City withholds CVS building permit until plans change

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 | 6:41 p.m. CST
The new CVS Pharmacy would go on the corner of Providence Road and Broadway across from Walgreens.

COLUMBIA — The city will not grant CVS Pharmacy a building permit for its proposed downtown location until the plans are tweaked, a city planner said.

City planner Steve MacIntyre said the issues that remain sticking points in the plan are the store's drive-thru, the box culvert — the tunnel Flat Branch flows through — and a sewer main under the property.

The Columbia City Council halted CVS's initial plans for a store at the corner of Broadway and Providence Road more than four months ago by denying its rezoning application. Council members said the store didn't mesh with downtown's aesthetic and worried it would encroach on Flat Branch Park. 

The pharmacy's new plans work within the lot's existing zoning, so it won't go before council. That leaves the building permit as the only avenue the city has left to renegotiate the store's design.

"We have been through the issues," MacIntyre said. "It is up to the applicant to seek solutions to issues that have not already been addressed."

Robert Hollis, the attorney representing CVS, did not make himself available for comment.

The new site plans show the building farther away from Broadway. The lot is zoned C-2, which requires a permit for drive-thrus. The Board of Adjustment would decide whether CVS could build one.

The site plans also show the extension of the box culvert over Flat Branch, which city planners and the Columbia Public Works Department both oppose. Covering a public waterway is poor development practice, MacIntyre said, and the city does not want to see it happen.

"There won't be any building permit issued until the box culvert and drive-thru issues are resolved," MacIntyre said.

The drive-thru would exit onto Fourth Street, which MacIntyre called a vital pedestrian corridor.

The plans also include access roads from the parking lot to Providence Road and Fourth Street, which the city opposes.

CVS has asked the city to reroute a sewer main around the building, and Public Works is still reviewing the request. By replacing the existing three buildings with a single building, CVS could possibly reduce the sewer flow on the current space, Shane Creech, manager of the city's Building and Site Development Division, said.

Supervising editor is Adam Aton.

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