Tonight: Planning Commission to Review CVS Development
UPDATE: Tonight’s meeting is at 7:00 P.M. in the Commission Chambers at the Governmental Center, 2nd Floor
Tonight’s planning commission meeting will address the request by CVS for conditional zoning at the property at the NE corner of Front and Division St. The plans submitted by CVS Pharmacy are for a store footprint of 13,225-square-feet drug store and a 56 space parking lot. In addition, the company is looking for a variance to accommodate a drive-thru window. They will also need an allowance for the larger footprint than is now allowed.
The City has no strong zoning to restrict parking lot size in this area, however, a trade-off for a reduced parking lot footprint to allow a drive-thru wouldn’t be the end of the world. I’d recommend that the City really demand some proof that a 56-space lot is necessary for more than marketing schemes. CVS, and other large box-store pharmacies, prefer large empty parking lots in part because it gives the impression that people can quickly stop into the store and complete their errands; they aren’t meant to fill up. Large parking lots are, however, a deterrent to walkability.
Tonight is the introduction to the planning commission, followed by a public hearing on the conditional rezoning requested on or around January 3rd. Sometime after that, the City Commission will review the planning’s decision.
If you are interested, and want to better understand this project and voice your perspective, it is important that you attend as many of these meetings as you can and/or communicate with the commissioners on planning who are reviewing this project. Communities do have choices and may influence developments; it is not anti-development to do so. The negotiation with the community begins with the planning commission.
Traverse City isn’t tied to the corporate model…what would you prefer?
Above: Different CVS models in Ann Arbor, Detroit and, at the bottom, Spring Hill. The latter is by no means perfect, but the residents of Spring Hill, MI were successful in gaining compromises in the design (AI.com) by being engaged from the beginning of the project. The Detroit CVS parking lot is, obviously, something that we want to avoid at all costs.
A description of tonight’s discussion begins on page 38 of the Planning Commission’s packet (PDF)