Commission Votes to Approve CVS Plan

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COLUMBIA - The request to rezone land at the corner of Providence and Broadway to make way for a new CVS Pharmacy was approved Thursday night by the city Planning and Zoning Commission.

The proposition had previously been discussed at the August 22 and September 5 meetings.

Mark Stevenson, owner of Real Estate Management, Inc. (REMI), had drafted the proposal, which made it through the commission after a 6-3 vote. The vote came just a day after the city's staff released an 82-page document saying it was "unsupportable".

The commission said the drive-through exit on Fourth Street would create issues with traffic. It also said the building didn't mesh well with the pedestrian-centric idea they had for the land, nor with the nearby Flat Branch Park.

During the public comment section, the opposition listed similar concerns, with an emphasis on protecting Flat Branch Park.

Representatives for CVS say they know the site is right across from Walgreen's, but that they like to position their buildings next to competitors.

REMI currently sits on the lot, along with Alley Cat Yoga. Stevenson wouldn't go on camera, but he said he wants to replace the lot with a CVS because of difficulty filling vacancies.

The commission said tonight that the proposed building would use half of the square-footage currently on the lot, would decrease parking space and would be a significant improvement to the sidewalk currently next to the lot.

The proposal passed with amendments to shorten light poles, add landscaping between the CVS and the park, and one to prevent left turns out of the Fourth Street exit.

The proposal will go to the Columbia City Council for a final vote, in which they can override the commission's decision, or vote to approve it.