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Columbia City Council blocks CVS downtown pharmacy plan

Monday, October 21, 2013 | 10:33 p.m. CDT
The proposed CVS would be located on the corner of Providence Road and Broadway across from Walgreens. Some commissioners at last week's Planning and Zoning meeting said the area was unsafe and they would not go there at night.

COLUMBIA — The Columbia City Council at its Monday meeting voted down CVS Pharmacy's plan to build a store on the corner of Broadway and Providence Road.

The council refused to rezone the site to allow the pharmacy to locate there, citing dissatisfaction with CVS's plan.

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Several council members said the proposed building's drive-thru and aesthetics didn't mesh with downtown. Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser cast the sole "yes" vote.

Council members Ian Thomas and Michael Trapp said they voted against the proposal because it didn't fit the city's planning documents, which envision the corner as a gateway to downtown.

"I really think CVS can do better than this," Thomas said. "If they can't do that, I really believe this is a prime location and somebody will."

Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe also questioned whether the pharmacy would be compatible with downtown's aura, calling it "a suburban-model CVS that's plunked down in our downtown area."

City staff, the Downtown Columbia Leadership Council and the Historic Preservation Commission recommended that the city deny the proposal. On Sept. 19, the Planning and Zoning Commission voted 6 to 3 to recommend the plan's passage.

In an interview after the vote, Robert Hollis, the attorney representing CVS, said the company had been considering three sites in Columbia for pharmacies. Now, he said, "I would expect CVS is gone."

The pharmacy accommodated all the requests that the city made since the plan was filed on July 1, he said. Those accommodations included changing the building's exterior, making the drive-thru exit right-turn-only and lowering the parking lot lights.

"The taste in the mouth of those I am working with at CVS is really sour," he said.

He left open the possibility that CVS could still build on the corner under existing zoning. If it does build there, it won't include the concessions that the city asked for, Hollis said.

"They'll build whatever meets building codes," he said.

Supervising editor is Richard Webner.


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Comments

John Schultz October 22, 2013 | 11:34 a.m.

I must find time to watch the recorded council footage of this agenda item, but it will probably turn my stomach.

(Report Comment)
Richard Saunders October 22, 2013 | 3:43 p.m.

Why is it that the more they try to improve downtown, the worse off they make it?

Way too many people have severely over-stepped the boundaries of their roles in an effort to be seen as a progressive dictator (council, city staff, as well as all of the "evil-do(good)er" committees).

I hope they build on that site anyway, in spite of these people who insist upon ruling over the lives of others with their incoherent opinions on how the world should work.

(Report Comment)

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