MAPLEWOOD • Despite appeals from several residents to reconsider allowing a drugstore to be built at a busy intersection, the City Council on Tuesday approved a preliminary development plan to put a CVS at the southeast corner of Big Bend Boulevard and Manchester Road.
Residents who live nearby complained that a drugstore would increase trash, noise and traffic. David Johnson, whose house is on Hazel Avenue near the intersection, said he and his family often pick up trash from the proposed drugstore site, formerly a used car lot.
"That's when it was an auto place," he said. "Imagine when it's a 24 a day, seven-day-a-week pharmacy."
Residents of nearby Ellis Avenue said they have a hard enough time getting onto Big Bend without added traffic from a drugstore.
Putting a business there that has "intensive traffic involved in it is just not a good idea," said Jack Warner, who lives on Ellis. He said the increased congestion will "drastically change" the nature of the intersection and the neighborhood and that the drugstore's drive-through will make the situation even worse.
Eric Hoffman, an architect, member of the city's design and review board and a resident of Ellis Avenue, said the building setbacks are "more in keeping with a suburban strip mall" and set a bad precedent limiting the efforts to increase walkability in Maplewood.
Some residents had concerns about a fence on the the property.
Johnson would like to see trees planted in a barrier yard and a "beefier fence" installed. Howard Goldberg, another Hazel Avenue resident, said he would like to see "something a lot nicer" separating the site from Hazel than the existing chainlink fence with missing slats.
City Councilman Shawn Faulkingham moved to amend the bill to require that the fence be in "100 percent good repair" or replaced with a fence that meets city code. The amendment passed.
The council also authorized creation of a planned unit development district for the 2.08-acre site.
City Manager Martin J. Corcoran said setting up the development district for the site will give the city better control over such things as lighting and use of the remainder of the tract. The CVS would be built on one section of the lot with another section to be developed later.