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City council votes against rezoning for proposed CVS pharmacy

The Javorac

The Columbia City Council voted to not pass a bill to rezone 1.39 acres on the corner of Providence Road and East Broadway to build a CVS pharmacy Monday evening. The pharmacy would have consisted of a 13,000 square foot building, drive-thru pharmacy, 65 parking spaces, and more efficient sidewalks along Broadway.

Resident Rosie Gerding expressed her thoughts on the suburban look of the pharmacy would bring to the downtown area.

“Their one-story, suburban style, cookie-cutter building and large parking lot is unattractive, not pedestrian friendly, and it does not meet the density guidelines that the community has set for this downtown area,” Gerding said.

Although a right turn lane would be added to Providence and the drive-thru would have right-out only access, council members and residents were also concerned about traffic.

Council member Barbara Hoppe said the pharmacy is a suburban plan in a congested area of downtown. She said the city needs a pedestrian generator and not a traffic generator on the corner. Council Member Michael Trapp and Mayor Bob McDavid also said the pharmacy was generic and suburban. Residents and council members said they would like to see the land put to better use by either expanding Flat Branch Park that is adjacent to the land or waiting for better request to come along.  

Council member Karl Skala said he would support rezoning the land, but not the plan.

“The cost of this development, even though there have been some suggestions as to how much more income, revenue is generated because of sales tax is far less than what we need to recover the actual costs of the wear and tear of the impact of this development on this particular corner.”

Skala said there are three issues with the plan: aesthetics, parking and traffic. Skala said it would yield $114, 646 in off-site infrastructure fees that would cover the cost of wear and tear on the roads immediately adjacent to that development. That does not include maintenance. Council Member Ian Thomas said the drive-thru was not friendly for pedestrians, despite the plan to add more accessible sidewalks along Broadway and Providence.