined to comment, other than to say he was optimistic about the case in Wyandotte County District Court.

"If I didn't think that we had a chance, a good cause of action, we would not have filed the suit," Banks said.

Joe Perry, Bonner Springs city attorney, said the lawsuit contends the city's action in approving a rezoning for Wal-Mart was not reasonable.

"The city is saying that all the issues they're raising now were raised at different public hearings," Perry said. " There were many hours of testimony and information from all parties and after all that, the planning commission and the city council decided it should go forward. I think it's already had a full review."

Hank Chamberlain, a Bonner Springs resident and co-chairman of a citizens group against the new Wal-Mart, says the city's rezoning was inappropriate.

Chamberlain contends that the 19-acre proposed site is too small.

"Manhattan recently denied an application for a nearly identical Wal-Mart super center, largely because the project was deemed to be too large for a 23-acre site," Chamberlain said. "Our city council approved an application for essentially the same size store on a site that's less than 19 acres."

Chamberlain said the location of the Wal-Mart super center would lower the value of the surrounding area.

"The project will destroy the sanctuary of the adjacent city park and impair the values of the surrounding residential property," Chamberlain said.

Moreover, Chamberlain said the large discount store would cause traffic congestion at the intersection of Kansas Avenue and Kansas Highway 7.

"By Wal-Mart's own traffic study, the local traffic going east and west on Kansas Avenue, several lanes of that traffic will operate at a service level E," Chamberlain said. "That's 'E' on a scale of A-F where F is total gridlock."

City attorney Perry noted that Wal-Mart has not applied for a building permit.

"They could apply for a building permit," Perry said. "The plaintiffs have not filed for an injunction that would bar them from doing that."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.