A potential new Walgreens on the northwest corner of 63rd Street and Woodward Avenue brought residents out in full force to Tuesday night's village council meeting.
After the consent agenda and items on the active agenda quickly passed unanimously, the initial item up for a first read dominated the meeting.
The petitioner, who would like to build a Walgreens with a drive-thru, is requesting four things from the council to accomplish their goal: 1) annexation, 2) rezoning, 3) lot consolidation, and 4) special use permit for the drive-thru.
The land is currently an unincorporated residential area. The petitioner would like to become annexed into the village and they'd like the land to be rezoned for retail.
The property (1.9 acres) is currently six lots and the owner is looking to consolidate it into one lot. And, lastly, building a drive-thru requires a special use permit.
If all this were to go through, the Walgreens on 63rd Street and Belmont Road will close.
The overwhelming majority of the residents present voiced their disapproval of the idea. Many cited traffic concerns and safety concerns with children walking to nearby schools.
One resident, who said she lives 250 ft. from the proposed site, called the plan “outrageous,” saying, “We feel this is an inappropriate location for this sort of property."
She pointed out that there were many vacant properties in the area and it seems “absurd” to take over a residential area.
Another resident noted that, according to a MapQuest search, there are 28 pharmacies within a 5-mile radius, and 18 pharmacies within a 3-mile radius.
Some residents didn’t like the fact that the property would be turned into a retail area from a residential area.
However, one resident expressed that the location in question has changed over the years and is not suitable as a residential area anymore.
Commissioner Geoff Neustadt said he was concerned about traffic trying to go eastbound out of the exit on 63rd Street. He said he would be prefer a “no left turn” there.
Besides the traffic concerns, he said he was comfortable with the proposed plan.
Commissioner Sean Durkin was also in favor of it: “I support this; I see this as an economic opportunity for us."
It’s estimated that the store will generate over $100,000 in sales tax.
Commissioner William Waldack said he hadn’t made a decision yet, but wanted to know that all the residents—both from the village and from the unincorporated area--had a voice that was being heard.
The Plan Commission voted 7–1 to not recommend the plan; however, village staff recommends approval of the plan.
Mayor Martin Tully said his opinion was that out of the four issues involved with the request (annexation, rezoning, etc.) it all comes down to the special use permit, because the other requests seem reasonable and appropriate.
The council will vote on the matter at a future meeting.