After the rehearing was granted Thursday, the new plans were approved after a nearly five-hour marathon meeting at city hall.
With the commission’s OK, the drug store chain will demolish the apartment building that it owns adjacent to the property, but the space won't be used for parking, according to the revised proposal.
The new plan is scaled down to 72 parking spaces — down from 94 originally proposed.
In addition, Drug Mart pulled its request to take the 13.5 feet from the neighboring home at 1425 Grace Avenue, but the company will take a portion of the northwest corner of that property.
The plan also includes a 15-feet-wide sidewalk along Cohasset Avenue. The original plans called for a sidewalk that was only 10 feet wide.
With a 5-1 vote, the commission approved a lot-split and consolidation, and unanimously OK’d a conditional-use permit for accessory parking as well as a permit for a drive-thru.
Commission member Ruth Gillett voted against the lot consolidation, as well as Discount Drug Mart’s request for a rehearing.
Kurt Schmitz of Lakewood-based ADA Architects went through the city’s zoning code — item-by-item — outlining why the $5 million project was positive for the city.
He also presented a slideshow hoping to address some of the neighbors’ concerns.
“This is a good project for Lakewood, and it’s a good project for Grace and Cohassett,” he said.
Not all the neighbors agreed.
Many of them still opposed the project — even with the revisions.
Cathy Birt, a resident of Grace Avenue, said she’s opposed the project from the beginning.
“I don’t want it at all,” she said. “It’s just not good for the street. I realized when I moved to Lakewood 24 years ago that it doesn’t really matter if you live on the West End or the East End. It really matters what street you live on, and Grace, Cohassett and Clarence are nice streets. We’ve all worked really hard to keep our homes nice, and I think it will all go away.”
When the meeting ended just past 11:30 p.m., there were still about 40 people in the audience in the crowded Lakewood City Auditorium.
Discount Drug Mart — with its multi-million-dollar renovation already under way at Lakewood Plaza— has plans to move its eastern Lakewood location to the corner of Cohassett and Detroit avenues.
There, the company plans to expand its grocery options, among other plans.
Tom McConnell, CEO of Discount Drug Mart, addressed the commission as well as residents.
“Discount Drug Mart has been depicted as a big corporation that doesn’t know or understand Lakewood,” he said, before listing a number of the company's good deeds in Lakewood.
“That couldn’t be further from the truth.”
McConnell, who grew up in Lakewood, said that Drug Mart has had a presence in Lakewood for most of the company’s 45-year history.
“The city is working hard to transform Detroit Avenue, and have done a great job,” he said. “I think this is a good part of that."
Dru Siley, the city’s director of planning and development, said recently that the company has “made a number of revisions over the past three months.”
“Some of those changes are a direct result of comments and concerns from the neighbors,” he said. “And I think the project has gotten better over time because of their input.”