COLUMBIA — CVS submitted a revised proposal for its new pharmacy planned for the southeast corner of Providence Road and Broadway.
The biggest change, city planner Steve MacIntyre said, was changing the drive-thru, which originally was planned to exit onto Broadway. Now CVS proposes the exit be near the intersection of Fourth Street and Broadway.
"I think it's a problem either way," MacIntyre said. "Any time you try and have a drive exit immediately adjacent to an intersection is going to be a problem. It may be less of a problem to not dump it out straight onto Broadway, but I think it's a conflict either way."
MacIntyre thinks it would be better to have the drive-thru farther down Fourth Street, away from the intersection with the entrance of the building facing Broadway.
CVS revised the proposal after receiving comments from the city, MacIntyre said.
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MacIntyre's suggestion would solve another problem facing the building, he said. The proposed pharmacy would have a brick wall facing Broadway with its entrance away from Broadway, which caters more toward cars instead of pedestrians, he said.
"We'd like an active pedestrian frontage," MacIntyre said. "Something that has windows, doors and actual access. It's preferable to a blank wall."
MacIntyre said the proposal goes against the planning documents the city has drafted previously, such as Metro 2020 and the Charrette Report. Both advocate for an increased emphasis on pedestrian traffic and multi-use buildings without surface parking for downtown.
The revised proposal from CVS said the surface parking and drive-thru were "absolutely essential to the redevelopment of the site."
It also said that CVS would need surface parking because there is no on-street parking along Broadway or Providence and the nearest parking structure is more than 800 feet away.
The proposal also suggests taking a city-owned parcel of land at the corner and landscaping it for a green space and water drainage. The land was originally used as a parking lot that the city would rent to businesses in the area, Public Works spokesman Steven Sapp said in an email.
"The idea of getting it back to green space has been talked about for a while now," he said in an email.
Even though the green space idea is incorporated into the CVS proposal, the city plans to implement it regardless of whether CVS builds a store there, Sapp said in an email.
MacIntyre said CVS has offered to pay for the conversion of the lot in an attempt to incentivize the city to allow it to build there.
CVS's unwillingness to customize its plan to Columbia is causing the disagreements with the city, MacIntyre said.
"I think it's far from being ready," he said. "There may be more major changes coming."
The proposal is expected to be discussed at the Aug. 22 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting with the city council planning to vote on it on Sept. 16.
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