Council defeats plan to build CVS pharmacy

The proposed plan was tabled following citizen opposition.

Downtown will maintain its historic aesthetic and pedestrian accessibility as city council voted Monday night against a rezoning plan for the construction of a CVS pharmacy on the corner of Broadway and 4th Street.

The proposed plan was brought to city council by Mark Stevenson, trustee of the Mary M. Hackett Trust No. 1 and Roth Properties LLP. The plan requested a rezoning of approximately 1.4 acres of land for the private development of the proposed CVS and an accompanying drive through. It also requested additional site development and landscaping, according to documents submitted to the city council.

Though the construction of the CVS in the downtown location could provide beneficial economic growth, the proposed building would be disruptive not only to pedestrian access, but also to the visual appeal of the high-density downtown area, Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe said.

“This is basically a suburban model CVS that is plunked down in our downtown area,” Hoppe said during the meeting. “What we need is a pedestrian generator.”

The plan represented the interests of a private developer, however the implications of the creation of the 13,013 square foot CVS would not align with the priorities of the community, Mayor Bob McDavid said during council discussion on the proposal.

“Gosh, I hate to get in the way of private property rights and I certainly hate to get in the way in the name of aesthetics,” McDavid said. “I hate to use the phrase that this pharmacy is too generic, but it is.”

McDavid’s comments were echoed by many like Rosie Gerding who spoke out in opposition to the proposal. Though the idea of building a CVS in downtown would be welcomed by the community, the specifics of the proposed pharmacy run contrary to the appealing visual values of the historic area, Gerding said.

“This does not need to be dead in the water,” Gerding said. “I’d love the idea of CVS there, but only if it if it was higher density, more aesthetically pleasing and pedestrian accessible.”

During public comment, council members were presented with photos of CVS pharmacies assimilated into the historic architecture of similar multi-use, high density communities around the country.

Second Ward councilman Michael Trapp explained his decision to vote against the proposal by referring to the construction of a Walgreens pharmacy along the southwest corner of Providence and Broadway.

“If we don’t have the capacity to learn from our mistakes, and the capacity to grow and evolve, then we are doomed to make the same bad decisions that we’ve been making,” Trapp said.

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