WICHITA – Simon Property Group has applied for an amendment to the community unit plans for Towne East Square and Towne West Square so it can hold outdoor events at both malls, but neighbors near Towne East are fighting it.
"They want to do a bunch of things in an outdoor forum, which we think means more traffic and more trash and more noise," says Larry Duntz, president of the Rockwood Homes Association.
"We already have a significant problem with trash ... blowing over on our property that they've been unwilling to do anything about."
Area mall manager Michael Payton says what's blowing is the issue blowing out of proportion.
"This isn't really a big deal, really," he says. "We're going to have a meeting with them to address this."
Payton won't address what events the malls would have.
"We're not necessarily filling in the blanks on that right now," he says.
"They're not being very forthright with telling us what exactly they want to do," Duntz says. "Our entire board has agreed that what they're talking about is not a good thing."
Vice Mayor Pete Meitzner says most other retail developments already have approval for holding outdoor events, so he thinks it makes sense for Simon, too.
"They do a lot of good things ... for the community," he says. "It would level the field, so to speak."